Pink/blue scientific calculators

(79 Posts)
FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 13:15:59

I needed to buy a new scientific calculator today so I was looking on the Casio UK website and was flabbergasted to find that along with the bog standard grey/black ones you can also get ones in blue or pink (and in no other colours!). I then looked to see if they were available at WHSmith, to see if this a freak thing that isn't actually available at general retailers, and lo and behold WHSmith not only have them on their website, but actually do their own pink scientific calculator as well (but no blue).

Perhaps this is something you have encountered before if you are a parent but as I am not I was really shocked that it would occur to anyone to gender a scientific instrument.

And where does it stop? Pink instruments for science undergrads? Pink stethoscopes for medical doctors who are women? Do the women scientists at CERN go into a meltdown if things aren't coloured pink for them? (educated guess: I bet they fucking well don't)

Are girls and women now so utterly brainwashed by gender messages that the only way science can be made acceptable to them is by pinkwashing things? Or is it a sign of patriarchy's discomfort with women engaging with science that it feels it has to send them a message: 'we'll let you do this as long as you remember you're just a woman after all'?

impty Fri 18-Oct-13 13:22:29

So I agree about pink being everywhere. I have 2 dd's both were given the standard grey scientific calculator when they started school. Both have been lost. Dd1 replaced it (herself) with a pink one. She likes pink. Dd2 replaced hers with a grey one, she likes grey/black, even her room is black.

I'm simply not going to panic about it.

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:24:31

i don't intend to panic. I'll be unsurprised, depressed and disgruntled.

impty Fri 18-Oct-13 13:26:51

Well I did let out a large sigh when I saw it! So it didn't fill me with joy.

EustonRoad Fri 18-Oct-13 13:30:08

I have a pink scientific calculator - I use it at work - it stops it getting mixed up with my colleagues grey ones and I can tell it apart from my daughters' grey ones if I bring it home. I bought it because I thought grey was boring - I would have bought an orange or green one if they were on sale. Doesn't stop me being a feminist or working in a male dominated financial job.

TheDoctrineOfSpike Fri 18-Oct-13 13:31:51

But Euston, they are not available in a common range of colours of which one is pink.

NotDead Fri 18-Oct-13 13:33:23

Awesome! why shouldn't serious kit be available in pink! where are the sparkles?! smile

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 13:45:40

Maybe everything should be pink. It's inevitable, really.

<waves pink sparkly wand>

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:49:31

it's just , to me, WHY be a girl doing maths?
Just do maths.

I was thinking you would never ever get people's other identities clearly demarcated like that when it's irrelevant. Not any more. Because we recognice that emphasising the differences fortifies the differences and fosters us and them.
Can you imagine colour coded calculators, toys, biros, anything and everything, colour coded to 'appeal' to black people/gay people/travellers anyone else.
It doesn't stop anyone doing maths* but it is divisive.

*Or maybe not - I think there is research to show that people are susceptibe to the Stereotype effect. So a a girl doing a maths test scores higher than a girl who is reminded she is a girl, and then does the same maths test. But i can't really base my argument on that as I can't remember the details grin

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:53:11

It's not great, but it at least has all the same functions as the non-pink calc. It's not like they removed the trig button because trig is too hard for girls, and replaced it with a make-up mirror.

BuffytheAppleBobber Fri 18-Oct-13 13:53:49

I remember the same research Sal I think it was in delusions of gender.

noblegiraffe Fri 18-Oct-13 13:54:36

You're right, Sinistersal, it's called stereotype threat and it does lead to underperformance on tests where a stereotype exists. Fascinating stuff.

crispsarenotoneofyour5aday Fri 18-Oct-13 13:56:27

My DS (13) chose the pink one and it is much admired at his (boys) school - apparantly it is/has "swag"

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 13:58:14

Yy I think that was it, Delusions of Gender

Should've just made a stab in the dark that book has it all

Keepithidden Fri 18-Oct-13 13:58:17

Does it specifically say on the packaging that they are for girl/boys men/women? Or is it just that it is implied, although not by the packaging?

I ask because a lot of the ELC toys are gender coloured, if you choose to view them that way, despite the marketing seemingly being gender neutral. I wonder what the companies are attempting to do by producing these different coloured items yet not specifically marketing them at different genders, despite it being obvious in the context of the gender sterortyping that happens in society.

Sometimes I wonder whether they are stuck between trying to cater to a marketplace that has been moulded by patriarchal values, yet at the same time being at the forefront of industries that are trying to adapt to changing attitudes?

Maybe I've just talking rubbish though and they're just cynically trying to screw as much cash out of as many people as possible regardless of who they are!

