One of the godfathers of vlogging, Hank Green, has successfully made a name for himself on TikTok, just as he did years before with his brother John on YouTube with brothers vlog. While he still regularly appears in educational YouTube videos today in Intensive course Y science showHank also explains certain topics, scientific or otherwise, in short videos on TikTok.
Educational content is very much Hank’s game and has been for years, but both he and other creators have addressed a worrying growing trend of people unnecessarily tagging him in videos by other educators and experts, often women.
One example of many is a recent video on the physics of high pressure ash_phd. As his name suggests, Ash has a PhD in physics, with a focus on the very topic he was discussing. However, that didn’t stop the people in her video from tagging Hank to verify her content, as often happens with other women in STEM.
“If you have a question, ask the creator,” Ash said in a video calling people to stop. “Don’t label Hank Green saying you need him to explain it to you because you don’t.”
Hank himself has also asked people to stop tagging him in other people’s content.
“Before you [tag me asking if something is real], can you check if that person actually knows more about that subject than I do, which is not unlikely considering we all have our experience and mine is limited? Hank explained in a video. “I’m happy to have established myself with some credibility in the world of speaking up and communicating the realities of our very weird, lovely, weird universe, but I’m certainly not the only person doing that.”
Why is this a problem?
Well, tagging Hank Green in a person’s content implies that he knows more about that topic. Hank is certainly an intelligent man, but he does not have expert knowledge on all subjects. It is insulting to women in STEM who have the credentials and experience to make the video in the first place to tag a man, often with less experience in that field, to explain the concept again.
What’s more, it’s representative of a tendency to dismiss someone’s credibility based on their appearance or people’s judgment of them. While Hank has credibility, other women in STEM, like Ash in the comments on her video, are told they need to look more like a scientist to be believed.
“You do NOT look like someone who has a PhD in physics,” reads one comment. “Change your appearance and maybe people will start taking you seriously.”
Because clearly Ash in a sweater and glasses looks a lot less expert than Hank in a… sweater and glasses. I wonder what the key difference is between the two appearances of him.
Hank Green has done a lot to make educational content free and accessible online through his TikToks and various YouTube channels over the years. But he’s not the only one doing it and the more we shed light on women and BIPOC people in STEM, the more diverse perspectives we can expand within those fields.
(Featured image: Hank Green/brothers vlog)
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