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Author Topic: Matt Taylor's shirt  (Read 6151 times)

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Offline BeorningTopic starter

Matt Taylor's shirt
« on: November 19, 2014, 01:40:57 PM »
So... as the thread for the discussion of Matt Taylor's shirt is needed, I decided to come forward and create it.  :-)

To kick things off, I'd like to get something clarified: why exactly is Matt Taylor's shirt "sexist as hell", as one of the posters in my news thread said?

It's not that I do find this shirt attractive, because I don't. But... men do like images of sexy women. What's wrong with that?

Also, I would like to comment on something another poster said in the general feminism thread: that Matt Taylor is "passively a jerk". I want to say that I find this kind of assessment as way out of line. I mean, people: you don't know the guy at all. You really shouldn't judge him by the one shirt he chose to wear! For all we know, he might be a guy who treats his partner like a queen and is superfriendly and non-sexist toward his female co-workers... It's just a shirt! You shouldn't be making sweeping statement about him based on just one fact...
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 02:31:56 PM by Beorning »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2014, 02:30:36 PM »
But... men do like images of sexy women.

We do? Perhaps it would be more accurate to say many men like images of sexy women.

Personally I don't think the shirt is sexist as hell. I think it has some problematic aspects in how it displays women (I will go into further length later but I don't have time this morning to write up the reasons before I have to leave). I also think he probably should have chosen a different shirt for his televised appearance as a representative of the ESA. However I do think that in some cases the response has been excessive and overly personal towards Matt Taylor.

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2014, 02:33:54 PM »
We do? Perhaps it would be more accurate to say many men like images of sexy women.

Okay, you're right. I was overly general here. Sorry... What I meant was, of course, that heterosexual men like images of sexy women.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2014, 02:48:09 PM »
Okay, you're right. I was overly general here. Sorry... What I meant was, of course, that heterosexual men like images of sexy women.

No problems, just clearing that up.

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2014, 03:08:08 PM »
What gives them the right to tell women who appreciate the female form that it is inappropriate?  I would think that excluding everyone but men from that equation is sexist as well.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2014, 03:19:22 PM »
It's not that I do find this shirt attractive, because I don't. But... men do like images of sexy women. What's wrong with that?


OK.  Imagine I went to work tomorrow in my underwear.  Men like looking at sexy women (lets take as read that I'm sexy), whats wrong with that?  I can choose what I wear, what's wrong with that?  Etc. 

One of the things wrong with it is the inferences one could draw about my workplace.  You'd see me in my knickers and bra alongside my male colleagues in jeans and t-shirts.  Questions would be asked - do I really want to dress like that or do I feel I have to to keep my job?  What about other women coming in to my workplace, would they have to/be expected to dress like that?  Etc.  The fact that my dressing like that was not only tolerated but we saw nothing wrong with putting it on our publicity materials would raise some questions about the atmosphere of the place, in short.

Now add on to that the fact that women are grossly underrepresented in this line of work.  We have a fairly blatant proof that sexualised imagery is accepted, we have the fact that women are, for whatever reason, not working there and finally we have numerous women going back several generations saying that these two things are related and the culture that allows the former is what causes the latter.

He fucked up.  He apologised.  If it wasn't for people jumping to his defence, I'm not sure anyone would still be talking about it in specific, him-related,  terms.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2014, 04:13:19 PM »
Why would a woman feel she needs to dress like the cartoon image of a woman on his shirt to keep her job?  All she needs to do is do her job well, and I bet a scientist like Matt Taylor cares more about someone's output than what they look, talk or act like.

If a female boss of mine wore a shirt with a sexy shirtless man in underwear, it wouldn't even cross my mind that I need to act like that to keep my job.  I think strong women (or true feminists) feel the same.  This instance, like so many openly feminist women have claimed, hurts  the feminist cause more than anything.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2014, 04:19:33 PM »
I'm sorry, I don't understand, Val.  Did you definitely read what I'd written?  Because that doesn't seem to be relevant.  The key point is:

We have a fairly blatant proof that sexualised imagery is accepted, we have the fact that women are, for whatever reason, not working there and finally we have numerous women going back several generations saying that these two things are related and the culture that allows the former is what causes the latter.

Noone is suggesting that people feel they need to dress sexy to work there.  You...errr....you're aware that I a) don't have to go to work in my underwear and b) even if I did I don't work for the ESA right?  Because it seems like the second paragraph is the source of your confusion. 

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2014, 04:28:34 PM »
I did read your post.  I think it is a generalization to suggest that women don't enjoy humorous sexy shirts like this.   A female coworker pull a fart prank on me when I had my job in college - and we both laughed about it.  It's only the women criticizing Matt Taylor that are seemingly taking issue with him.

I know just as many intelligent, fun loving women who would love a boss like him, who is at least willing to show a little personality by wearing a corny, novelty shirt instead of the usual boring shirt and tie.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2014, 04:30:06 PM »
Which is fine.  Those aren't the women we're talking about here.  They aren't being kept out of STEM fields by sexist behaviour.  Hurray.  We're talking about the women that are.  The people you're talking about?  Again, not relevant to the conversation.

