Messages about the troubles smart women have in science or engineering careers—channeled through perky, TV “weather girl” intern Sam Sparks—are also part of the lesson. “Meatballs” grabbed the alpha spot 2 weekends in a row since opening in September and is still holding a strong second place. A lot of kids—many of them girls—are seeing that film.
Conflicted about her intelligence and beauty, Sam (voiced by Anna Faris) reins in her left-brain for eye-batting cuteness to gain acceptance—until she meets Flint Lockwood, a lovable but misunderstood brainiac inventor, as both contemplate their failures at the end of the local pier.
This, of course, leads to a problem of under-representation of women in the sciences, especially in physics and engineering.
According to government studies, interest in science between boys and girls is similar until about fourth grade. Soon after, though, many girls turn away from science, math and technology subjects like computing and engineering. High-school girls make up only 17 percent of students in AP computer science and 7 percent in AP physics.
It takes a lot for young girls to not only be fascinated by science, but also to withstand the tease and stereotype of being someone who wants to do science. It doesn't take a genius to realize that this is a major factor in discouraging anyone from pursuing anything, given that kind of a social obstacle.