Philae faux pas [Mini-Index]
This is the mini-index to a series of posts from November 2014, regarding the landing of the probe Philae on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, and a subsequent fashion faux pas.
- November 14 Bucket o' Links: "Science, B****es!" Edition: A perfectly normal linkwrap gets sidetracked by a discussion about how the discussion about how Dr. Matt Taylor's fashion choices did or did not sidetrack a historic event.
- A Comet Landing, and a Misplaced Media Firestorm: The Philae-related parts of the previous post, written up separately, and -- in a move that I hope becomes regular on this blog -- a call for so-inclined readers to submit guest posts in response.
Response 1: A Shirt, Counterpoint (Dr. Christine Piatko of JHU), excerpt:
To me, I think it's good it didn't go unnoticed by the media. Things don't change unless people talk about them. I didn't watch this play out on "secondary media", heard about it third or fourth hand - from a female colleague talking about the #shirtstorm Twitter controversy. I think it's good this is getting a bit of conversation out in the open about this -- just like this blog (and counterpoint) here.
Response 2: On Comets and Commentators (An anonymous undergrad majoring in physics), excerpt:
[M]ore powerful and more worrying, I think, is this message we send when we reiterate that women doing science/math is still some giant exception that needs to be singled out for support... When we keep talking about having to send this message, it feels more and more like a lie that we have to sell.
The call for guest posts is now closed. (But it was fun, and I'd like to do it again!) If you'd like more diverse opinions from around the web, I recommend PopeHat | Shirts and Shirtiness and WaPo-Ed | What conservatives get right about stopping racism and sexism.
After all's said and done, my opinions on the matter are no longer exactly those I expressed in my initial comments, but I'm not going to lengthen the issue by writing them up again. There's a reason I called for guest submissions, and that's precisely to avoid mine being the last word on the matter -- I'll give that one over to a quote from a private correspondence with a woman in STEM I admire a great deal:
I think Taylor was merely oblivious and an idiot -- I don't think there was any malice there at all -- but I think we have a long way to go in helping the good idiots not do damaging things. That's the good fight.