A top librarian at one of the nation's most prestigious schools, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims that Star Trek posters, Star Wars memorabilia, and other "geeky" things on the walls and shelves of a workplace, send a message of toxic masculinity that discourages women from pursuing careers in science.
According to The College Fix, Chris Bourg (not "Borg," weirdly), the MIT libraries director and self-described "'butch and queer' cis woman and 'feral librarian,'" says that studies have shown women don't respond well to evidence of fandoms, even though many women who go into STEM careers had their interest sparked by science fiction.
“There is research that shows that workplaces that are plastered with stereotypically ‘tech or nerd guy’ cultural images – think Star Trek – have negative impact on women’s likelihood of pursuing tech work and of staying in tech work in general or in that particular work environment,” Bourg said during a speech on women in STEM in D.C.
Bourg referenced a 2009 study about computer scientists which claimed that, while men in the tech and science fields may not exhibit the traditional trappings of masculinity, they are no less responsible for perpetuating toxic patriarchal behavior. Instead of flexing their muscles, they claim their territory by plastering it with posters of Luke Skywalker and Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
Strangely enough, though, Bourg, who says she's working to force libraries to explore their consumers through “a sociological lens and a feminist perspective," downplays the feminine genius by suggesting that science and tech workplaces create a sense of "ambient belonging" for women by papering up travel posters, nature scenes, maybe even pictures of cats (okay, so the last one wasn't her suggestion, but it fits in).
Why comfort women with banal landscapes and inspirational posters of people climbing mountains when you could play by the workplace rules and hang photos of Lieutenant Uhura or Resistance commander General Leia Organa? Women have interests that run beyond Instagram lifestyle bloggers.
Unfortunately for MIT's female students, Bourg has an agenda much bigger than eliminating science fiction fandoms from future workplaces. She's also on a crusade against "mansplaining," and "whitesplaining," opposed to the exercise of "privilege" (which she, of course, believes only white, cisgendered males have), and working toward instituting “a f**king reckoning” over the pain white people have caused minorities by "colonizing" professions.