How Body Image Develops
There are many ways to be the odd girl out. Your pain can brief or lasting, visible to all or none, with one or many. One of the longest, quietest ways to be the odd girl out is to be friends with two girls who are closer to each other than to you.
Popular media have played a crucial role in the construction, representation, reproduction, and transmission of stereotypes of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics STEM professionals, yet little is known about how these stereotypes influence STEM identity formation. Media images of STEM professionals may be important sources of information about STEM and may be particularly salient and relevant for girls during adolescence as they actively consider future personal and professional identities. This article describes gender-stereotyped media images of STEM professionals and examines theories to identify variables that explain the potential influence of these images on STEM identity formation. Media images of STEM science, technology, engineering, and mathematics professionals have varied over the years — from mad scientists to absent-minded professors to brilliant geniuses to maniacal villains to socially awkward loners to life-saving heroes. Many of these images of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians, however, have presented what has been described as a public image problem for STEM Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science Engineering and Technology Development , Media images of STEM professionals not only have been unflattering and unfavorable but also often have been gender stereotyped. When asked to draw or describe STEM professionals, adolescents most often depict STEM professionals as male — as well as white, middle-aged or elderly, unattractive, dressed in a lab coat and glasses, geeky or nerdy, socially awkward, and individuals who work alone Mead and Metraux, ; Fort and Varney, ; Maoldomhnaigh and Mhaolain, ; Huber and Burton, ; She, ; Barman, , ; Parsons, ; Song and Kim, ; Knight and Cunningham, ; Mercier et al. However, when adolescent girls view STEM fields as masculine, their perceptions can negatively affect their identification, interest, and participation in STEM Lips, ; Packard and Wong, ; Steinke, , ; Cheryan et al. Studies focused on broadening participation in STEM have considered a variety of approaches and strategies and have identified many factors found to play a role in the underrepresentation of women in STEM see, for example, Clewell and Campbell, ; Rosser,