By: Adrienne Credo, Regular Contributor
ABC Family’s Switched at Birth has been taking great strides in huge issues that many networks tend to stray away from such as the deaf community’s struggles, campus sexual assaults, and the catty competition women seem to always find themselves committing. While this last point was not the focus of the episode titled “At First Clear Word,” it is definitely important for us to note as women living in a society where we are often pitted against one another.
Daphne (Katie Leclerc) and her fellow chemistry classmate, Vimla (Rana Roy), have been butting heads since the beginning of the college class taught by the notoriously difficult Professor Marillo (Bess Armstrong). The culmination of tension between the two women led Professor Marillo to invite them to her house for an annual event reserved for a select few students. Once Daphne and Vimla arrive at Professor Marillo home, we see that there are three other girls in attendance as well. According to Professor Marillo, this is an annual event in which they make ice cream as chemists, utilizing the knowledge they have acquired thus far from class. There were more than enough materials for the girls to use.
During the creation of the ice cream, each girl worked on their own concoction and competed against each other for materials in order to finish first. Seeing Vimla struggle, Daphne swoops in to help but is met with anger and frustration as Vimla tells her to stop helping because she had everything under control. During their argument, Vimla drops the contents of her bowl and the ice cream is ruined. She is forced to start over with little materials they had left since they all worked separately. Each girl continues working on their own ice cream when more rifts resulting from longstanding tension between the two girls leads Professor Marillo to call the end of the experiment.
Needless to say, Professor Marillo was very disappointed in what had transpired between the girls. She scolded the girls on their lack of comraderie. Professor Marillo pointed out the fact that in the field of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), there are few women represented in this predominantly male group. In order to increase the amount of women working in the STEM field, women needed to lift each other up rather than compete against and tear each other down. Professor Marillo reminds the girls that she did not instruct them to work on this project individually, and yet they instinctively did so anyway.
The big takeaway from Professor Marillo’s wise words is that women need to work together and encourage each other rather than see other women as a threat. Women must learn to celebrate each other’s accomplishment because it brings us one step closer to equality with men, especially in the STEM field as Professor Marillo points out.
We, as women, must continue to work towards creating an environment where we instinctively push each other to reach our greatest potentials instead of working alone and rooting for other women to fail. Every accomplishment each woman makes is an accomplishment to be celebrated by all women. We have to remember that collaboration is key to making sure progress and when building this sisterhood of women constantly lifting each other up, we are making the world a better place for future generations of women.
Let's Chat! When was the last time you chose collaboration over competition? What did you learn? Tell us here!
Adrienne is an undergraduate at University of California, Irvine studying Criminology, Law and Society with a minor in International Studies. She is also a passionate photographer (you can check out her work below!). She loves watching TV shows like Chicago PD (shout out to Sophia Bush!) and Law & Order: SVU with her roommates and creates funny videos with her friends. Check out some of her photographs on Flickr. http://www.flickr.com/photos/123906482@N03/ Follow Adrienne on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ayjaycee and on Instagram: http://instagram.com/a.credo
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