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Mansplaining #shirtgate to women is meta misogyny

A man wore a shirt with women in bondage to work. Not just to work, but to an event that would be broadcast everywhere in the world because the event involved landing a rocket on a comet. A very, very cool thing that had never been done before.

Two women in STEM commented that the shirt might not be appropriate or might not make women in shirtSTEM feel included. The women commenting on the shirt did not say the man was bad. They did not attack him personally in any way. Some journalists wrote pieces on it, trying to explain how women who are already marginalized in STEM might feel.

The dog pile that followed was not more women (or men) with cries of, bad man or fat man or ugly man. No, what happened next was some journalists, largely male, turning a few tweets into a story about why women are so overly sensitive, why feminism is evil, and we women should all just chill out and get some freaking perspective. Because women in the field have no right to make a comment about how a shirt with semi-naked women might in such a male dominated field might make them feel less welcome.

Imagine, for example, if I wore a shirt made of scantily clad men while speaking a national enhanced-buzz-30845-1366998152-17meeting of OB/GYNs. The field of OB/GYN is ever increasingly female and I have heard from some men in the field that they feel marginalized. Might they feel more or less marginalized by someone representing them at a national meeting that will be televised wearing a shirt or dress or suit made of fabric with scantily clad cowboys or Santa’s helpers?

To those men (and the few women) who are so myopic that they can’t see the wood for the trees I tell you this. The scientist was not judged, his shirt was. No one said he looked fat, or gross, or that the color didn’t work with his skin, or that his hairstylist should be fired, or that his make-up was so last year, or that his ass was clearly photoshopped because those are the kind of things the press writes about what women in entertainment and politics wear, these women said A SHIRT OF HALF-NAKED WOMEN IN BONDAGE MIGHT NOT BE THE BEST CHOICE FOR SUCH AN IMPORTANT EVENT IN SCIENCE. And of course they are right. The difference between what was said and apparently what some in the press (and public) heard isn’t subtle, at least not to those of us who have beenenhanced-buzz-30791-1366997854-12 told we look fat/old/ugly.

A broadcaster in Australia just came forward to announce that he has worn the same cheap suit on air for a year as an experiment in sexism, clothing, and the media. His point was that not one person noticed his same suit day after day. They noticed what he said and how he said it, but not his suit. His female colleague, on the other hand, receives constant comments about how she looks. Interesting, no?

But back to #shirtgate or #shirtstorm or whatever.

The people who made this into a “thing” are the people who amplified the original comments without understanding them in USA Today and elsewhere. To quote Glenn Harlan Reynolds in USA Today, the whole comet landing was “drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage.” But that isn’t what happened. Two women who are in the field commented on the shirt, some thoughtfully wrote more on it, other journalists made it into a story missing the nuances, and then people like Mr. Reynolds jumped on it to mansplain it back to the women (and men) who raised an eyebrow to begin with. The shirt was a poor choice for work attire. Mansplaining it back is misogyny.

To Mr. Reynolds and his ilk, the feminist idea of wearing what you want is related to not being treated like a piece of meat or being told that you were dressed in such a way you deserved to be groped or raped and is not an excuse for a middle finger at your work’s dress code. If you wear a t-shirt and ripped jean mini skirt and your work dress code is business casual or business dressy then you are inappropriately dressed and need to change. If you wear a t-shirt and ripped jean mini skirt to a bar and get assaulted you did not ask for it. Hopefully you can see the difference between those two scenarios.

The thing is I think I know what would happen if I wore an outfit made of half-naked cowboys to a national event. If my ass looked fat that would be pointed out long before anyone noticed the fabric.

 

***

 

Late entry, 8:25 pm.

It seems from the comments below (and the lovely tweets that I have received) that many are having trouble understanding my points. Perhaps the half-naked men are just too distracting or perhaps they understand well-enough but have their own narrative to pursue. Regardless, here is a short summary so everyone understands my points:

A man representing a massive STEM project wore a shirt with semi-nude hypersexualized women clad in PVC (or leather, hard to tell).

His coworkers did not say, “Great shirt for a pub, not so great for International exposure.”

Two women in STEM tweeted about the shirt’s appropriateness given issues with women in STEM feeling marginalized. Issues that they are familiar with.

What should have happened next was a buddy saying, “Hey, that shirt is really for the pub” and perhaps the man issuing a statement saying “It’s my favorite shirt. I just totally missed how it might come across. Sorry.” Instead the press, needing another angle other than a rocket landing on a comet, made the tweets into a story. Editors apparently believing that controversy involving partially naked women will get more clicks than a rocket landing on a comet (possibly, and very sadly, they might be right).

The man, like a lot of people, was unprepared for the eagerness of the press to report so much on a couple of tweets and how it became such a big story. He felt very badly.

Vitriol was cultivated, amped by the press coverage and men (mostly men from the comments and tweets I’ve received) feeling that women were wrong to feel the way they did. A man (a couple actually) wrote op-eds explaining to women, but especially the two women who had tweeted, that they were silly and wrong to feel they way they did. And that feminism is dead. And that there is such a double standard with dress codes so women should just shut up. And get over it.

Much more vitriol ensued against the women. Death and rape threats were made (silly women, they were not meant to take those seriously, just all in good fun you know!). All because of a couple of tweets that rightly pointed out that a shirt of hyper sexualized half-naked women in PVC or leather (because the specifics of how scantily glad these women were dressed matters more to some commenters below than the veracity of death and rape threats) might not be a welcoming image for women in STEM.

All proving that many of the comments on posts about feminism prove why we still need feminism.

 

 

Discussion

69 thoughts on “Mansplaining #shirtgate to women is meta misogyny

  1. “Imagine, for example, if I wore a shirt made of scantily clad men while speaking a national meeting of OB/GYNs. The field of OB/GYN is ever increasingly female and I have heard from some men in the field that they feel marginalized.”