SinisterSal Fri 18-Oct-13 14:00:13

I think your last point is correct KeepItHidden.

But creating this drip drip drip of insidious low level othering is what results

FarelyKnuts Fri 18-Oct-13 14:10:30

I wish they would cater to the gay market and rainbow-fy everything for me grin It would be so lovely and colourful!

However on a serious note, yes its bloody irritating and its everywhere. Girls are being pinkified from birth and it is insidious. From clothes to toys to calculators!
Perfect example this morning buying knickers for my 4yo DD. Every shade and bloody design of pink and NOTHING else. We go to the boys section and find a multipack with red/orange/green/blue/purple underpants.

Keepithidden Fri 18-Oct-13 14:22:08

Farely "the pink pound" (oh the ironing!), is recognised as a sizeable market share so I reckon your'll probably see your wishes soon enough.

Sal said it earlier though, you'll have to watch out for people saying "A a gay person? doing maths?"... ....Except they probably won't, they'll just be jealous of your calculator.

I'm getting Casio-envy already, mine's a rubbish grey one.

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 14:24:41

It doesn't say on the websites that the pink/blue calculators are intended for females/males (although the WHSmith one has the blurb 'look pretty in pink ... '). And the functions are the same, so yes, you can do all of the same stuff, but why is it thought necessary to differentiate at all? If it's about having a wider range of colours available why not do all the colours of the rainbow instead of choosing only and exactly the two colours which, in our society, are gendered? As Sal says, why do you have to be a 'girl or boy doing maths' rather than just 'doing maths'?

I'm not panicking but I do find it extremely depressing given the disparity of men and women in the sciences at every level.

It's just one component of a constant and insidious drip-drip-drip message to girls and women that they are 'other'. You can laugh off individual examples such as this one, or feel confident that your daughter will be OK because you'll be a feminist example to counter all of this crap. But on a societal scale all the combined instances of this kind of thing end up subconsciously narrowing girls' expectations of what they can do with their lives, because they are so used to having it prescribed to them what they can and can't do as women.

grimbletart Fri 18-Oct-13 14:28:24

The multi-colours was what we used to find for boys and girls when my (now middle-aged) daughters were little in the 1970s. I mourn the passing of a huge percentage of choice for girls' clothes and things. It is bizarre, sad, annoying and every other negative you can think of. I also think that although marketing plays a big role now it cannot be the whole answer because otherwise they would be providing blue calculators for young boys and it seems from the OP that they don't.

It's marketing + stereotype + backlash. We need a backlash against the backlash!

Viviennemary Fri 18-Oct-13 14:33:00

What is this obsession on MN with the colour pink. If you don't like pink don't buy pink items. If nobody did they would soon stop making them.

Keepithidden Fri 18-Oct-13 14:37:08

I'm not panicking but I do find it extremely depressing given the disparity of men and women in the sciences at every level.

I agree completely, the stats on the male/female divide particualrlay in science education is depressing. Maybe this kind of marketing is a completely misguided (or even deliberately guided) attempt to reverse the trend and encourage women/girls into science? A kind of short-term sop, without any longer term consideration of the negative consequences specifically the "othering" Sal et al mention?

I can picture it being used by politicians and those high up in the educational establishments as a "look, we are trying to encourage the girlz" type excuse.

impty Fri 18-Oct-13 14:38:10

I have a pink scientific calculator - I use it at work - it stops it getting mixed up with my colleagues grey ones

When questioned about her choice in colour this was dd's reply. It seemed logical and well thought through to me!

Having many different colours would be better, and if one different colour then a gender neutral one would be best, I agree. On the other hand I can see why the marketing department went for pink.
although white might have been better, as phones, ipods, cars etc all seem to be white at the moment

grimbletart Fri 18-Oct-13 14:40:18

What is this obsession with stores with the colour pink?

I'd love to know which came first - the stores reducing choice to the colour pink to corral the female market. Or tiny little girls just out of their Moses baskets deciding (out of the blue, ha ha) that pink was the only colour.

When is a choice not a choice? When there is bloody little else to choose from I'd say coupled with a damn great brainwashing campaign by whoever....

FairPhyllis Fri 18-Oct-13 14:44:06

Keep It's interesting you say that - this reminded me a lot of that supremely patronising EU science video called 'Science - It's a Girl Thing'.

I think even if that's the claimed motivation it's extremely misguided, because then you are signalling to girls, 'Look! you're allowed to do this even though you're a girl!' and girls' opportunities then become defined by what they are told they are allowed to do, rather than it simply being a given that they can do anything, because they are human beings.

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