Toys and Tools in Pink

Cultural Narratives of Gender, Science, and Technology

Carol Colatrella


Literary Criticism/General
246 pp. 6x9

$29.95 paper 978-0-8142-5230-7
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The author recommends the following links:

The Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology

The Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts

The International Society for the Study of Narrative

Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering

Georgia Tech: ADVANCE


Toys and Tools in Pink is original, very timely, and engaging. Carol Colatrella’s readings of fiction and film clearly demonstrate ways in which cultural narratives are produced and provide context for contemporary understanding of identities and roles in science and technology. There is much scope for new work at the intersection of literary and sciences studies, because the central role of science in society today has raised new challenges in almost every field of study. The time couldn’t be more perfect for a book like this.” —Kavita Philip, associate professor of women’s studies at the University of California, Irvine

“Carol Colatrella’s analyses of how gender is imprinted through cultural texts provide a substantive contribution to scholarship that addresses the problem of the under-representation of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Moreover, Colatrella addresses this problem with a sustained evenness of scholarly critique and clarity of expression, which makes the book both engaging and enjoyable to read. I highly recommend Toys and Tools in Pink for scholars in all fields of study who are interested in this important problem.” —Priscilla Wald, professor of English, Duke University

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs work collaboratively to connect education and research at the institutional, national, and global levels. But what role do women play in STEM? In this very timely book, Carol Colatrella responds to the under-representation of women in STEM by considering how gender inflects literary and media representations. In her analysis of fictional and cinematic texts that reference STEM, she investigates cultural tensions concerning sex roles—tensions that continue to be influential in today’s world.

Toys and Tools in Pink analyzes female character types that recur in fictional narratives in print, on television, and in the cinema: female criminals and detectives, mothers who practice medicine, and “babe scientists,” among others. It also investigates how narrative settings and plots both subsume and influence cultural stereotypes of gender in prescribing salient professional and personal codes of conduct in the STEM fields.

Literary and historical case studies in Toys and Tools in Pink examine issues of women’s abilities in, access to, and management of science and technology. These issues appear in debates among university faculty, politicians, and public policy analysts concerned about women’s participation in STEM fields. Current analyses of diverse fictions and films demonstrate a continuing interest in women’s place in science and technology and also create new, evolving understandings of femininity and masculinity that revise earlier stereotypes.

Carol Colatrella (website) is a professor of literature and cultural studies in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture, and Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Women, Science, and Technology, at the Georgia Institute of Technology.