    I can tell you exactly what would happen. Nobody would care!! They probably won’t even notice. And if they do, most likely they will laugh, validate your sense of humor, think more highly of you as not being stuck up, and better enjoy the event. Shirtgate is a clear example of how disconnected women are from male mentality and how terribly little they understand.

    Posted by Vasile | November 16, 2014, 12:03 pm
    • So women who might feel marginalized are stuck up?

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 16, 2014, 12:10 pm
      • Ahhh, obviously what is lacking is a sense of humour from women on this issue… *facepalm*

        *sigh* And to think it is 2014.

        Posted by The Arbourist | November 16, 2014, 12:16 pm
      • Not only are they stuck up they are also immature. They should probably even be revoked their right to vote as they clearly don’t have the emotional capacity to make sane, rational decisions. Science is obviously not a field for them.

        Posted by Vasile | November 17, 2014, 2:30 am
      • Here’s the thing. I get the point that was being made. Yes, women are marginalized in science and not featured as leads for a project.

        However, AS A WOMAN, I feel this particular case is pretty much overblown and most people aren’t listening to the women who don’t share the same opinion of “the shirt is sexist”.

        Facts that were ignored. The shirt was made by a woman and the woman asked him to wear it. We are #shirtshaming HIM. Sexy is not always sexist. If we expect to state to women that it’s ok to be sexy (instead teach men not to harass a woman because of her attire), we can’t tell this man it’s not ok to appreciate the female form by wearing this shirt and jump at him immediately as if he’s a misogynist.

        And NO, it was just about what you say, merely stating it was inappropriate. Everything I’ve seen is sideline derailing comments by some feminists and feminist sites (The Mary Sue in particular). “The shirt is tacky!” (I wear tacky shit daily) “The shirt has scantily clad women.” (What, are you Mother Teresa all of a sudden?) Women aren’t shown as leads. (You’re so focused on this goddamned shirt, you didn’t ask to hear more about the women who ARE working on the project). “The shirt is distracting to the science!” (No…you are distracted and you’re #shirtshaming him. The shirt had nothing to do with it. You can’t stand up for the rights of young women not to be harassed for wearing short skirts or low cut shirts, and state that it’s not a distraction to education and then in the same breath state that this shirt is a distraction.)

        Every time I’ve tried to make my point, I have been shamed back into a corner like my opinions do not matter and I’m “part of the problem”. As a feminist, this hurts. There’s no one type of woman and to be told I’m wrong for questioning why we’re shaming this dude (who so very obviously was super extremely proud of his work) is beyond me.

        Posted by Caught 2nd Handed | November 17, 2014, 7:41 am
      • It was the press who made a few tweets into a story.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 17, 2014, 7:43 am
      • It was the feminist media that turned it into a disaster

        Posted by Vasile | November 17, 2014, 10:52 am
      • “However, AS A WOMAN, I feel this particular case is pretty much overblown and most people aren’t listening to the women who don’t share the same opinion of “the shirt is sexist”.”

        Indeed. They’ve been told to shut up, they’ve been told their opinions don’t matter(“I say it’s sexist so it’s sexist!”), they’ve even been slut shamed. And the only response that can be given is “It was the press! Totally!”

        Yeah, right. Feminism is dead.

        Posted by Rebecca | November 20, 2014, 6:44 pm
      • “So women who might feel marginalized are stuck up?”

        In this case: yes.

        Posted by evilcyber | November 27, 2014, 5:18 am
  2. So, when women on the Left way on on Twitter, or write about the issue, it’s just commenting; but when Mr. Reynolds, or others that aren’t women identified as ‘official feminists,’ tweet or write about their thoughts on the issue it’s misogyny?

    Please don’t abuse the word “misogyny” to the point where people quit listening, much as has been done to the word “racism.”

    Posted by Lizbertarian (@lizbuddie) | November 16, 2014, 12:46 pm
    • I assume you mean “weigh in”?

      It is clear to me that you haven’t read or understood what I wrote and what Reynolds wrote.

      This is not a left issue so I don’t understand why you’d bring that up unless you think the GOP should sex-up their attire a little.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 16, 2014, 12:54 pm
  3. It’s kind of frightening to think that this scientist, an obviously intelligent man, would think wearing a shirt showing women in bondage, is acceptable in any workplace. Let alone in society.
    If he had photos or posters hanging on his office walls showing women in similar positions, wouldn’t his employer frown on that?
    I’m surprised no one said anything before this.

    Posted by Erin Bliss | November 16, 2014, 1:05 pm
    • There are enough pictures on the internet of the ‘offensive shirt’ to fact check. The description of the shirt as depicting women in bondage is not true and makes it sound much worse than it was. The shirt depicts women in leather, with guns, in some space theme that is a little Laura Croftesque and stretching, it could be someone’s idea of a space fantasy mistress. If a science geek wanted to talk about the success of their ‘sexy’ space mission, they might misguidedly wear that shirt.

      You could wear it with pants made out of the half dressed cowboy print. A bad fashion call, but the indignation deserves the backlash.

      Posted by Mike Leggett | November 16, 2014, 5:31 pm
      • If you think it matters if the women were wearing PVC or leather lingerie or the exact specifics of being undressed/barely dressed then you have of course missed the entire point of the post.

        The point is that many in the media and a group of what seems to be mostly men in the general public have vilified two women for pointing out that the shirt might not be welcoming for women in STEM. These women have revived threats because the media over hyped and misrepresented a couple of tweets.

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 16, 2014, 6:45 pm
      • @DR. JEN GUNTER

        Yes, your post makes it very clear that this is about emotions and not facts for you. Did you even look at a picture of the shirt before you decided to get offended?

        “These women have revived[SIC] threats because the media over hyped and misrepresented a couple of tweets.”
        Have they? I saw that they got told they should kill themselves. Undoubtedable rude, but not a threat. Your arguments comport with neither reality nor rationality. Everyone who disagrees with you is a troll and anyone who has a different point of view is attacking you. So from your Weltanschauung what is happening right now and what is going to happen in the media over the upcoming weeks isn’t going to make much sense. Trust me it does.

