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Monday, November 17, 2014

1 small shirt for a man, 1 giant leap backward for women

1 small shirt for a man, 1 giant leap backward for women: Column

Better not to land a spaceship on a comet than let men wear sexist clothing.

So how are things going for feminism? Well, last week, some feminists 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.

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.

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.

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?

Not everyone was so censorious. As one female space professional wrote: "Don't these women and their male cohorts understand that *they* are doing the damage to what/whom they claim to defend!?"

No, they don't. Or, if they do, their reservations are overcome by the desire to feel important and powerful at others' expense. Thus, what should have been the greatest day in a man's life — accomplishing something never before done in the history of humanity — was instead derailed by people with their own axes to grind. As Chloe Price observed: "Imagine the ... storm if the scientist had been a woman and everyone focused solely on her clothes and not her achievements."

Yes, feminists have been telling us for years that women can wear whatever they want, and for men to comment in any way is sexism. But that's obviously a double standard, since they evidently feel no compunction whatsoever in criticizing what men wear. News flash: Geeks don't dress like Don Draper.

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.

According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, only 23% of American women and only 20% of Americans overall identify as feminists, even though most are in favor of gender equality. Feminists, who like to say that feminism isgender equality, are unhappy with this, but I think the poll captures a truth. Whatever feminists say, their true priorities are revealed in what they do, and what they do is, mostly, man-bashing and special pleading.

When you act like what pioneer feminist Betty Friedan once called "female chauvinist boors," you shouldn't be surprised to lose popularity.

"Mean girls" online mobbing may be fun for some, but it's not likely to appeal for long. If self-proclaimed feminists have nothing more to offer than that sort of bullying, then their obsolescence is well deserved.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds, a University of Tennessee law professor, is the author of The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself.

Brilliant Anti-Feminist Spoof Claims Space Scientist's Shirt Is 'Sexist'

""Feminist bloggers claimed that his shirt would make women feel unwelcome in [science, technology, engineering and maths]. What nonsense. No woman with a serious interest in astronomy would be deterred because she saw a tattooed guy in a risqué shirt."

"Feminism used to be about freedom and happiness. Lately it has entered an Orwellian Junior Anti-Sex League phase. Even the most mild sexual joke, song, or sexy lady T-shirt arouses the Twitter outrage warriors.

Women are more than welcome in science and technology, but I doubt that most scientists—male or female—welcome the arrival of these chronically-offended, humourless gender warriors"...

By contrast to those "This Is What A Feminist Looks Like" t-shirts, which are sold for £45 but made by 62p-a-day female sweatshop workers sleeping 16 to a room, Taylor's shirt was a lovingly-made one-off from a friend—a woman called Elly Prizeman...

No one disagrees with the equality of the sexes in principle. But some feminists want special privileges for girls. They say that depictions of women's bodies should be treated differently, because male and female bodies carry different associations. But anyone who wants to see double standards in action only needs to look at what feminists really get up to and imagine men getting away with the same thing. Can you imagine, for example, a man being let off the hook for joking about domestic violence?...

Feminists picks on easy targets these days because they've lost the battle for public sympathy and because they can't win arguments in the public square. Instead, they go for low-hanging fruit: minuscule perceived infractions by people who would normally be ideological allies. (Just a hunch, but I'm guessing Taylor and Prizeman don't vote Tory.)

The circus is fuelled by far-Left bloggers such as The Verge's Chris Plante, formerly a cofounder of games news site Polygon. Both sites have been implicated in a collusion scandal recently. Plante was responsible for the post about Taylor's shirt that kick-started the absurd spectacle that followed. His post was titled: "I don't care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizing." This, from a tech writer.

I started this column by poking fun at the people responsible for bullying Taylor into an apology, but in fact there's nothing amusing about the cruelty and smugness of social justice warriors who could yesterday be seen on Twitter crowing about their victory and exchanging smarmy congratulations for making a scientific hero cry on television.

Described by his sister as a "typical absent-minded scientist" who struggles to park his own car, Matt Taylor is the sort of quirky genius normally lauded by the Left. But they've become so obsessive and self-destructive that they've turned to internecine bullying raids to get their pound of flesh. Can't we please cast these malcontents, agitators and sociopaths back out into the wilderness where they belong?"

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Boris Johnson: Critics who attacked comet scientist over shirt should hang their own heads and apologise

"The Mayor of London likened Dr Taylor’s accusers to “Islamist maniacs” and the attacks on him to “a scene from Mao’s cultural revolution”.

Mr Johnson said: “What are we all, a bunch of Islamist maniacs who think any representation of the human form is an offence against God?

“This is the 21st century, for goodness’ sake”...

He lamented the attacks on Dr Taylor, while suggesting they were hypocritical because the likes of Kim Kardashian are held to be “noble and pure” by some web users.

He added: “No wonder our politics sometimes feels so sterilised and homogenised.

“There must be room in our world for eccentricity, even if it offends the prudes, and room for the vague other-worldliness that often goes with genius.

“Dr Taylor deserves the applause of our country, and those who bash him should hang their own heads and apologise.”"
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