The Hunt for Distractingly Sexy STEM Geeks
Another male scientist from the old guard has made a social faux pas, causing the feminist world to spin themselves atwitter. Sir Tim Hunt, septuagenarian Nobel laureate and self-admitted chauvinist, created quite the kerfluffle with his remarks from this past week.
To be fair, he admits that this was a boneheaded move, considering he was speaking at a conference for journalists. He wasn't thinking clearly, or perhaps, clearly wasn't thinking. The poor dear succumbed to verbal diarrhea and forgot the golden rule of the social age: don’t say it if you don't want it published. A single crass joke can escalate into a war of words, and sayonara reputation.
Backhandedly, Sir Tim has done women in STEM a huge favor. By "adding fuel to the global cultural debate", as The New York Times described it, a bright light has been shone upon what women actually do in STEM careers. Thanks to the crew at Vagenda, the hashtag #distractinglysexy was born. Women from all fields of STEM posted pictures of themselves in their daily jobs. Multiple news outlets and aggregators picked up the trail, resulting in massive positive exposure.
Thanks to Sir Tim's unfortunate remarks, there is now a plethora of photos depicting women in STEM to use in outreach and education. Many of the photos have cheeky captions, showing off our wickedly sharp wits. We may be wearing jeans, dirt, grease, poop, scrubs, lab coats, coveralls, bunnysuits, Level A / B PPE (looking at you, @gkygirlengineer - you rock), but we're out there, doing our geekiest to be the best scientists, techs, engineers, and mathematicians, regardless of chromosomal makeup. We're not distractingly sexy, but we still look damn good doing the jobs we love.
Now let's tell the world how awesome being a #distractinglysexy geek can be!
Want to talk more about being a woman in Science or Engineering? Catch the Society of Women Engineers @SWETalk TweetChats! Every other Friday, at 1300 EDT / 1200 CDT (shameless, unsponsored plug for something I enjoy).