        BTW, in answer to your earlier question, “Imagine, for example, if I wore a shirt made of scantily clad men while speaking a national enhanced-buzz-30845-1366998152-17meeting of OB/GYNs. The field of OB/GYN is ever increasingly female and I have heard from some men in the field that they feel marginalized. Might they feel more or less marginalized by someone representing them at a national meeting that will be televised wearing a shirt or dress or suit made of fabric with scantily clad cowboys or Santa’s helpers?”

        If they are offended they should act look big boys and suck it up.

        Posted by AnnoyedScience | November 16, 2014, 7:39 pm
      • And your comment is evidence that you don’t understand the issues at all.

        And hey, thanks for pointing out the typo!

        Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 16, 2014, 7:44 pm
  4. As a woman in science I have enough challenges, please don’t make things more difficult for us by making us look us look humorless and unreasonable. Starting a gender war over a shirt isn’t going to decrease hostility and marginalization. Your not helping, please stop.

    Posted by Jane Mueller | November 16, 2014, 1:12 pm
    • You have missed my point entirely. Tweets are not a gender war. The press escalated minor comments.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 16, 2014, 2:03 pm
      • They’re only tiny matches. If I want to throw them around at a gas station why should anyone care? They are after all such small flames.

        Please have a little pity on the gas station attendants.

        Posted by Jane Mueller | November 16, 2014, 2:27 pm
      • Jane Mueller it’s not someone lighting at match at a gas station, is the press behaving like an arsonist walking around expectantly with a can of gas looking for a fire to throw it on. And then claiming it’s not their fault the buildings on fire, why they just threw a couple cans of gas on it. Who could blame them?

        Posted by Gibbon1 | November 16, 2014, 6:25 pm
    • As another woman in science (astronomy, actually), I have enough challenges that I don’t need the project manager and de facto spokesperson for a major ESA-funded science mission to be perpetuating the same sexist nonsense that the rest of society tosses our way. Wearing the shirt on such an important day, and referring to the spacecraft using the tired Madonna/whore trope (“she’s sexy but I never said she was easy”), just serves to further alienate women in the field.

      Posted by Kelly | November 17, 2014, 4:58 pm
  5. This is what I do not get. When are we all going to move to the point where we are judged for our character and our accomplishments and the way we treat others instead of how we are dressed? To me, that was the bigger issue here. It shouldn’t matter what he wore. It shouldn’t matter what any one wears. What should matter is how we treat each other. I have known many conservatively dressed assholes who marginalize women and treat them like crap. How they dressed had nothing to do with how they treated women. This shirt did not necessarily reflect how the scientist treats women. Isn’t that what should really matter? I read a lot of the tweets and articles about this issue and this idea was completely lost in the shuffle.

    Posted by Kathy H | November 16, 2014, 2:05 pm
    • Most of the outrage that I have seen us about the death and rape threats made towards the women who tweeted. Also, about the articles being dismissive of the concerns.

      Posted by Dr. Jen Gunter | November 16, 2014, 2:47 pm
      • I looked at their twitter feed. No death threats, no rape threats. Telling someone to “go jump off a cliff” or “go die” does not constitute a death threat. Show me an actual death threat and I will personally drive to that guy/girl’s house and beat the living shit out of him.Otherwise it’s just more feminist lies.

        Posted by Vasile | November 16, 2014, 10:18 pm
  6. For the men who read this, there is one answer MGTOW. Don’t look to women for validation. Ignore what they have to say, and go your own way.

    Posted by RC | November 16, 2014, 2:23 pm
  7. Instead of trying to get everyone to conform to a dress code that suits your ideological preferences you might want to consider more effective options. Such as programs to increase the confidence of woman in and entering the STEM field so they don’t externalize their self worth onto the apparel of others. Woman in science and technology cannot be said to have secured a firm position until 1970’s cartoons can be safely ignored and are no threat to them psychologically.

    Posted by FishToBird | November 16, 2014, 3:02 pm
  8. I’m a man who works in a field that is 95% women (real stat). Specifically, where I work, I’m the only man out of a 45 person department. I have ten supervisors who are women (different supervisory functions), and all of my co-workers are women. This is all true. At work, I’ve been roundly ostracized and bullied in a manner that is clearly motivated by sexism. This has been voluntarily verified by some of my co-workers who do not take part.The marginalization was at the hands of women who would largely claim to be liberals if polled. It’s been miserable, but I like my actual job nevertheless.

    If a woman at my place of work wore a shirt with a man in bondage or “half naked”, I would have an extremely hard time finding a piece of logic that successfully enabled the jump from ‘whimiscal shirt’ to a shirt that I would feel the need to be personally offended by. I just don’t see it.

    The reality is that the women who complain about this are personalizing something that they have no business personalizing. Why? Because the shirt isn’t about them and they are not all women. Some women like dressing to be sexy or in bondage. Some women think the type of woman depicted on this man’s shirt is sexy. What about those women? Or are the complainers automatically representative of the interests of all women? It’s inconceivable to me how such a shirt would threaten or hurt my place in my profession, even when an average of only one man is admitted into one out of every three graduate classes for my field across the country.

    Some women know when to make something out of a meaningful offense and others will hurt women’s rights everywhere by reflexively personalizing every decision a man makes. Ridiculousness and piss-poor politics will take their toll.

    Posted by Jon | November 16, 2014, 4:12 pm
  9. “Bondage” yeah, ok sure, lol.

    Where are the articles about the women on the rosetta team? guess they don’t pull clicks like cod-outrage.

