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New Verizon Ad Shows the Danger of Calling Girls Pretty

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Something happens to girls in between 4th and 12th grade — 66 percent of fourth-graders say they like science and math, but only 18 percent of college engineering majors are women.

Obviously, there’s more than one reason for this discrepancy in interest and career choice, but a new Verizon ad is tackling one of the biggest: society’s influence on young girls. Specifically, the “social cues that push girls away from math and science in their earliest childhood years.”

The minute-long commercial shows a girl, Samantha, as she grows up. It opens with a shot of her as a toddler, reaching for a flower.

“Who’s my pretty girl?” her mom asks playfully.

Sam is curious, intelligent and creative, but her inquisitiveness faces constant, subtle opposition from the adults around her.

“Don’t get your dress dirty!” her mom calls as out as she traverses a stream.

“Woah, hey, careful with that! Let your brother do it,” her dad admonishes as she handles a power drill.

Over time, the influences build up. The final scene is of Sam walking down the halls of her middle school. She stops in front of a poster advertising the upcoming science fair, looks at it — and then applies some lip gloss and walks away.

“Our words can have a huge impact,” the narrator says. “Isn’t it time we told her she’s pretty brilliant, too?”

The ad is part of Verizon’s Inspire Her Mind campaign, which purpose is inspiring girls to get involved with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Verizon is also part of the Girls Who Code program, which aims to get women coding from an early age

We think what they’re doing is pretty brilliant. 


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