Leave it to America’s Next Top Model to prop up stereotypes about women, science, and chemistry all in the same five minutes. The Tyra Banks produced reality TV show/marketing vehicle, now in its 17th cycle, featured a painful-to-watch segment last week that had contestants botching terms including “gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer” during a TV audition.
The show’s eleven ladies were vying for a role on C.S.I., and had to memorize a script about receiving toxicology results from the lab, which included results from the “gas chromatograph-mass spectrometer”. Or the “grass chromatic meter”, as one model-wannabe put it.
I will set aside the fact that most practicing scientists would call that instrument a GC-MS. What I worry about is that the segment simultaneously projects the concepts “models are stupid” and “science is hard”. It’s easy to laugh at the contestants. I did a little of that myself. But then in reading the ensuing coverage I kept seeing phrases like these:
the challenge was made difficult on purpose with the use of extra lengthy, tongue-twisting medical jargon that literally only two girls could spit out. – Desiree Neall, Poptimal.com
The challenge isn’t the words on the paper, but rather, the technical and scientific terms that no one on this good Earth would able to pronounce.
The impossible line they’re supposed to memorize? “Gas chromatograph mass spectrometer.”- David Yi, New York Daily News
My only consolation? Two of the eleven contestants did get their lines right. Now that’s fierce.
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