    Posted by wedgfdh | November 16, 2014, 5:53 pm
  10. Sigh. Most of the comments on here make me sad. Clearly, it was an inappropriate shirt. This isn’t about having a sense of humor or not having a sense of humor. How did that become the crux of the argument? I agree with this blog post and although I don’t usually comment, I felt the need to offset some of the comment insanity. I actually haven’t been following this story. I don’t live on the internet, but I had seen the picture of the shirt on my Facebook feed and thought “Oops, wardrobe malfunction. That guy must be pretty embarrassed right now.” I had no idea it was being defended as some sort of “whimsical shirt.” Funny, geek “porn” and whimsical aren’t usually connected. Oh well.

    Posted by Mere | November 16, 2014, 7:27 pm
    • I agree, and I’m so glad Dr. Gunter took the time to write this. I feel badly for the guy, but the two women scientists were not wrong to complain in the first place. Depictions of sexualized humans – men or women – are not suited for professional environments. I don’t understand why that is controversial.

      Posted by Kirstin | November 16, 2014, 8:50 pm
      • Yes, thank you for writing about this. Why am I always so surprised to see comments of the type that are on this post?? Maybe because it’s 2014. It makes me sad. Clearly the need for feminism is alive and well.

        Posted by sweetsound | November 16, 2014, 9:27 pm
      • We need feminism? Why? So it would police others and tell them what to wear? “Workplace ethics” is a flimsy excuse. Some workplaces have a dress code. Some don’t. You have no right to tell them what to decide on the matter.

        Posted by Rebecca | November 22, 2014, 1:48 am
  11. I’m an astrophysicist. I’m also a sexy woman, so maybe my opinion counts. If I had been in the ESO control room after that press conference, I would have taken off all my clothes in front of the remote cam and held up a sign saying “In support of Matt. Hey feminist monsters, is this choice of outfit okay with you?”

    Many PC criticisms of the innocent have made me ashamed to be Liberal, but I never though anything could make me ashamed to be female.

    Posted by Faye Kane | November 16, 2014, 9:57 pm
    • You can be feminist and have a different viewpoint. See my response. Also, I agree…it was a sexy sexy mission!

      Posted by Caught 2nd Handed | November 17, 2014, 8:48 am
      • > You can be feminist and have a different viewpoint.

        !!
        Hell yeah!
        Read Dr. Camille Paglia, lesbian feminist humanities professor if you’d like a different feminist viewpoint (and one I agree with). From her Sexual Personae (p. 53):

        “In philosophy and mathematics, the only materials are pen and paper. Male conspiracy cannot explain all female failures. I am convinced that, even without sexist restrictions, there still would have been no female Pascal, Milton, or Kant. Genius is not checked by social obstacles: it will overcome. Men’s egotism, so disgusting in the talentless, is the source of their greatness as a sex. Even now, with all vocations open, I marvel at the rarity of the woman driven by artistic or intellectual obsession, that self-mutilating derangement of social relationship which, in its alternate forms of crime and ideation, is the disgrace and glory of the human species. There has been no female Einstein for the same reason there has been no female Marquis de Sade.”

        She’s pro-sex, and pro- male domination during sex. She not only believes we can’t change what we evolved to be, but she LIKES what we evolved to be. We HAVE to like it; we don;t have any choice. Men evolved to be obsessed with women’s bodies. Not only was it not Matt’s fault, but there is no “fault” to be had. It’s like blaming and shaming gays for being attracted to men.

        Yes, his shirt was inappropriate for work. But that’s a matter between him and his boss. It doesn’t need to be pointed out publicly, and those who do have twisted political correctness gone feral. They deserve they appellation “feminazis.”

        Dr. Gunter, I DO understand this blog entry of yours, and I disagree with it. The two women bloggers who first posted this bullshirt were wrong to do so, as evidenced by the fact that they and the people who agreed with them made a scientist cry on TV. You can’t just blame the media as if you were a republican senator caught with a little boy.

        The overwhelming support for Matt is enervating, appropriate, and right. And I find the whole matter of #shirtgate so disgusting that I no longer follow the Rosetta mission. Let it loop around the sun; I no longer care about the thermal gradient in the comet’s interior.

        -faye

        Posted by Faye Kane | November 17, 2014, 2:04 pm
  12. Here’s the thing. I get the point that was being made. Yes, women are marginalized in science and not featured as leads for a project.

    However, AS A WOMAN I feel this particular case is pretty much overblown and most people aren’t listening to the women who don’t share the same opinion of “the shirt is sexist”.

    Facts that were ignored. The shirt was made by a woman and the woman asked him to wear it. We are #shirtshaming him. Sexy is not always sexist. If we expect to state to women that it’s ok to be sexy (instead teach men not to harass a woman because of her attire), we can’t tell this man it’s not ok to appreciate the female form by wearing this shirt and jump at him immediately as if he’s a misogynist.

    Everything I’ve seen is sideline derailing comments by feminists and feminist websites such as The Mary Sue. “The shirt is tacky!” (I wear tacky shit daily) “The shirt has scantily clad women.” (What, are you Mother Teresa all of a sudden?) Women aren’t shown as leads. (You’re so focused on this goddamned shirt, you didn’t ask to hear more about the women who ARE working on the project). “It’s because he shirt is distracting to the science!” (No…you are distracted and you’re #shirtshaming him. The shirt had nothing to do with it. You can’t stand up for the rights of young women not to be harassed for wearing short skirts, low cut shirts and state that it’s not a distraction to education and then in the same breath state that this shirt is a distraction.)

    Every time I’ve tried to make my point, I have been shamed back into a corner like my opinions do not matter and I’m “part of the problem”. As a feminist, this hurts. There’s no one type of woman and to be told I’m wrong for questioning why we’re shaming this dude (who so very obviously was super extremely proud of his work) It is beyond me. And then I’m “explained to” as if my voice isn’t heard as a woman.

    Now, DUDES…before you take this as your AMO to shut down women’s voices, don’t. This is MY opinion and MY voice for the defense of women with different viewpoints. Don’t use it as an excuse to harass other women.

    Posted by Caught 2nd Handed | November 17, 2014, 7:47 am
    • ==-
      > ” Sexy is not always sexist.”

