A group of white male scientists and some actors sing Blue Swede’s popular song Hooked on a Feeling while scaling up mountains, exploring dense forests, scouring oceans and doing incredible things in Discovery channel’s new promo video.
They say “the world is ours” – the channel’s new tagline – and the video ends.
There’s not a single woman scientist be seen. In fact, the only woman present in the video is a naked woman in a forest from the show Naked and Afraid – and she’s on screen for a whole 0.5 seconds.
The video, released on April 1, has received backlash from across the globe for neglecting women scientists, including channel employees.
Many condemned the complete absence of women in the video and appealed the channel to take it down. Others said that the video sends out a clear message that the world only belongs to men.
Wow, the only woman in your video celebrating science is semi naked and you show about 20 other male scientists. The world is yours indeed, mostly white men.
— Sandhya Ramesh (@sandygrains) April 3, 2019
hey Discovery remember me? A woman who worked for you? Just letting you know women like science and exploring and learning too.
— Julia Wilde (@Julia_SCI) April 2, 2019
Err. I've been watching discovery since I was a kid, probably watched it more than cartoons… This is horrifically disappointing.
— fiendfyre (@fiendfyreIV) April 3, 2019
— Hannah Khwaja (@hannahkhwaja) April 2, 2019
‘The world is ours too’
The criticism was not, however, only limited to Twitter. Videos featuring women scientists in different fields also cropped up.
Squid biologist Sarah McAnulty uploaded a video with women biologists, show hosts, naturalists and neuroscientists, parodying Discovery’s video with another song set to the tunes of Gwen Stefani’s Let Me Blow Ya Mind.
Discovery made a choice about how to represent science.
We know that the world is, in fact, much bigger than that.
— Sarah McAnulty (@SarahMackAttack) April 4, 2019
The statement attached with the video says:
“Discovery made a choice about how to represent science. We know that the world is, in fact, much bigger than that. We want to remind you all that science is for everyone.”
Another scientist Teagan Wall, who specialises in neurosciences, collated videos of women scientists across different age-groups and ethnicity, conducting experiments and talking about their research.
— Teagan Wall, PhD (@TeagWall) April 3, 2019
The discussion around the video also brought to light the issue of representation at the channel. Science journalist Erin Biba tweeted saying: “Discovery refuse to hire women as hosts on science shows. They think only men can be experts. “The World Is Male” they’re saying with this. They are wrong.”
Similarly, neuroscientist Crystal Dilworth, added to her statement on Twitter, saying, “Have actually had male executives say that “audiences don’t want to get their information from women. Men have more gravitas and are more believable.”
She said that this issue will only resolve when there are more women “behind the scenes making decisions.”
Despite all the backlash, the channel, has not taken down the video nor has it released any statement responding to the negative comments.
Featured image credit: Screengrab of the promo video