6 Mar 2013
All I Want Is A Female Brian Cox
I love Brian Cox. I think he’s great. Properly, honestly great. He sort of vaguely wondered into our lives with the force of a Sherman tank, and then refused to leave. He sat down on the living room sofa of England and said “You need some science. Here, here is some science, delivered from the top of a gorgeous mountain which you too will want to stand on, but only after I’ve finished with it. And trust me; you’ll be able to, because after I’ve finished with it, this mountain won’t be able to walk for three weeks. Stand on my mountain, and love science.” And all of England immediately made him a cup of tea and cried “Of course we shall stand on this lovely mountain, you insanely beautiful man! What fools we have been, to believe in homeopathy and the apocalypse before we gazed upon your lovely face.” And then Brian Cox nodded, and wondered off to drink his tea, and play a bit of dodgy piano.
I’m really glad we have Brian Cox. He’s bought science to the normal people, made physics cool, and worn an All Saints polo shirt while doing it. Really, very cool.
But I’m greedy, and now I want a female version. As a raging feminist, I think women need a female Brian Cox. The closest thing we have is Mary Beard, lovely, quirky and interesting, but still not science, and still not shaggable. I don’t mean that in a way that want Scarlett Johnson running around in a lab coat, pointing at the sky and screaming “Wow! Gravity!”, but more in the way that I want a woman who you can fancy, and is still really, profoundly clever.
Watching any program at the moment that has a bit of a science-y segment, and that has a female presenter, it is guaranteed that she will end up in a lab, looking a little bit lost, asking an actual scientist what the hell is going on, before turning to look doe-eyed into the camera, and announcing it’s time to go back to the studio.
Nope. Defo not what’s needed. No seems to have yet managed to bridge the divide between ‘female scientist’, and ‘female presenter’. I want someone who a ten year old girl will look at and go “Wow! I bet loads of boys fancy her, and she knows the theory of relativity inside out. I wish I could be like her when I grow up.” I want a bird who throws on a McQueen sports bra to go inside an anti-gravity chamber – which she helped build. If she climbs up a mountain to observe the Northern Hemisphere in winter, I want her to snow board back down, without first having to get a bloke to strap her into her ski boots, and give her a push.
Is that too much to ask? I like to think it isn’t. If a bloke can do it, why can’t we? Maybe, out there somewhere, there are thousands of women with PhDs and big hair, jostling to host their own physics show, on prime time BBC. Maybe the media think that no one would watch it, it would be a novelty for all of five seconds, before burning out like an asteroid entering the atmosphere. And of course it wouldn’t. Loads of people would watch it, and it would be wonderful. A wonderful new role model to sit our daughters down and say “You can be feminine, and love science, and you should, because you’ll be able to actually work out which face creams will work just by reading the ingredients.” A lovely, big haired chick in walking boots and kaftan climbing up hills, and knowing stuff, and wanting to tell everyone about it, because science is just so incredibly wonderful that the only rational thing to do is to scream it from the top of a mountain.
And if she just so happened to play keyboard in a series of truly alarming bands in the 80s, well, that would just be a bonus.