Honey Lemon is a bright, bubbly, chemistry student. Even though Big Hero 6 is a Marvel movie, she doesn’t have superpowers. Instead, her high intelligence and advanced chemistry skills are her power. She’s created an invention which she calls a chem purse, which is full of chem balls. Chem balls are balls of chemical components she can throw at her opponent to either attack or defend. Honey Lemon certainly isn't the white lab-coat wearing chemist that never leaves the lab. She has always been interested in chemistry and nature, but she’s also passionate about fashion and art in her spare time, proving that you can enjoy both science and art. She is a bubbly, optimistic, and upbeat extrovert, which counters stereotypes of chemists that kids may have seen before.
Depictions of Women in STEM: Honey Lemon and Go Go Tomago
Written by: Alicen Ricard
This month for our Depictions of Women in STEM blog post we’re doing something a little different and profiling two women from an animated movie. Disney, historically, isn’t exactly known for depicting women as strong and independent. A lot of us grew up with princess movies where the woman’s main job was to fall for a prince. However, along with the changing times, Disney has also started changing. In more and more movies the protagonist can stand up for herself and doesn’t need a prince. Along with that, we’re also getting more kids movies with women in traditionally male-dominated fields. Two of these women are Honey Lemon and Go Go Tomago from Big Hero 6.
Go Go Tomago is a mechanical engineer and athlete. Like Honey Lemon, Go Go doesn’t have any superpowers. She uses her skills as a mechanical engineer to create a suit that incorporates some of the designs of her motorcycle, including electromagnetic wheels which help her be even faster than she normally is. Her suit contains disks that can be used as shields, weapons, and even transportation. She is much more reserved than Honey Lemon, and is sardonic and no-nonsense. She is also reckless, often acting before thinking, which goes against the stereotype that highly intelligent people always overthink things.
Even though the movie does have a male protagonist, these two women help save the day. They also aren't looked down upon by their friends because they are women. They're both extremely intelligent and are treated with respect. These two characters are an inspiration for young girls who want to go into these fields. There have even been many diy chemistry experiments for kid inspired by Honey Lemon.
DOES BIG HERO 6 MEET THE GOALS SET OUT BY THE WHITE HOUSE FOR BETTER REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN IN STEM FIELDS?
The former Obama Administration's White House fact sheet lists 3 goals for fictional representation of women in STEM. We are noticing a trend in the movies and television shows we have reviewed - they meet some of the following goals better than others.
1. Include diverse STEM role models (past and present): Two of the main five human characters in this movie are women in STEM of colour, so this film does meet this goal.
2. Highlight the breadth of STEM careers and social impacts: There are multiple different STEM fields in this movie including chemistry, engineering, and robotics. They also show how technology can be used to make life both better and worse. This film meets this goal.
3. Debunk STEM stigmas and misconceptions: Neither Honey Lemon nor Go Go Tomago are stereotypical. This film meets the goal.