A host of scholars have illuminated the ways in which schools and other institutions have created and then sustained a vast gender gap in the scientific professions. Many of these studies have focused on overt discrimination: deliberate efforts by men to prevent the entry of women into scientific pursuits. Others have identified subtle and culturally mediated processes that have often led girls away from scientific courses and careers. This article examines rhetorically lofty, but qualified, efforts to encourage women's interest in science, and it demonstrates how even these attempts may have contributed to the gender gap in the scientific professions. Specifically, it focuses on the portrayal of women scientists in a high school science magazine, Science World, and analyzes its ambiguous messages to high school girls about the possibility of careers in science. This essay employs ideas about curricular self-selection and the formulation of career aspirations in interpreting the depiction of female scientists in issues from the time of the magazine's founding in 1957 to 1963, the year Betty Friedan published The Feminine Mystique and the symbolic dawn of the liberal feminist movement. During these years, the United States government funded numerous educational initiatives in response to the Soviet Union's launching of Sputnik to attract more students to the scientific professions. In addition, professional scientists revised high school curricula in physics and biology to foster public rationality, critical thinking, and greater appreciation of scientific inquiry. The late postwar era also marked the beginning of greater female participation in the sciences.