Barbie’s {STEM} Inferiority Complex: Obstacles to Living an Authentic Life

Barbie’s {STEM} Inferiority Complex: Obstacles to Living an Authentic Life

Math Class is Tough and Barbie’s Inferiority Complex

In 1992, the Mattel toy company released a Teen Talk Barbie that said, “Math class is tough!” This phrase (later removed from Barbie’s repertoire) from a popular culture icon reflected the math anxiety that many students have.

As a teenager, I experienced math anxiety after my initial exposure to algebra. While I was able to overcome this in my college years, it had a lasting impact because it determined what I would major in.

I was very interested in the earth sciences as my father was a meteorologist, and I did well in my earth sciences courses, however, I decided not to risk such majors as I feared the math coursework that would be required. Instead, I eventually earned degrees in computer science and computer information systems, leading to a long career in database administration.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com — Roman Mager

In conversations with other women working in information technology, I have found a similar background of math anxiety and interest in the sciences.

Although my evidence is anecdotal, I believe it is logical that someone with an interest in science, but who avoided the formal study of science due to math anxiety, may have found their own unorthodox way to working analytically through computers, technology, and business as a science substitute.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com — Justin Luebke

I also believe that this math anxiety feeds into a larger inferiority complex that, as one matures and finds some measure of success may become less emotionally charged, less outwardly manifested as anxiety, but instead is insidiously accepted as an unconscious internalized complex, and a projection identification.

Once this projection of being inferior is accepted as one’s natural self, others also come to see you as holding this inferior position, and treat you as such, making it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com — Tiko Giorgadze

As women are a minority within the IT field; an inferior or marginal position is built into the system. If we then add this to our own inferiority complexes of various origins, such as math anxiety, the effect is compounded.

inferiority complex

https://ngcproject.org/statistics

As a minority group and culture, this inferior position becomes a system projection, which the group holds, and identifies with, making it a cultural complex.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com – Samantha Sophia

An additional emotional wounding comes from living an unauthentic life, such as being subjected to command and control management practices, when women may typically work from a more pluralistic, collaborate model.

This trauma shows up when women (or men) are belittled or ignored if they are introverted, quiet, a feeling type, and relationship oriented. This may also occur if they are more family centered than career oriented, and if they have more needs to take time off for family responsibilities.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com — Caleb Jones

Also, in general, women may get less important, or responsible project and work assignments, which in turn may limit their experience, advancement, leadership roles, and salaries.

With the women’s movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s, women have been in various postures of offense and defense. Trauma and wounds may vary from woman to woman and is dependent on whether she is in a posture of offense or defense.

For example, to be on the offensive, a woman may delay relationships and having children, in favor of school or career. Depending on her culture and other social factors, this may cause the trauma of feeling isolated, and perhaps the object of gossip or concern, for why she is not yet married, or a mother.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com — Les Anderson

If she is on the defensive, a woman may feel some measure of an inferiority complex that she is forever being measured against her male peers, and comes up lacking, either in their eyes, her own, or both.

Finally, what I have heard from other women (and men) in IT, and is also true in my case, is that most women go into the IT field as a fairly sure way of making a good living. This usually means giving up the hopes and dreams of a more authentic vocation and is perhaps the deepest wound. However, it also is the one that, with time, success, and life changes, becomes the most unconscious, and the most difficult to heal or reverse.

I may never be able to replace my IT income with my vocation as a writer, but I will battle to the end in the attempt.

inferiority complex

Unsplash.com — Carl Cerstrand

Jung Corner: The Original Goth – German Expressionism, Nosferatu, and Film Noir

Jung Corner: The Original Goth – German Expressionism, Nosferatu, and Film Noir

The Centre of an Imaginative Whirlpool: Nosferatu and Weimar Culture – Part 1

The Original Goth – German Expressionism, Nosferatu, and Film Noir

“I read that every known superstition in the world is gathered into the horseshoe of the Carpathians, as if it were the centre of some sort of imaginative whirlpool; if so my stay may be very interesting.”   –  Bram Stoker, Dracula

What were, if any, the cultural and psychological undercurrents in German Expressionism that expressed the dichotomy between the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler? In the years between World War I and II, from roughly 1919 to 1929, the fledging and the short-lived Weimar Republic in Germany witnessed an extraordinary flourishing of philosophy, arts, and sciences. According to Bollucks (2010), professor of English at UW-Milwaukee, the Weimar Republic was “remarkable for the way it emerged from a catastrophe, more remarkable for the way it vanished into a still greater catastrophe, the world of Weimar represents modernism in its most vivid manifestation” (Wikipedia, n. p.). In addition, some have termed the art movement at this time in Germany, German Expressionism. However, this movement was also evident throughout Europe.

