Philae researcher criticized for shirt covered in scantily clad women


Philae researcher criticized for shirt covered in scantily clad women

(CNN) – While the world watched the historic landing of a space probe on a comet 310 million miles from Earth, many were distracted by what was happening closer to home. Rosetta Project scientist Matt Taylor caused a firestorm with his choice of fashion during the European Space Agency’s live stream of Wednesday’s Philae landing. Taylor initially sported a shirt featuring women in lingerie, possibly not the wisest choice of attire given all of the discussion surrounding the challenges for women in the tech and science fields.

“The fact that a scientist of any gender, but especially a man, would think it’s a good idea to wear a shirt covered in naked women while representing a major space agency and a significant research project is appalling; and clearly, he had no idea that he was engaging in exactly the kind of casual sexism that drives women away from STEM,” S.E. Smith wrote in an article on XOJane.

STEM is the acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and women in those disciplines have long complained of sexism and other difficulties in their male-dominated fields
The shirt quickly spawned its own hashtag on Twitter – #shirtstorm – as both sexes took Taylor to task.
“No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt,” tweeted The Atlantic tech writer Rose Eveleth.

I notice that Taylor also has a beard and is heavily tattooed – does that also make women feel “unwelcome”? I’d agree that the shirt is in poor taste, especially for work. But, hey, the guy’s a nerd – he probably got the “socially acceptable attire” memo.

And he just landed a spaceship on a comet. What have feminist bloggers ever contributed to civilisation?

I came across this on the BBC this morning and had a good laugh over it. I don’t support modern Feminism (even First Wave has some good arguments against it) and this incident didn’t surprise me. While the man’s shirt is distasteful in a work environment (as you said), it does not warrant international news-level backlash. Poor guy, he directed a robot onto a comet, and history will only remember his shirt because some women didn’t like it.

Your second post, welcome to the forums!! :slight_smile: :thumbsup:

What a disgusting attempt to coopt attention from a groundbreaking achievement. The shirt is unprofessional, yes. BIG DEAL. And women who are discouraged from STEM fields because they’re scared of their colleagues’ shirts shouldn’t be such delicate flowers.

This shows that feminists nowadays are just complaining about various things for money (page views).

NB one lady started a fundraiser to buy the guy a present:

Man makes ground breaking engineering achievement.

Woman complains about it.

Am I missing anything?


why wear such a thing to begin with; just shows poor taste.

In defending the guy, one journalist’s piece took a shot at the PC secularist nitpicking in a way they’ll hate … comparing them to Rick Santorum < (or really the caricature of Rick as a prudish budinsky - which I don’t agree with BTW).

When Did the Left Turn into Rick Santorum? <funny take, well written, even though Santorum’s name gets dragged into it unfairly I thought. The author does point out that the PC dress code outrage well exceeds what Santorum is generally criticized for on the “intolerance” front.

Mr. Taylor then made the bad situation worse. Instead of telling these progressive puritans to go pound silicon dioxide, he issued a sobbing public confession straight out of a Maoist show trial. This guy just dropped a dishwasher on an ice cube 300 million miles from home and he’s groveling to a coven of D-list bloggers?

For years the left has characterized conservatives as joyless scolds forcing their morality on a resentful public. But they’ve upended this paradigm by becoming far more judgmental and censorious than so-called social conservatives like Rick Santorum ever conceived of being. The left is demanding so many recantations, the ghost of Torquemada is rolling his eyes and muttering awk-wrrrd.

Consistency has never been a hallmark of the left. Robespierre is all the rage one month, guillotined the next.

Such is the faddish left.

Great blog post by The Anchoress, (Elizabeth Scalia, no relation):

Techno/Science Geeks Should Not be Made to Cry

November 15, 2014 by Elizabeth Scalia

Anyone who knows (and loves) techno/science geeks knows a couple of things:

  1. They are generally sweet-natured people who are preoccupied with techno/science geeky thoughts.
  2. Because they are preoccupied with such thoughts, they are neither fussy, nor vain. Food is merely fuel, and clothes are mere bodily covering. They generally are not thinking about what they are eating, or wearing.
  3. A comet scientist who has just helped to land a probe on to a comet is unlikely think think, “oh, I’m going to be interviewed, so I’d better take off this inappropriate-but-geeky shirt full of sexy-women-with-guns on it, which was designed by a female friend.”
  4. Because techno/science geeks are sweet-natured, if a tweeting malcontent urinates on a great moment for science because she doesn’t like the inappropriate-but-geeky shirt, they will quickly and — unfortunately — tearfully apologize for giving offense.

Read the whole thing.

Honestly it seems like we’ve gotten into a never-ending escalation where we can’t just have things that are in poor taste or minor stuff without it becoming a major Issue.

