November 19, 2014

HYPOCRISY, SMOKE, AND MIRRORS: Feminists And Shirtstorm.

I had missed the one where Rose Eveleth wrote, “I assume the lander is just saving its harpoons so it can hunt down that bearded idiot in the gross shirt.” She really is a horrible person, and a horribly childish one as well. I mean, really, you’re covering a huge scientific event for the freaking Atlantic and you’re tweeting that a scientist is an “asshole” and suggesting he should be hunted down? Because his shirt has “ruined” the event for you? What is this, middle school?

Related: “The overreaction to Taylor’s shirt doesn’t just implicitly send the message that women are helplessly vulnerable to the smallest of unintended slights; it makes feminists look witlessly censorious and absurdly humorless.” Look?

Also: Julie Bindel in The Guardian: Feminism is in danger of becoming toxic.

UPDATE: Oh, and I’d somehow missed this by Cathy Young in Time: How to Turn a Cool Moment Into a #ShirtStorm. “Sadly, the brouhaha over Taylor’s shirt overshadowed not only his accomplishments but also those of his female teammates, including one of the project’s lead researchers, Kathrin Allweg of the University of Bern in Switzerland. More spotlight on Allweg, Grady, Alexander and the other remarkable women of the Rosetta project would have been a true inspiration to girls thinking of a career in science. The message of ShirtStorm, meanwhile, is that aspiring female scientists can be undone by some sexy pictures on a shirt—and that women’s presence in science requires men to walk on eggshells, curb any goofy humor that may offend the sensitive and be cowed into repentance for any misstep. Thanks for ruining a cool feminist moment for us, bullies.”

They are bullies. And, like Mean Girls everywhere, they are lacking in any real talent besides that of making other people unhappy and stirring up drama. I do not respect them, and there is no reason why anyone else should. Most cuttingly, I see people on Twitter calling them #WestboroFeminists. That seems about right. They’re willing to invade any event and make it all about themselves.

Also: My mistake. The “harpoon” item was a retweet by Rose Eleveth, not an original tweet, which explains why it was new to me. Retweets aren’t necessarily endorsements, though I suppose all the hearts in front of it from Rose indicate that in this case it was. Also, pretty darn middle school.

MORE: Uberfeminist: “The problem, of course, is not so much the shirt itself – it is that a man, Matt Taylor, chose to wear it.” “We have irrational fears and behaviors, such as crossing the street to avoid the misogynist terrorist in the Halo shirt. We have extreme leaps to condescending conclusions such as the idea that pinups rendered in cotton on the chest of a previously unknown scientist is forcing women into majoring in art history – staying there until the dark day when a professor will choose to get a Matisse tattoo.”

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