On TV and in real life, there’s a dearth of young women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. While a few bygone shows exposed the barriers against geeks in general (think My So-Called Life’s Brian Krakow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Willow, and Freaks and Geeks’s Lindsay Weir), contemporary television shows fail to portray the bumpy path that exist specfically for young women male-dominated science and math career tracks. I say, we need more characters like Willow!
On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, high schooler Willow Rosenberg (Alyson Hannigan) is the gang’s resident smarty pants. While she receives validation for her intellect from her school’s computer instructor, Ms. Calendar, and the magical cadre’s mentor Giles, Willow also faces rejection from Sunnydale High’s in-group, headed by Cordelia Chase (Charisma Carpenter). Here, we see the mixed messages that real-life young female tech talents hear early on: You can either be teacher’s pet or one of the popular kids. Willow battles (literally and figuratively) for acceptance, and ultimately she grows comfortable with her mathematical—and later, Wiccan—powers. However, not all girls in real life fare so well.
More female (and of colour) STEM characters, please!