Women in science are no strangers to sexism. From underlying assumptions about women’s abilities to cutting remarks from distinguished scientists, it seems female scientists still have to fight for the right to don a lab coat. But don’t worry: The ladies are fighting back full-force. And their secret weapon is humor.
Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party’s new webseries, Experimenting With Megan Amram, is leading the fight with full-blown absurdist wit. The series features Amram, a real-life Harvard grad, demonstrating try-it-yourself science experiments and interviewing leading female scientists. But unlike the typically earnest content put out by Smart Girls, the series’ tone veers dark and absurd.
Amram, former Parks and Recreation staff writer and long-reigning Twitter master, explored similar themes in her book Science… For Her! “I wanted to show, through my insane satirical character, that stereotypes are negative and destructive,” Amram told the Daily Dot. Her “character” in Experimenting plays up that tone, acting boy-crazy, looks-obsessed, and perpetually perplexed compared with her savvy and accomplished guests.
If Amram’s persona seems crazy, she should. It’s a pointed attack on the casual aggression that plagues women in science today. Said Amram:
“It’s crazy how much resistance women in STEM are still met with. It feels like every few weeks, another person makes insane claims about a woman’s inability to practice science or math. It’s good for my show, though—free publicity! My female friends who work in math, science, or technology all have horror stories about implicit or explicit sexism they’ve experienced. I hope that my book and webseries helps bring up this continuing conversation in a fun and funny way.”
New episodes of Experimenting With Megan Amram are available the Smart Girls website each Monday.
Screengrab via Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls/YouTube