Wearing a shirt with scantily clad women on it is in poor taste. And it’s not particularly respectful of women to walk around with pictures of them in underwear on display. It’s not a capital crime but it is in poor taste. Really now, when did we become supporters of half-naked pictures as Catholics?

And then I’ve seen like ten times people complaining about how people are offended than the number of people I’ve seen who are actually offended. In fact it seems like there’s no way to make a point anymore without everyone else acting like it’s the only thing you care about and you don’t want any attention given to anyone else. Frankly it looks to me like it’s being blown up more by people being offended that people are offended, than the people who were offended in the first place.

And I’ll bet if a conservative had complained about having these images in the workplace instead, the response would be entirely different.


Unfortunately, this is why so many companies have to have rather detailed dress codes.

And it is also proof that just because one is really really really smart in one field does not mean they are smart in any other field or that they have common sense. That shirt would be ok at a SCIFI or D&D convention, maybe on the beach. Unless you work in a surf shop, it really doesn’t seem right to wear to work.

I probably wouldn’t recommend it at a D&D convention…it would be likely to make people think you’re the “bisexual elf sorceress” type of player.


I have to agree with that. Although I’ve seen “moderates” and others “shoot or abandon their wounded” too, sadly.

This author might not be so much of a leftist as the audience he was criticizing - given the overall tone of the article - which rather skewered the PC shirt critics than Santorum.

Liked his writing style, a bit like Phillip Wylie in its satire … but gentler. Then again almost everyone is gentler than Wylie was. :smiley:

Seemingly everyone on Earth watched in astonishment as humanity landed a research probe on a small comet speeding 84,000 miles per hour towards the sun. Well, everyone on Earth except Ms. Rose Eveleth of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Atlantic writer blasts shirt choice rather than praises the great achievement

The acting technology editor for The Atlantic couldn’t pay attention to the history being made right in front of her eyes. She was too busy screen-capping and zooming-in on a scientist’s shirt to see if it offended her. And, boy, did it ever.

“The dude” is Rosetta Project astrophysicist Matt Taylor, who wore an intentionally kitschy bowling shirt covered with cartoons of ’80s-era pin-up girls holding sci-fi guns. It’s basically a parody of the tacky artwork that adorned everything from Duran Duran cassette covers to Trans Am hoods. Taylor is also covered shoulder-to-ankle in garish tattoos, has the requisite ironic hipster beard and holds international press conferences in surf shorts, purple socks and skater shoes.

Shirt looked like an '80s album cover tribute

Granted, I prefer my rocket scientists with crewcuts, skinny black ties and thick-rimmed glasses, but culture has devolved in the decades since the Mercury missions. That being said, what kind of a buzzkill would deny a brilliant physicist a silly, celebratory wardrobe on the greatest day of his professional life?

Female friend made shirt for Taylor - writer blasts the petty public shaming

Several miserable harpies joined Ms. Eveleth on the public shaming, turning a staggering scientific achievement into a colloquy on restoring Victorian dress codes. For the record, the shirt was made by a woman named Elly Prizeman as a fun gift for her physicist friend. No doubt, she shall be placed in the village stockade for her grievous sin of consorting with a male and having her cartoon ladies show too much ankle. Her repentance will only be accepted when she covers them up in burkas.

This guy’s employers should long since have told him such apparel is inappropriate and if they hadn’t before they should have told him before his interview, “Lose the shirt! You’re representing the agency!”
Maybe in Europe they don’t get sued for “hostile work environment” like in the US.

But I’m rather amused that feminists are big on “don’t tell us how to dress”, opposing school dress codes, reacting with vitriol when a judge tries to set limits for female lawyers (they may be right on that one, depending).

As for Mr Taylor’s shirt discouraging women from entering STEM, I call BS. Whatever causes that gap starts back in elementary or high school.

The American Astronomical Society has issued a statement defending critics of Dr. Taylor’s offensive shirt.

The past few days have seen extensive international discussion of an incident (known online as #shirtstorm or #shirtgate) in which a participant in a European Space Agency media conference wore a shirt with sexualized images of gun-toting women and made an unfortunate remark comparing the featured spacecraft to a woman. Viewers responded critically to these inappropriate statements, especially jarring in such a highly visible setting (one in which very few women appeared), and the scientist apologized sincerely. But in the meantime, unacceptable abuse has been directed toward the critics, from criticism of “over-active feminism” to personal insults and more dire threats.

We wish to express our support for members of the community who rightly brought this issue to the fore, and we condemn the unreasonable attacks they experienced as a result, which caused deep distress in our community. We do appreciate the scientist’s sincere and unqualified apology.

The AAS has a clear anti-harassment policy, which prohibits “verbal comments or physical actions of a sexual nature” and “a display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.” Had the offending images appeared and comments been made under the auspices of the AAS, they would be in clear violation of our policy.

The whole statement can be found here.

Another gaggle of whooped politically correct thralls.

Who here is not surprised?


It does seem a little hypocritical, yes.

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