Also, with such a thriving of art, science, and culture, how is it that a Hitler could have arisen in such a milieu? What were the cultural and psychological undercurrents in the collective unconscious that could account for such an apparent dichotomy? More specifically, what were the stated or unstated beliefs of blood and race that shaped the Weimar romantic imagination to produce the string of horror and noir films such as, The Cabinet of Dr. Cagliari, The Golem, Faust, Waxworks, and Nosteratu? How much were such works influenced by the fear of Eastern Europeans; Jews and gypsies in particular?

German Expressionism

By Robert Wiene, director, died 1938; Rudolf Meinert, producer, died 1943; Erich Pommer, producer, died 1966; Hans Janowitz, writer, died 1954; Carl Mayer, writer, died 1944; Willy Hameister, Cinematographer, died 1938; – the movie Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26998065

Finally, and more broadly speaking, why have these fascinations persisted in our psyche and popular culture today? What are the whys, ways, and means of our need to produce monsters? Is there a repeated process, a technology of monster making; of monstrosity? Is this our need to project the alien “Other,” or our shadow? Or is it, as Nelson (2001) posits in The Secret Life of Puppets, the only acceptable way of our rational, Enlightenment selves to allow the eruption and consumption of the supernatural:

The way larger mainstream culture, via works of imagination instead of official creeds, subscribes to a nonrational, supernatural, quasi-religious view of the universe: pervasively, but behind our own backs. Consuming art forms of the fantastic is only one way that we as nonbelievers allow ourselves, unconsciously to believe. (p. vii)

Are the gothic and fantasy genres our method of individuation; our preferred, acceptable method of integrating the rational and irrational? I believe that the answer to all of the above is, “yes” and these are the questions that I will explore in further depth.

German Expressionism

By F.W. Murnau – screen capture around the 1hr 19min mark, PD-US, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22848473

In a series of posts, I will show that by reflecting the themes of menace, Germany’s romantic past, the recent humiliation of war, and the liminal space of dreams, fantasy and reality, F. W. Murnau’s 1922 film, Nosferatu: eine Symphonie des Grauens (Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror) (2007) captures the unique historical imagination of the Weimar Republic and in turn reflects our continuing need for reconciling the zeitgeist of the times with the spirit of the depths. I will also examine the Dracula vampire phenomenon in later posts.

References (for the German Expressionism entire series)

Dawidziak, M. (2008). The bedside, bathtub, and armchair companion to Dracula. New York: Continuum.

Eliade, M. (1959). The sacred and the profane: The nature of religion. New York: Harcourt, Brace.

Eliade, M. (1961). Images and symbols: Studies in religious symbolism. New York: Sheed & Ward.

Elsaesser, T. (2000). Weimar cinema and after: Germany’s historical imaginary. London: Routledge.

Gombrich, E. H. (1964). The Story of Art, By E.H. Gombrich. London: Phaidon Press.

Jung, C. G. (2009). The red book =: Liber novus. (S. Shamdasani, Ed.) New York: W.W. Norton & Co.

McDonald, B. (2010). Recreating the world: The sacred and the profane in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. In J. Lynch, Critical insights Dracula by Bram Stoker (pp. 87-137). Pasadena, CA: Salem.

Moss, S. (1998). Bram Stoker and the Society for Psychical Research. In E. Miller, Dracula: The shade and the shadow (pp. 82-92). Trowbridge: Desert Island Books.

Murnau, F. W. (Director). (2007). Nosferatu [Motion Picture]. Kino International Corporation.

Nelson, V. (2001). The secret life of puppets. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.

Roberts, I. (2008). German expressionist cinema: The world of light and shadow. London: Wallflower Press.

Stoker. (1997). Dracula: Authoritative text, contexts, reviews and reactions, dramatic and film variations, criticism. (N. Auerbach, & D. J. Skal, Eds.) New York: W. W. Norton.

Stoker, B. (2009). Bram Stoker’s Dracula: A documentary journey into vampire country and the Dracula phenomenon. (E. Miller, Ed.) New York: Pegasus Books.

Wikipedia. (2010). Weimar Culture. Retrieved 12 4, 2010, from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weimar_culture