On Shirts and Polls

All of the fuss over a scientists shirt worn at a public event has caused an interesting backlash.

Twitter went berserk; Even today there are hundreds of tweets in my timeline mocking the absurdity of the so-called “feminists” that claimed offense at a shirt with skimpily clad cartoon female characters depicted.

It wasn’t just Twitter either. There have been a few op-ed’s written deriding the over-the-top reaction. It’s too bad that a silly shirt has received more attention than the actual accomplishment itself.

It was certainly a poor choice of wardrobe for such a public event. Most people would believe that anyone would have taken an extra few minutes on their apparel, knowing that they were going to be on live television during the historic landing of a vehicle on a comet.

But did that choice deserve the level of outrage that occurred? Of course not. No one was really oppressed and I doubt there were any young women considering careers in STEM that saw this scientist in that shirt, and changed their minds, deciding instead to teach elementary school.

Then there was the poll by Time Magazine on which word should be “banned” in 2015. The word “feminist” was on the list. Cue the professional victims. After a week, there was actually an apology from the editor for including that word on the list. The reason for the apology? The word “feminist” was winning.

Both of these incidents occurred during the same timeframe. The reactions of the outraged received the response deserved; Ridicule. Talk to any “professional feminist” (I have) and they are claiming victory. Victory over the pervasive sexism and misogyny in our culture. Nonsense.

What has really happened with both episodes is to confirm for those that already believed that this “new feminism” is nothing more than a toxic movement. For those that had been on the sidelines, those that had never considered what new feminism represented, their eyes have been opened to a group of women that are constantly crying oppression by the “patriarchy”.

Are there “winners” and “losers” easily identified in either of these incidents? Clearly, with the public, feminism has a black eye. Time Magazine is now a joke for late night television.

The real loss here though is the dignity of a scientist. A man that lead a team of scientists, engineers and technicians, accomplishing a feat no less remarkable than landing humans on the moon.

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