STEM, the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is seen to be vital for the future and students are being encouraged to look at STEM based careers. There is an emphasis on encouraging more girls to study and work in these areas as historically it has been a male dominated area. There is a need to change the gender stereotypes and recognize that these and all areas can be undertaken by any gender. Everyone supports this approach, or do they?

A local reality TV show, “The Block” has couples renovating old homes although the social interactions seem to be more prominent than the actual building. This show is popular and at the moment is the highest rating non-news show. A recent episode had the couples creating dream bedrooms for children, a boy’s room and a girl’s room. The boys room included a wall map of the galaxy, a Rubik’s cube, lots of science books and toys and as a judge commented “…aimed at a boy…” whereas the girls room included soft toys, pink accessories and what appeared to be hand cream and as the judge commented “…it feels feminine….”

How can equality be a reality when stereotypical gender roles are being reinforced on one of the most popular TV shows, and in many other places. These contestants are labelled as “Blockheads” and this title might be appropriate.

I am sure there is more offensive shows on TV, often repeats from the 1970s, but it’s time to boycott them and the products they display so prominently.

Dennis Fitzgerald,
Melbourne, Australia