      There you go. That’s IT in five words.

      You should win the Nobel Prize in Sanity. Those words ought to be posted in every forum about this distasteful matter and slipped under the door of every feminist organization.

      Posted by Faye Kane | November 17, 2014, 2:18 pm
      • Sexy is not always sexist. However, even non-sexist sexy does not belong in the workplace (except for sex-workers).

        Posted by Theo Bromine | November 17, 2014, 5:34 pm
      • @Theo It’s for the workplace to decide. You are not fashion police.

        Posted by Rebecca | November 22, 2014, 1:49 am
  13. The shirt had women who were clothed and holding guns. The two images of men doing nothing but exposing their chests is not equal to this shirt.

    Posted by Damn-Deal-Done (@Damn_Deal_Done) | November 17, 2014, 7:57 am
  14. These comments are a pretty amazing example of what the article is talking about.

    Posted by duwaynebrayton | November 17, 2014, 8:39 am
  15. Your post is well written and your point is very clear. It is depressing to see how few people actually understand what you’re saying and are still arguing about the stupid shirt.

    Posted by christineespeer | November 17, 2014, 9:59 am
  16. I left this comment at Wandering Scientist, which links back to this post. But I thought I would leave it here, too.

    FWIW, I am a physicist (PhD) who no longer works in the classified world.

    The point is that the chief scientist for a big project doesn’t think there is anything wrong with that shirt.

    The problem is that our careers depend on us staying in the good graces of powerful men who don’t think there is anything wrong with that shirt.

    Have you ever gone to a classified meeting in a classified facility? There are no windows. You leave you cell phones outside. The computers in the room have an “airgap”, meaning no internet access. The doors are closed and locked, with a guard outside. The rooms are soundproof and dampened to reduce the risk of electronic eavesdropping.

    Now imagine you are the only woman in that room and the guy running the meeting is wearing that shirt.

    Posted by BMGM | November 17, 2014, 1:06 pm
  17. Great post! Thanks for mansplaining !!! I love that term!!!

    Posted by crestwind24 | November 17, 2014, 2:36 pm
  18. Those half naked men look like Ken dolls. If they had a bigger package it might be a fairer comparison.

    Posted by BeanieBaby | November 17, 2014, 2:51 pm
  19. Sex and being sexy is not necessarily sexist, but inappropriate sexualization of non-sexual situations often is. Presumably any self-aware person who chooses to wear such a shirt would have done so with the full understanding that it would be *noticed* . (I would grant the possibility that he was so busy with his job that he had forgotten to do laundry and that was the only clean shirt he had left in the drawer, but I’ve not heard anyone offer up that explanation.) For some of those noticing (male or female), the response would be amusement, for some tolerance, for some annoyance, and some would feel threatened. There are jobs in which feeling threatened is part of the job description, but rocket scientist isn’t one of them, as far as I am aware.

    I was an electrical engineering student in the late 1970s, and an electronics designer at a largish company starting in the 1980s. Yes, I had a “thick skin” about sexism at the time – that was the only option. I had a thick skin when learning the mnemonic for the order of colour codes for resistor values: “Bad Boys Rape Our Young Girls But Violet Goes Willingly”. I had a thick skin when the shipping department was trying to deliver a part, and when they were told where to find me said that couldn’t be right – it was a part for an oscilloscope, so it had to have been a guy who ordered it. I had a thick skin when I discovered that in order to be taken seriously I had to dress down (or even better wear a labcoat), else I risked being asked to do some filing or typing. Perhaps these things “built character”, but they sure didn’t make me any better at my job. They were a distraction that reduced both my productivity and that of my colleagues, both male and female.

    Posted by Theo Bromine | November 17, 2014, 4:47 pm
  20. What a biased, unthoughtful, and unfair blog post about the matter.

    First off, there is absolutely no women on the shirt enduring bondage. They’re just smiling, scantily-clad women. It’s obviously coming from a guy with a loud personality, sure, but that’s why he seems to enjoy those loud shirts. It fits his personality. He’s a scientist with a character. You may consider that “character” offensive, and you honestly have all right to be offended by whatever you feel like, but it doesn’t mean this guy should be used as a punching bag as to why women are a lesser percentage then males in STEM. Some even going as far as saying that he hates women because of a shirt. A female friend made him that shirt and gave it to him on his birthday as a gift. He celebrated his achievement with a nod to his friend.

    You and many are either completely unaware of some peoples’ humor and concepts of fun clothing, or that some people have tacky tastes, or that you’re driving a point home based on nothing but conjecture and just not seeing it as such because of cynicism or over-sensitivity or some other anxiety factor or self-rightiousness.

    I am a man, yes. As you’ve probably guessed. And I know, I know, I’m “mansplaining” right now, right? Ah, “mansplaining,” how you’ve severely changed context over time to actually be used as a tool to be sexist towards men. I realize what “mansplaining” means. It’s when a condescending a-hole guy is talking down to a woman about a subject, especially in scenarios and in subjects where she has an adept academia on it. But honestly…VERY honestly, I’ve mostly only ever seen it used in an unintentionally ironic way by a-hole women. As in to say, from what I’ve ever seen, “mansplaining” is used to condescend men, talk down to them and tell them that their opinion doesn’t count because of their genitals. “Their perspective and their ability for logic and reason is lacking because penis, that’s why.” Right? That’s what’s being said in your article, for sure.

    Here are men and women–people–trying to give perspectives, and one half is shot down simply because of their Y-chromosome and then the women will more than likely be ignored or told they’re playing into or have been conditioned by the institutionalizations of patriarchy. It’s flawed thinking. Telling men to not have an opinion and simply submit to women’s greater understanding, especially those women, and men, that use conjecture via snap-judgments from emotional reactions as opposed to logic and reasoning, sounds fair as hell to me. That’s not sexist. They should just keep quiet. Men’s opinions are flawed by default of them being men. Nope, no sexism towards men their. Let alone any woman’s descent from your, and those like-minded, will be shot down because you can simply throw “product of the machinations of evil, domineering men” at them. And, according to the logic of this article and “meta-misogyny,” if a man opens his mouth and reveals a differing opinion from a woman that it must mean that he hates all women. Guess we should file that under “reasonable” and push on with this treatment towards men, so that everything will be even when it comes to gender. *claps* Bravo.

