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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Martine, Christopher [1].

#SciComm, the bisexuality of Potato Head, and our problematic use of “gender”.

Science communication is important and usually fun, but it can also be an excellent example of the old adage about how you can’t please all of the people all of the time. When the Hasbro toy company announced that it would drop (or at least minimize the focus on) the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” on their Potato Head toy, the action sparked a social media storm of comments from people who either saw the move as long-overdue or just another example of “cancel culture.” Folks in the latter camp said things like, “Science says there are two genders and I follow the science” – making the case that Hasbro should do the same. But does this even make sense for a potato? My institution put out a press release in which I opined that it does not, given the bisexual nature of potato flowers and the fact that plants lack gender identity. In this talk, I will reflect on the responses to this bit of science communication – from non-scientists who expressed support or dismay and from scientists who questioned the botanical accuracy of the statement and the suggestion that we shouldn’t be using “gender” when we talk about plants.

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Related Links:
Botanist weighs in on Potato Head

1 - Bucknell University , Department of Biology , Lewisburg, PA, 17837, USA

Scientific communication
reproductive biology
sexual system.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: ED1, Education & Outreach I: Botany for Diverse Audiences & Under-Resourced Communities
Location: /
Date: Tuesday, July 20th, 2021
Time: 1:15 PM(EDT)
Number: ED1004
Abstract ID:1045
Candidate for Awards:None

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