Something that I’ve been thinking about for a little while now is the proliferation of “babes” and why it bothers me so much.
It all started with the Food Babe. Others then capitalized on (subverted?) her moniker by proclaiming themselves “Science Babe”, “Farm Babe”, “Biology Babe” and who knows how many others.
There’s a part of me that feels like I should be supportive of these “babes”. Am I a bad feminist for feeling irritated when I see women dubbing themselves “babes”? Maybe. I hope not though.
After some contemplation, I think I’ve figured out why these pseudonyms bother me so much. Many of these women are doing great work. They’re trying to bring scientific literacy to the populace. But why do they need to be babes in order to do this? We all know that sex sells. I’m left feeling like in order for women to be heard, particularly those in male dominated industries, that they need to be attractive to get attention. Can you imagine a man calling himself “Science Babe” or “Science Stud”? Even with my love of alliteration it sounds ridiculous.
By virtue of dubbing themselves “babes” there’s a certain implication that other women in their fields are not babes. That they are somehow unique and that being attractive is necessary in order to be heard. But being attractive or sexy is not an achievement. It has no bearing on intelligence, knowledge, or skills. How sad is it that we live in a world in which we are more inclined to give credence to women who are considered conventionally attractive? That in order to gain attention for our messages that we need to make people think that we’re physically desirable? That the contents of our minds can only be made appealing by first enticing people with our exteriors.