Category Archives: Casual Sexism

Don’t be that dude: Handy tips for the male academic

This post by Tenure, She Wrote is thought provoking for male and female academics alike. I’m re-blogging it here for continued thought and discussion. I’d love to know what you think!

Tenure, She Wrote

There is a plethora of research on the causes of hostile environments for women in academia, and on why we have an underrepresentation of women in many fields. There are support groups for women, societies entirely devoted to women academics (broadly and field-specific), workshops for women in academia, and countless articles and blogs devoted to the topic.

These initiatives are important, but here’s the thing: gender equality has to be a collaborative venture. If men make up the majority of many departments, editorial boards, search committees, labs and conferences, then men have to be allies in the broader cause of equality, simply because they have more boots on the ground. And, as much as I wish it weren’t so, guys often tend to listen more readily to their fellow guys when it comes to issues like sexism. I’ve also found that there are a lot of guys out there…

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That Shirt.

Photo from the ESA news stream, via @RoseVeleth's Twitter feed

Photo from the ESA news stream, via @RoseVeleth’s Twitter feed

Last week, the European Space Agency landed a space probe on a comet. The Rosetta mission’s project scientist, Matt Taylor, went on international television to talk about the success. He wore a shirt covered in drawings of scantily clad women with big boobs and big guns. This was inappropriate, unprofessional, and sexist.

Infactorium wrote an excellent summary of why this shirt was wrong, wrong, wrong:

Infactorium

A senior scientist on the Rosetta/Philae mission (a stunning success, brilliant and audacious, thrilling!) decided to show up for work on perhaps the most important day of the mission, the most important day in spaceflight since Curiosity landed on Mars, wearing a crappy bowling shirt covered in cartoonish images of half-naked women. He further compounded this stupid decision by referring to the Rosetta mission with “She’s sexy, but I never said she was easy.”

I’m not going to condemn a man for owning an awful shirt with half-naked women on it. That’s his own business, and I couldn’t care less. But it shows a staggering lack of judgement, and callousness to what others might infer, to wear this shirt to work. At all. When grownups go to work, they should dress appropriately for work. And unless you work at a bowling alley/strip club, that shirt is almost certainly not appropriate. It…

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