    Oh, am I coming across as condescending? I’m sorry.

    Scientists land a vessel on a comet going 80,000 goddamn miles per hour, on a surface that would instantly freeze most mechanical instruments, and people are like, “WOW…look at that shirt.” *facepalm*

    “When a wise man points at the moon, the imbecile examines the finger.” – Confucius mansplaining. Ignore it.

    Posted by Ry-Ry | November 18, 2014, 6:41 am
  21. “Instead the press, needing another angle other than a rocket landing on a comet, made the tweets into a story. Editors apparently believing that controversy involving partially naked women will get more clicks than a rocket landing on a comet (possibly, and very sadly, they might be right).”

    Can we all agree that this was by far the most problematic and disgusting part of all of this, much moreso than either the shirt or the women complaining about it OR the men complaining about the women complaining about it?

    Posted by Some Canadian Dude | November 18, 2014, 8:34 pm
  22. If it’s inappropriate for a man to comment on a woman’s attire, why not vice-versa? Let me guess, it’s because teh wimminz are speshul snowflakes and teh menz are privileged oppressors.

    Posted by ou812 | November 18, 2014, 8:55 pm
    • False equivalency fail. Taylor’s shirt was criticized for being inappropriate for work, due to its design. It is important to note how detached are the criticisms from Taylor’s: the criticisms would hold was he merely walking around holding the shirt on a hanger.

      On the other hand, the comments made about women’s attire which feminists complain against are decidedly not about the appropriateness of the attire. What we see are women wearing clearly appropriate things to work, and being criticized for things unrelated to their appropriateness. Importantly, what women are often criticized is not how the clothes look…but how it looks *on them*.

      Put it this way, you would have a point if women were showing up to corporate officers wearing boom-boom shorts and halters tops, and men were questioning the appropriateness of the attire to the office, to which feminists were responding in ire about how “men shouldn’t comment on a woman’s attire.” No, quite simply, what feminists are demanding is that men and women both be held to the same standards.

      Posted by godlessmath | November 20, 2014, 12:57 am
      • It’s for the workplace in question to decide whether something is “appropriate” or not. You do not own the place, you have no right to tell it how to run things. They don’t want to have a dress code – that’s their concern. “Workplace ethics” is a pathetic excuse right there on the level of Gamergate.

        Posted by Rebecca | November 22, 2014, 1:53 am
      • Which is utter bullshit because no sane man would care or be offended should a woman show up for work or hold a press conference dressed up in a shirt of barely dressed anime guys with guns. Feminists fail to live up to their own ideas of standards.

        Posted by Vasile | November 22, 2014, 9:20 am
      • @val sile: I guess I must know many insane men, since quite a few of the male people I know *would* be quite uncomfortable if a female (or male) co-worker showed up at the office “dressed up in a shirt of barely dressed anime guys with guns”.

        Posted by Theo Bromine | November 22, 2014, 10:52 am
      • I wouldn’t be surprised. The entire feminist political correctness agenda has really screwed up quite a few men. My condolences for your friends. It’s really quite a sad thing what’s happening.

        Posted by Vasile | November 22, 2014, 8:02 pm
      • “you have no right to tell it how to run things”

        *Telling* is very much a right I do have; what I have no right to do is to use force or the threat of use of force to get a business to act in the way I think it ought to act. I very much do have the right to form and voice an opinion as to whether a particular business has a dress code which I find agreeable. Your criticism is self defeating. If I don’t have that right, well then what gives you the right to decide for me what sort of opinions I can or cannot voice?

        Where did I advocate passing laws punishing dress codes with which I disagree? If a *private* business wants to make it *mandatory* for their employees to wear shirts covered with racial slurs, well that is their right, but I’m certainly well within my rights to call such a business racist, and even to demonstrate against it and boycott it.

        Posted by godlessmath | November 23, 2014, 2:12 am
      • You advocated the attacks on Dr.Taylor’s shirt. Forgetting that it’s a private broadcast from a private company that doesn’t have a dress code. And you have decided that it’s inappropriate, forgetting their input on the matter entirely. You pushed your own personal idea of what’s appropriate on them, and demanded they comply(not you personally, those conveying the attacks did anyway).

        You gonna police and censor every broadcast now?

        Posted by Rebecca | November 23, 2014, 5:20 am
      • And don’t give me that “inappropriate” crap anymore. If he showed up on the broadcast dressed as pink Darth Vader, that would be inappropriate too. But would any of you bait an eye of that? No. You’re prudes, plain and simple.

        Posted by Rebecca | November 23, 2014, 5:27 am
      • @Va Sile – no need to feel sorry for those men. Rather, sympathy is indicated for those men who have no idea how to relate to women outside a sexual context, and for those who would feel put upon by being forced to suppress expressions of their sexuality for 40 hours per week while in the workplace.

        Posted by Theo Bromine | November 23, 2014, 7:46 am
      • “You pushed your own personal idea of what’s appropriate on them, and demanded they comply(not you personally, those conveying the attacks did anyway).”

        The way those people “pushed” and “demanded” was by expressing their opinions, which is exactly what is supposed to happen in a free market of ideas.

        “You gonna police and censor every broadcast now?”

        Oh-my-gosh-this-is…I have yet to see anybody even hint at turning this entire affair into a legal matter, where dress codes would be set by law and enforced by the police. Yeah, it is up to a private business to decide for themselves what their dress code is, and it is just as well up to me to decide what I think of it.

