New study on women who watched ‘The X-Files’ backs up ‘Scully Effect’
What is the Scully Effect? It's no coincidence that female fans of 'The X-Files' are inspired to choose careers in STEM fields.
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny never expected “The X-Files” to be a hit when it first aired in 1993. But what was perhaps more surprising to Anderson was the impact her character Dana Scully—a sharp, skeptical medical doctor turned FBI agent—would have on female fans of the show.
It’s known as the “Scully Effect,” and it describes how many women have cited the character as inspiration for their decision to enter careers in science, medicine, or law enforcement.
“We got a lot of letters all the time, and I was told quite frequently by girls who were going into the medical world or the science world or the FBI world or other worlds that I reigned, that they were pursuing those pursuits because of the character of Scully,” Anderson told a crowd at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International. “And I said, ‘Yay!’”
Now, a new report brings some data to back up the claim.
The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, a nonprofit research organization and advocacy group, and 21st Century Fox conducted an online survey that asked 2,021 women to rate how the character Dana Scully influenced their career choices and attitudes. The survey respondents were all female, all ages 25 or older (so they would have had a chance to enter the workforce, and have seen the show), and comprised an overrepresentation of women in STEM fields and fans of the show.
The results showed:
- About one-third (29%) of respondents were aged 25 to 39, while the remainder (71%) were aged 40 or older.
- Roughly half (49%) of the sample studied a STEM field in college, or currently works in STEM.
- Two-thirds of respondents (68%) had seen at least one episode of The X-Files, which speaks to the show’s wide reach
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of women who are familiar with Dana Scully say she increased their belief in the importance of STEM
- Among women who are familiar with Scully’s character, half (50%) say Scully increased their interest in STEM.
- Among women who are familiar with Scully’s character, 91% say she is a role model for girls and women
- Among women who are familiar with Scully’s character, 63% say Scully increased their confidence that they could excel in a male-dominated profession.
- Nearly two-thirds (63%) of women that work in STEM say Dana Scully served as their role model
“When you look back at the 1990s, Scully was a woman who had not yet been depicted in TV, and as a result of that influenced generations of women and girls to go into the field to science. We hope that sends a message to storytellers to tell these stories because it does have a really positive impact on our society.”
Dozens of mummified cats were dug up this week. This isn't as shocking as you might think.
- Archaeologists in Egypt have found dozens of mummified cats in the tomb of a royal offical.
- The cats will join the ranks of hundreds of thousands of previously discovered ancient kitties.
- While the cats are nothing special, the tomb also held well preserved beetles.
They're at a higher risk for depression, weekend binge drinking, and unnecessary dieting.
- Body dysmorphia is not limited to women, a new study from Norway and Cambridge shows.
- Young men that focus on building muscle are at risk for a host of mental and physical health problems.
- Selfie culture is not helping the growing number of teens that are anxious and depressed.
Detailed (and beautiful) information on 57 million crop fields across the U.S. and Europe are now available online.
- Using satellite images and artificial intelligence, OneSoil wants to make 'precision farming' available to the world.
- The start-up from Belarus has already processed the U.S. and Europe, and aims for global coverage by 2020.
- The map is practical, and more — browse 'Random Beautiful Fields' at the touch of a button.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.