Scientist and biomedical from Bahia, Jacqueline Joyce, spoke about the honor she received, after Mattel toy manufacturers chose her to “transform into” a Barbie doll. For her, in addition to the style of a black woman, this feat represented a paradigm shift due to the profession.
“For me it was a huge surprise. I never imagined, throughout my history, that I would become a Barbie precisely because the style was so different from mine. A doll that would be black, with curly hair, and more than that, would represent my profession, the profession of a scientist.”
“It’s still a profession underrepresented in the world as a whole, by the female universe. We still don’t have equal representation between men and women. That’s why I was so surprised.”
Jacqueline’s scientific work became famous during the pandemic, as she was part of the team responsible for genetic sequencing of the novel coronavirus in the first cases of Covid-19 in Latin America.
Jaqueline Góes de Jesus (second from left to right) is honored with scientist Barbie – Photo: Mattel / Divulgação
For her, who is from El Salvador, the fact that she was honored by the world’s leading toy manufacturer for her work and contribution to science is still hard to believe.
“The record, as we usually say, took a while to falter. I’m still trying to get used to the idea, because there’s so much attraction to acting. Not only in the academic world, but also with children, especially with black women, who commented a lot on the doll, said they So proud of having a Brazilian doll and being a black woman, a scientist, and that she was a very actress.”
“I think, in the end, the representation is not just for science, but for the standards we know, it was pretty high.”
The disbelief was so great that when the company contacted the world, I thought it was a joke.
“They called the agency staff and the agent called me. He said Mattel, from toys, called him and he wanted to make a Barbie doll for me. It was kind of like that. I couldn’t believe it. At first. Very powerful for children.I couldn’t tell people, so it was a great feeling, I was very happy, not only for the honor of me, but for other scientists who have a very big history in the epidemic, everyone who has been honored has played a very big part in this process, fighting this last year , from Covid-19 and what we have lived through.”
“I think it’s a very big tribute to science especially at this difficult time. And it was. I didn’t believe it at first, it took a while and I’m still trying to get used to the idea of becoming a Barbie doll.”
Once the surprise is over, it’s time to make the doll. Jacqueline tells how she had to be involved in the process of creating a copy of her game.
“They asked for a reference photo, and they sent in an idea of what it should be like, but they wanted me to feel comfortable. And there, it was my work clothes. It’s a dress shirt, jeans, sneakers and a coat that people use in the lab all the time. That was somewhat Like that. They were inspired by who I am. They did it the exact same way. I was thrilled when I opened the box.”
Brazilian biomedical woman who inspired Barbie doll: ‘Acting isn’t just for science’
On the issue of underrepresentation of signs, Jacqueline explains that this is also linked to social inequality.
“We have a lot of peculiarity in Brazil with regard to social issues, and obviously in Brazil we have almost 50% of women, and a little more than 56% of women hold positions in science. And this is not reflected in the world as the world, in general, countries that invest In science and advanced, it has an underrepresentation of women. Little is said about black women. This also reflects social issues.”
“Black women are in a social position that does not allow access to higher education. Because of the difficulties that women have in this life path to dedicate themselves to science. To dedicate yourself to science you need a large financial contribution because dedication is exclusive. And when you do not have it, unfortunately it becomes a dream that You become a world that is not possible.”
For the world, the fact that Brazil is not a country that invests in scientific and academic start-up conflicts with the career choices of black women.
“In Brazil, this makes it very difficult for black women to reach these top positions, in the academic profession. And something that obviously needs to change, has to be reflected in basic education. So I would say that Brazil still has a lot to learn with the world. , but the fact that a black woman is now leading this moment is undoubtedly the result of many discussions that have taken place in recent years.”
Jacqueline also insists on dispelling the merit myth, which states that all people can only thrive in their abilities, without the need for community help.
“I always say that it was not Dr. Jacqueline who was able alone and exclusively through merit – because I do not believe in merit – to get to this place. Those who came before me fought a lot so that I could reach this place through the process of being able to study, having a financial structure, And my father’s contribution to getting my master’s degree, getting my Ph.D., and today being a postdoc even abroad is not only due to my efforts. Obviously I’ve had my hard work but I have had many opportunities. I think this is a path.”
“It’s a way to open up this discussion. This discussion is actually open. I’ve been getting positive messages. It’s also been a certain provocation to think in this regard – how many amazing and competent women we have who don’t line up with the front because of structural issues?”
A model for the new generation
A biomedical woman who helped sequence coronavirus DNA shows her inspired doll – Image: clone/social media
She highlighted on social networks the importance of being honored, not only for her work, but also as a black woman.
“As a black woman, having a Barbie doll, with all my characteristics, is just a dream. Something that until recently was a distant reality, not to mention the lack of it. I am the exclusive Barbie line that celebrates scientists. What a joy to share with you this beautiful honor that I have received from Mattel’s Inspirational Woman Project!”, the Bahian woman said on social networks.
“Becoming a role model for new generations is to demonstrate that through opportunity, talent and intelligence can reach and achieve positive outcomes for the nation.”
Jaqueline Góes is honored by Mattel – Photo: Reproduction / Social Networks
Jaqueline Góes de Jesus is following a successful path in the field of biomedicine. Before delving into the search for the new coronavirus, she was part of the team that sequenced the Zika virus genome.
The woman from Bahia is currently a researcher with a grant from the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp), at the post-doctoral level, at the São Paulo Institute of Tropical Medicine-University of São Paulo (IMT-USP). It also conducts research in the field of emerging viruses.
The scientist holds a degree in Biomedicine from the Bahia School of Medicine and Public Health, a Master of Biotechnology in Health and Investigative Medicine (PgBSMI) from the Gonçalo Muniz Research Institute – Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (IGM-FIOCRUZ) and a PhD in Human Pathology from the Federal University of Bahia in partnership Wide with IGM-FIOCRUZ.
After a tribute, a biotherapist who helped sequence the DNA of the coronavirus said she had never imagined becoming a Barbie – Image: clones / social networks
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