        I know why you make this criticism. If I said Company X makes bad products, and instead they should be making product Y, you would not be lecturing me on how it is not my right to tell private business what to do. This because you have been conditioned by advertising to think that this narrow critiques are allowable…after all, even those sorts of criticisms keep you buying things. However, if I start to make criticisms of companies based on their ethics, well that may convince people to stop buying crap they don’t need, and we can’t have that…

        “f he showed up on the broadcast dressed as pink Darth Vader”

        I like how to defend your position, you have to come up with an outlandish hypothetical situation not likely to happen in a million years, while ignoring what did happen. That shirt just plain is not appropriate in such a work environment.

        Posted by godlessmath | November 23, 2014, 8:17 pm
      • “The way those people “pushed” and “demanded” was by expressing their opinions, which is exactly what is supposed to happen in a free market of ideas.”

        So they must have “expressed” him into a pitiful and shaken state. Can’t say I thought that was possible. I should learn how to do that sometime, sounds like a handy technique.

        “Oh-my-gosh-this-is…I have yet to see anybody even hint at turning this entire affair into a legal matter, where dress codes would be set by law and enforced by the police. Yeah, it is up to a private business to decide for themselves what their dress code is, and it is just as well up to me to decide what I think of it.”

        I’m not talking about “legal” matters. “To police” is a metaphor. THere are other ways something can be enforced. I’d call it bullying, but let’s be professional and call it “pressure”. You… “pressured” him into subjecting to your idea of a dress code, something that’s clearly not enforced by the company. So, is this going to be a thing now? You going to continue to “pressure” every matter like that? Because that totally sounds like freedom.

        “I know why you make this criticism. If I said Company X makes bad products, and instead they should be making product Y, you would not be lecturing me on how it is not my right to tell private business what to do. This because you have been conditioned by advertising to think that this narrow critiques are allowable…after all, even those sorts of criticisms keep you buying things. However, if I start to make criticisms of companies based on their ethics, well that may convince people to stop buying crap they don’t need, and we can’t have that…”

        Can you stop this insane stream of assumptions? I have no idea how did you make such a bizarre turn into slapping corporate stereotypes on me because I called out your hipocrisy. Your rant is devoid of substance, but I’ll tyr my best at responding anyway. No, I do not defend a company’s ethics just because I like their product. To use an example, Xbox 360 was good, but that doesn’t justify Spybox One. So stop strawmanning me into some kind of a corporate drone, it’s not going to work. I’m challenging your idea of “ethics”, because it’s rooted in hypocrisy and prudery. You attack others for what they wear and justify it with a flimsy hipocrisy that doesn’t justify it at all. And my next point proves that.

        “I like how to defend your position, you have to come up with an outlandish hypothetical situation not likely to happen in a million years, while ignoring what did happen. That shirt just plain is not appropriate in such a work environment.”

        And here’s my next point. I’d like to hear how that’s “outlandish”. The way you say it, it sounds like an escape. You can’t answer, so you throw generalizations at me. I can buy a Darth Vader costume on Ebay right now and paint it pink by myself. Or I can buy a pink one to begin with. Then, if I was Dr.Taylor, I could have just as easily worn it during the broadcast. What would happen then? I’ll tell you. Nothing.

        In order for the “inappropriate” defense to work, same criticisms must be applied to all instances of inappropriate, which aren’t always sexual. If Dr.Taylor showed up dressed as Superman/Batman/a tree, that would be just as inappropriate for a workplace with a dress code you try to enforce, but would ANY of you complain? We both know the answer is no. No matter how you try to weasel yourself out of this, the only reason you attacked the shirt is because of “sexual content”. That’s prudery, simple as that.

        Posted by Rebecca | November 24, 2014, 5:57 am
      • “Because that totally sounds like freedom.”

        Well it should sound totally like freedom, because that is exactly what it is: I see something I don’t like, I express my opinion.

        If you really do have a problem with that, then why don’t you go on the blogs of Men’s Rights Activists and tell them that they should not be pressuring people nor dictating the policies of businesses that they don’t own? Because the uproar from the MRA community about this issue has dwarfed that of feminists. MRAs have responded to this with greater vitriol, and with much more spittle about how this or that news agency should not have covered this story, or published certain editorials about it.

        “To use an example, Xbox 360 was good, but that doesn’t justify Spybox One.”

        So now you agree with me that you certainly should be able to express an opinion about the ethical practices of a company you don’t own. Thanks.

        “I’m challenging your idea of “ethics”,”

        No you were not, you were arguing that I should keep my opinion to myself concerning the ethical policies of a private business I don’t own. Now you are trying to say that I certainly can make a judgement, just that my judgement happen to be incorrect. Please pick an argument, because I don’t want to have to guess which is it that you believe.

        “What would happen then? I’ll tell you. Nothing.”

        Now who is making the assumptions. What would happen…the mental health authorities would be called, the second he stepped foot on the premises, that is what would happen.

        “If Dr.Taylor showed up dressed as Superman/Batman/a tree, that would be just as inappropriate for a workplace with a dress code you try to enforce, but would ANY of you complain?”

        I wonder why you pick this example, when there is obviously a better one. If Dr.Taylor had shown up with a shirt emblazoned with racial slurs, would anybody complain?

        “That’s prudery, simple as that.”

        No it isn’t, because for everything context matters. I am quite comfortable, as a man, being around and seeing naked men at the locker in gym, and the sauna. Heck, even walking down the street, I’ll laugh at a naked man, not turn in disgust. When I am eating at a restaurant…well then I get angry. That does not make me a prude.

        Dr. Taylor was not walking around in the street, or at a bar such that if someone saw him, they had the choice to look away and not interact with him. When I am at the office with him, particularly when he is my boss, however, well I don’t want to have to deal with him in that shirt. It is a science lab, not a comic book store. It is clearly not the place to have to put other people in the position as to whether that day they feel like being “prudes” (as you accuse) or not.

