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The Rosetta mission and "that shirt"

(171 Posts)
kim147 Sun 16-Nov-14 17:32:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

EdithWeston Sun 16-Nov-14 17:38:18

I'd like to give space to other comments made after the gaffe:

Particle physicist Clare Nellist. “Impressed with Taylor from @ESA_Rosetta for admitting shirt choice was a mistake. Takes strength of character.”

Feminist science journalist Elizabeth Gibney said: “Said he made a big mistake and is v sorry. Then moved on to Philae science. Good stuff.”

sausageeggbacon11 Sun 16-Nov-14 17:48:54

So a shirt made for him by a friend who is female gets world wide coverage as a couple of friends in the States have heard of this. Career ending or career starting for his friend?

Birdo83 Sun 16-Nov-14 17:55:44

I think the reaction to the shirt is appalling and will confirm the views of many that the current wave of feminism is toxic and ridiculous. One of the biggest science achievements of our generation and people are bitching about a shirt that wasn't even that bad. Sad and utterly pathetic. Ruining what should be the best day of the guy's life and bullying him to tears.

The people complaining would be apoplectic with rage were a woman scientist judged by her clothing. Probably the same ones who go on slut walks to fight for women's rights to dress exactly like the cartoons on the mans shirt.

A bad day for feminism and does the cause NO good at all. Stupidity like this is turning a lot of people of both genders away from the cause.

TheCowThatLaughs Sun 16-Nov-14 18:08:47

If it had been a woman scientist wearing a blouse with pictures of pvc clad men on it, that would have been equally badly-received I think. In that case, people would be complaining about feminists moaning about being objectified then objectifying men themselves.
Also there is a difference between a real-life woman choosing to dress in pvc, and a man wearing pictures of a woman wearing pvc.

kim147 Sun 16-Nov-14 18:09:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

elportodelgato Sun 16-Nov-14 18:14:36

Matt Taylor has since given a heartfelt apology for his choice of shirt, I think he realised he'd been a bit of a dick not to recognise how offensive it would be.

AuntieStella Sun 16-Nov-14 18:17:21

"I'm surprised no one thought how it might appear on TV and on social media."

I suppose it is possible that they might find time to have briefings on how to be media-savvy. But it's also quite likely they were urgently needed to make the most of the time that Philae was in comms and really weren't paying attention to clothes (being a scientist, not a presenter).

He's acknowledged the mistake, apologised and got on with the mission.

JohnFarleysRuskin Sun 16-Nov-14 18:17:27

I think he's a wonderful man with poor dress sense(!) and I liked his apology- I wish it would end there but it won't- it's all about those crazy feminists now. sad

chibi Sun 16-Nov-14 18:24:34

i am skeptical that not wearing a shirt covered in half naked women to work = media savvy hmm

it is interesting that no one said anything to him before, they clearly have created a work environment in which sexualised images of women are no big deal.

these things are called microagressions, and you don't drop out after one, but after a near constant barrage that makes it clear that you can be a woman, or on the team, but you aren't going to be both.

one incident like this is no big deal, a career full of them is depressing.

did he cry? good. it will probably be the only time he ever cries because of shit that happened at work.

blueemerald Sun 16-Nov-14 18:28:59

Mistake or not this made me laugh

juliascurr Sun 16-Nov-14 18:31:24

shut up, women
we're doing science here
get your tits out and put the kettle on

YonicScrewdriver Sun 16-Nov-14 19:54:53

I am glad he has apologised.

If he'd worn a t shirt on TV which said something racist or homophobic, he'd've been pulled up on it. If he'd said "we worked like n____rs to get the probe landed", he'd've been pulled up on it. Wouldn't make it bad science, or anything but a fantastic achievement.

YonicScrewdriver Sun 16-Nov-14 19:56:37

"The people complaining would be apoplectic with rage were a woman scientist judged by her clothing. "

If a female scientist wore a t shrug with a racist or homophobic slogan, yes, she would be judged. And rightly so.

EBearhug Sun 16-Nov-14 20:13:07

It wasn't just the shirt. It was also how he was talking about Philae - "She is sexy, but I never said she is easy."
www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/11/13/rosetta-mission-scientist-cracks-sex-jokes-while-wearing-a-shirt-covered-in-scantily-clad-women/

Given that he was involved with a successful major project with international media attention, I am surprised no one was there to advise him, "This needs to be all about Philae, and we don't want anything to distract from the message, so a more understated shirt might be more appropriate before you go on air."
If someone had said that, all this could have been avoided. As it is, half the coverage has been about his shirt, and it does illustrate something about attitudes towards women in STEM careers - the microaggressions mentioned above. I am willing to bet that any female scientist would know that she'd be judged on whatever she wore in the same situation, because she'll have been judged on whatever she has worn through much of her career, so Matt Taylor is already in a privileged position not to have to have that sort of awareness, though it's rather backfired on him in this case.

There have been enough studies showing how the culture of a workplace can make it unwelcoming to women, and this was a great opportunity to show science off as an interesting, exciting career, and encourage young people making decisions about which subjects to take at school and university - and thus which careers will be open to them - to think about this as a career path. We need women as well as men in STEM careers, and wearing a shirt like that in public shows a lot about how women are considered.

Having said that, I absolutely don't think that Matt Taylor was intending to offend anyone - it was just done unthinkingly, trying to compliment the person who made and gave him the shirt, without considering the possible further consequences. I'm glad he apologised, and I hope in future he'll be more aware about what effect his behaviour and words will have on others around him, and those they want to encourage into these careers for the future, especially women.

Birdo83 Sun 16-Nov-14 20:36:23

But Yonic, there WASN'T a sexist slogan on his t-shirt. It was simply cartoons of fantasy art/comic women! It's the equivalent of a woman wearing a He-Man tshirt.

chibi Sun 16-Nov-14 20:42:00

calm down, it was only a shirt covered in half naked fantasy women!

relax, it was just personifying and sexualising the lander (it being sexy, but not easy)!

several thousand microagressions later...

take it easy, of course the team are mostly men! we have no idea why women aren't staying (*note not starting, but staying*) in careers in science

<and scene>

ballsballsballs Sun 16-Nov-14 20:42:26

Women in sexualised poses and outfits = sexist.

I'm glad he apologised, he sounds like a good guy whose didn't really give a thought to his sexist shirt that day.

YonicScrewdriver Sun 16-Nov-14 21:17:41

Bird, as he has apologised, why are you defending the shirt?

Birdo83 Sun 16-Nov-14 21:33:19

He was forced to apologise by a baying mob. It was insincere since he obviously liked the shirt as he chose to wear it.

YonicScrewdriver Sun 16-Nov-14 21:35:26

It's not about whether he liked the shirt. It's about whether the shirt was appropriate to wear on TV as a public face of the mission.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Sun 16-Nov-14 22:14:33

It's not an appropriate shirt to wear at work, full stop. Never mind when making a media appearance.

BuckskinnedAstronaut Sun 16-Nov-14 22:29:00

It was inappropriate, as were his comments.

And yet... his shirt is getting more attention than the actual female scientists working on the project -- say Kathrin Altwegg or Monica Grady (granted Grady got a bit of attention before Shirtgate broke, albeit largely by virtue of jumping around excitedly).

While I don't want to minimise the importance of everyday sexism, I'm not sure that prioritising a man's clothing over the real achievements of women is a good or feminist thing.

kim147 Sun 16-Nov-14 22:33:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kim147 Sun 16-Nov-14 22:36:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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