The #ShirtStorm and Its Double Standard November 18, 2014Posted by mareserinitatis in feminism, research, science.
Tags: #shirtstorm, feminism, matt taylor, misogyny, philae, sexism
I was a bit distracted and didn’t notice Matt Taylor’s shirt until today. Now that I have seen it and thought about it, I’d like to say that I think the people who are upset are wrong. Here’s why:
- How many women get picked on because of the clothes they wear or how they do their hair? If you missed it, this happens all the time while men get a free pass. We usually say that making commentary on women’s attire is a crappy thing to do…so how come we’re doing it to a guy? Treating a guy the way a woman normally is treated doesn’t make it okay…it means we shouldn’t be doing it to anyone! I seriously would love to wear a similarly styled shirt with Wonder Woman on it…but I know I shouldn’t because I would be judged very harshly. Why can’t we make it okay for everyone?
- Most people I know believe that women should be allowed to wear whatever they want without being sexualized. How many of those same people don’t like the shirt because the drawings are revealing? Is a woman’s body supposed to be sexualized or not? (That being said, anyone who thinks it was okay for him to wear that shirt, particularly if they’re defending it as “nerd culture” but expect women to dress or not dress certain ways is just as bad as the other side.)
- If a woman should be allowed to wear what she wants without having conclusions drawn about her, why is it okay to draw conclusions that the guy wearing that shirt is inherently misogynist?
- Why should scientists be held to a different standard of dress? I keep seeing this business about how scientists ought to dress more professionally. Says who? Scientists don’t need dress codes any more than high school students do. Scientists already have an image problem: people think of us as stuffy people who always wear lab coats. I’m glad someone was excited and NOT being boring. Science is cool stuff!
I do realize that much of the upset may be the power dynamic in STEM fields: there are far more men than women, and women are so very often not taken seriously. There is also the potential that something like this could be used to make women feel uncomfortable. (I don’t get the sense that this was the case, however, but I see the potential for it going wrong.) Ideally, one of his colleagues might have been kind enough to point out that some people may take the shirt the wrong way. As that didn’t happen, however, I don’t think the answer is to apply a set of standards to men when we are already complaining that they are unfair to women. Likewise, I hope that all the folks defending him aren’t ever going to turn around and accuse a woman of dressing inappropriately.
Personally Matt, I wasn’t crazy about the shirt. Like I said, I prefer Wonder Woman.