        Posted by godlessmath | November 24, 2014, 6:27 pm
  23. You are appealing to a double standard sense of prudery that is detached and fails to relate to a progressive man. I mean sure, there are men who would attack a woman wearing a shirt like that(and men who would attack any instance of sexualized men, most of Twilight’s hate, for all its faults, comes from this) but aren’t you fighting against those men? What’s the point of appealing to them and validating their misogynistic views? All they’re going to do is use them against you next time another rape victim will need defense. Equality shouldn’t mean being equally miserable.

    Now if Dr.Taylor did something to express clear sexism(like pointing at his shirt and saying “That’s all you gals good for!”), then it’s no question. But any “casual sexism” in his attire is up to interpretation and many women(even many feminists) don’t see it as such. A dress is not an insult. An insult is an insult.

    Of course when those feminists who don’t see it as sexist express their views, they get “manslapped”(oh the irony) by other feminists. “Well, that’s YOUR opinion and my opinion matters more than your opinion!” Many feminists also thought bullying and shaming of Dr.Taylor took place as the media said it did and disagreed that such a thing would have been justified(they did think it actually happened but said it shouldn’t have). They got “manslapped” too, by those who did think the bullying happened and was entirely justified. Evidence for this can be found under any somewhat popular youtube video on the matter.

    Sure, the absence of media-hyped bullying removes Dr.Taylor himself from the list of this event’s victims, but it’s small comfort given that the moral integrity of every feminist has been tested by this event. And egalitarian feminists have once again found themselves under attack for daring to have an independent woman’s right to their own opinion on what counts as “sexist and offensive” to them.

    How can we have something that is supposed to empower women while at the same time shutting them down when they don’t agree with it on every single little bit? How can we have feminism turn on itself over such a trivial thing, that only forcefully and subjectively even counts as casual sexism? How is it that the movement is so easily undermined?

    It’s not the feminists who allegedly attacked Dr.Taylor that sealed the deal on the movement for me. It’s feminists who heard of those alledged and celebrated them as if they were true. Thanks to them, feminism is dead.

    Posted by Rebecca | November 21, 2014, 5:34 am
    • I am very sorry for double posting and replying to my own comment, but this also bears saying.

      Please, please, for the love of whatever you love, somebody stop abusing, misusing, and overusing the word “objectification”. Countless times and times again it’s been slapped on anything even remotely sexy it lost whatever last shreds and remnants of meaning it had.

      It’s supposed to convey this message: “Sex is all you’re good for”, which is indeed horribly offensive. But here’s the thing – overwhelming majority of sexy stuff doesn’t state that message.

      The stereotype that if you find a woman sexy then that’s all she’s good for is immensively sexist in itself. It can be one without the other perfectly fine, when, just when will we look past the boobs and see that?

      I’m so tired of hearing that bloody word employed as an excuse to be a prude in the age of fading sex moralism to the point I just skip and stop reading anything that uses the word unironically. And I acknowledge this will inevitably get me desensitized to real instances of objectification. But I’m too tired to care.

      Posted by Rebecca | November 21, 2014, 5:45 am
  24. Shirtgate is another example of female social dominace, social bullying of men.

    Men are so sub human, that they are not even allowed to do anything without getting attacked.

    If a woman wore a shirt of semi naked men, no one would object.

    The whole concept of objectification is male hating nonsense, men have the right to wear what they want, because women seem to feel entitled to walk around naked during slut walks.

    Posted by tamerlame | December 10, 2014, 5:53 am
  25. Also the concept of mansplaining is gaslighting men, denying them right to enter the discourse and put their own view across.

    Posted by tamerlame | December 10, 2014, 5:54 am
  26. I missed all this stuff when it came out (I was seriously ill at the time), but now that I’ve seen this, I’m absolutely astounded by this. I do not understand how anyone could think that this shirt would be appropriate for almost any venue. Possibly ok for a tacky shirt party. Not even ok for down the pub really. If I saw some bloke in a shirt like that, I probably would not be thinking kind things about him. If I saw someone dressed like that at my workplace, I would probably say something. I hope I would. If I didn’t feel empowered enough to do so, I would set up a hotmail account and complain. It’s just so not ok.

    I get that scientists are not stockbrokers and these days they dress pretty casually. That’s cool by me. I did a STEM subject at university but am part of the leak from the leaky pipeline. I experienced some seriously shady stuff from professors in seminars and did not feel comfortable complaining. I’m sure it didn’t make my one female professor happy. The guy who did it was a continual offender in this area and these days he’d be called on it, and rightly so.

    I have done lots of work on the intersection between tech and policy in the UK. I’ve seen and worked with a lot of tech guys (and some gals) who wear things that I would never wear to meet with my clients, or ever really outside the house, but they were fine. It was all cool. I get Geek chic. I have never, ever seen anything that remotely looked like that shirt on any of those people. So please people don’t think that this shit is ok in the UK in tech, because it ain’t. Pretty sure it’s not ok in Holland either.

    As a UK taxpayer, I’m none too happy that this is how programmes that are funded by my taxes are represented.

    If you think that I’m a prude because I feel this way, you are completely missing the point. Prudish, I am not. I have done and seen and worn highly sexualised things that would curdle my mother’s milk, but not at work. And yes, if I wore a dress with images of nekkid men all over it, or maybe just wearing cock cages and wielding feather dusters it would have an impact on my professional standing. As well it should.

    Also for those who criticise the author of this post by saying it’s not bondage they’re in….you have a teeny, tiny point. I have more than a passing acquaintance with pornography, but perhaps the author doesn’t. Maybe it’s not TECHNICALLY bondage on that shirt, but it sure as heck is fetish wear that they’re barely wearing. Some people might even go so far as to call it bondage gear and they wouldn’t be too far wrong. Fetish wear is not appropriate for work, unless you work in the sex industry. I don’t care if you cured cancer and world hunger and landed a probe on a comet on the same day, if you come to press conference dressed like that, it ain’t right.

    Posted by rugbyyogi | April 20, 2015, 1:54 pm

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