Drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage


Here’s one collection of all the clichés about The Shirt, written by Glenn Reynolds aka Instapundit. It could have been written by Christina Hoff Sommers or Richard Dawkins or Brendan O’Neill or any other hack Limbaugh-lite opinion-giver.

So how are things going for feminism? Well, last week they took one of the great achievements of human history — landing a probe from Earth on a comet hundreds of millions of miles away — and made it all about the clothes.

No we didn’t. Not “all about.” That’s just typical hack cliché hyperbole.

Yes, that’s right. After years of effort, the European Space Agency’s lander Philaelanded on a comet 300 million miles away. At first, people were excited. Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women. And suddenly, the triumph of the comet landing was drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage about . . . what people were wearing. It was one small shirt for a man, one giant leap backward for womankind.

Again – no. The triumph of the comet landing was not drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage. That didn’t happen. That’s not what did happen. It wasn’t like that.

The Atlantic’s Rose Eveleth tweeted, “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.” Astrophysicist Katie Mack commented: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.” And from there, the online feminist lynch mob took off until Taylor was forced to deliver a tearful apology on-camera.

Again – no. There was no lynch mob. I don’t know, and I don’t think Glenn Reynolds does, that Matt Taylor was forced to apologize. I don’t know what happened that led him to apologize. For all I know he learned of the reaction and felt bad about the shirt entirely of his own volition. In fact I think his emotion and body language indicate the opposite of having been forced. I think if he’d really been ordered to apologize and had seen no merit in the objections to his wearing the shirt, his emotion and body language would have been very different – spiky, angry, defiant. I think even if he had simply thought the objections were stupid, while still agreeing that for the sake of the mission he should apologize – he wouldn’t have been upset in that way.

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting-couches?

Check, check, check – more clichés ticked. Feminists are “so delicate”; they “can’t handle” the tiniest little thing; the shirt was just “pictures of comic book women”; they need “fainting couches.” One honking banality after another.

Meanwhile, Time Magazine last week ran an online poll of words that should be retired from the English language. The winner — by an enormous margin — was “feminist.” That’s fitting. With this sort of behavior in mind, it’s no surprise that so many people feel that feminism has passed its sell-by date.

And we should go back to treating women as consumer objects for men without anybody making a stink about it. The dream of Utopia.

Comments

  1. John Morales says

    The appeal to the online poll result amuses me most.

    (What’s more plausible, naivete or disingenuousness?)

  2. says

    Glenn Reynolds knows Taylor was “forced” to apologize because Glenn Reynolds would never have voluntarily apologized for a trifle like making his workplace unwelcoming to women. Also, Glenn Reynolds enjoys bringing negative attention on his employers. He operates out of the typical conservative, juvenile motivation of spite, wherein anything that annoys, offends, or hurts people belonging to groups he dislikes is a good thing that must be defended. Glenn Reynolds is an ass.

  3. themadtapper says

    Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women.

    This line is worthy of Sam “my editor is a woman” Harris. Since a woman made the shirt, obviously it couldn’t possibly be sexist. All the feminists understandably complaining totally freaking out about it are out of line. After all, if even one woman thinks it’s not sexist, then any woman who does think it’s sexist is wrong. Because if one thing is certain, there is absolutely no cultural factors that could lead a woman to embrace, emulate, or otherwise approve of negative stereotypes, roles, or expectations for women. Nope, no cultural factors at all. That’s just crazy talk.

  4. komarov says

    Of course noone ever has mixed feelings about anything. Like some parts, dislike others.

    In defiance of this obvious truth I have been treating the landing as a delicious cake: I’ve been looking forward to it for years and when it finally arrived it was even more delicious than I could have hoped. It’s just that it was a little bit sour and made me feel somewhat queasy afterwards. Fortunately that’s all better now. Event unspoiled, cake is sweet once more. I shall hope for seconds and I don’t expect disappointment.

    That Reynolds chap sound charming, just like the rest. I suppose their collective dismay should be the icing on the cake but I am quite sated, thank you. It’s just the same old song with a new tune anyway. They’d be singing it either way and they probably always will.
    But the regular detractors must be relieved they got fresh material so quickly. After all the shirt issue is only a few days old. And now they have a completely new angle* to attack the devious Social Justice Warriors, who march across the globe relentlessy, consuming all that is good and holy – whoops. Not only were they bullying a scientist into submission, no, they succeeded and unless something is done soon, the western front will collapse and Britain falls to the axis of evil. It could also be much worse, but I’ll leave such overstatements to the experts from Allied High Command.

    *For a given value of “new”.

    P.S.: John Morales, surely noone can be that naive… unless it’s me a this very moment.

  5. says

    themadtapper @ 3 –

    After all, if even one woman thinks it’s not sexist, then any woman who does think it’s sexist is wrong.

    Funnily enough, just yesterday I made a note of this tweet by Janet Stemwedel (doc freeride):

    Unless every man thinks X is sexist, X isn’t sexist.
    If one woman thinks X isn’t sexist, X isn’t sexist.
    #BroLogic

  6. Jackie says

    Nothing done by a woman could ever be sexist?

    That’s reassuring. I thought Ann Coulter was real.

  7. Dan says

    It’s not that women can’t handle sexist slights, it’s that they shouldn’t have to. Even if it’s just a little sexist slight and not huge evil oppression.

  8. says

    pun·dit

    noun: pundit
    an expert in a particular subject or field who is frequently called on to give opinions about it to the public.
    synonyms: expert, authority, specialist, doyen(ne), master, guru, sage, savant, maven

    Ah. Hmm.

    No.

  9. Laerrus says

    How about feminists get upset over the gang rapists of Rehtaeh Parsons being let off the hook, rather than this guy’s shirt?

  10. Iain Walker says

    Laerrus (#12)

    How about feminists get upset over the gang rapists of Rehtaeh Parsons being let off the hook, rather than this guy’s shirt?

    Dear Muslima …

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