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?