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2014, 04:34:30 PM »
I read about people in Asian countries being forced to wear a uniform type of pajama suit in their daily lives to discourage individuality.  We could go that way but women would have to comply as well.

I still get hung up on the philosophy that some people can dress anyway they want and the rest of us have to dress the way they tell us to.  I get made fun of, and I do mean ridiculed, because I wear business-type clothes for work.

Offline Gadifriald

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2014, 04:42:05 PM »
I get made fun of, and I do mean ridiculed, because I wear business-type clothes for work.
You also get admired! ;)

OT: I've heard about this "controversy" and think that it is ridiculous that the shirt (No matter how tasteless!) that was worn by a scientist in an interview is overshadowing a great moment in science!

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2014, 05:00:12 PM »
OK.  Imagine I went to work tomorrow in my underwear.  Men like looking at sexy women (lets take as read that I'm sexy), whats wrong with that?  I can choose what I wear, what's wrong with that?  Etc.

One of the things wrong with it is the inferences one could draw about my workplace.  You'd see me in my knickers and bra alongside my male colleagues in jeans and t-shirts.  Questions would be asked - do I really want to dress like that or do I feel I have to to keep my job?  What about other women coming in to my workplace, would they have to/be expected to dress like that?  Etc.  The fact that my dressing like that was not only tolerated but we saw nothing wrong with putting it on our publicity materials would raise some questions about the atmosphere of the place, in short.

With all due respect, I think you're overblowing things there. Sure, if all women in your workplace were somehow expected to wear only underwear, that'd mean something. But if one woman, one Kythia is allowed to dress like that? That doesn't mean anything. Yes, it could mean that the people in charge are sexist and like to stare at poorly-clad women. It could also mean that they just don't care what their employees wear...

Quote
Now add on to that the fact that women are grossly underrepresented in this line of work.  We have a fairly blatant proof that sexualised imagery is accepted, we have the fact that women are, for whatever reason, not working there and finally we have numerous women going back several generations saying that these two things are related and the culture that allows the former is what causes the latter.

Sorry, I can't agree with that. Yes, women don't often work in this field. And yes, I've heard that guys in such fields can be sexist toward women who attempt that kind of career. Most importantly, I definitely agree that there's this stereotype against women getting education in science or engineering. These are some real issues and they need to be fought against.

But the thing is, these issues? *They* are the reason why there weren't many women on the comet probe team. Not Matt Taylor's shirt. Seriously, do you honestly believe that any woman considered getting employment on that team, but resigned just because of that shirt?

Now, if she resigned because the whole team was unfriendly toward women in general... or, maybe, she didn't even consider getting there because she was brought up to believe that women shouldn't be scientists... now, that would be a problem. And that problem would merit criticism. And I'd support that.

But what I see now is a furious reaction toward one guy who, as far as we know, might be the nicest and non-sexist guy out there. His only known fault is that he wore a tacky shirt. It doesn't say anything about him, or about this particular workplace.

I mean, if there were any reports that something more was happening there... that, say, half of the scientists on that team had nude female photos on their desktops... or that they kept saying sexist jokes during lunch breaks... or that the project supervisor dismissed complaints about it with "Har har, shut up, stupid women"... then yes, Taylor's shirt would mean something. But, as far as I know, we don't know anything like that. If anything, this particular workplace might be a very pleasant place with no sexism going on. And, maybe, they allowed Taylor to wear this shirt, because they are just nice and allow self-expression...

Also, I still would like to hear some reasoning why this specific shirt is sexist in itself.

I still get hung up on the philosophy that some people can dress anyway they want and the rest of us have to dress the way they tell us to.

Yeah, and that's one thing I don't like in feminism in general. I may be wrong, but my impression is that feminists push strongly for female perspective and female feelings to be respected and appreciated... while they don't want to admit that, by the same logic, men should have some right for their perspective and their feelings. For example, when it comes to relationships, they say that men should always respect their women's needs etc... but there's no talk about women being obligated in any way to respecting their men's needs, too.

In this particular case: that shirt doesn't show anything wrong aside from some sexy women. The ugly truth may well be that most straight men like looking at sexy women. So, maybe, the feminists could try respecting that? Instead of calling every guy who likes sexy images a pig?

Personal tangent: you know why I'm so restrained when trying to flirt with women? Because I was brought on Catholic dogma on one side and feminist dogma on the other side. Putting things bluntly, I'm afraid of flirting with women, because every time I think of that, I feel guilty of "treating her like a sex object" etc. I'm afraid of doing anything, because I keep remembering all those things feminists say about sexist men molesting women by looking at them etc.!
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 05:11:44 PM by Beorning »

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2014, 05:07:47 PM »
With all due respect, I think you're overblowing things there. Sure, if all women in your workplace were somehow expected to wear only underwear, that'd mean something. But if one woman, one Kythia is allowed to dress like that? That doesn't mean anything. Yes, it could mean that the people in charge are sexist and like to stare at poorly-clad women. It could also mean that they just don't care what their employees wear...

Yes.  It certainly could.  But do you think we'd be wrong to hold that conversation?  To check?

Quote
Sorry, I can't agree with that. Yes, women don't often work in this field. And yes, I've heard that guys in such fields can be sexist toward women who attempt that kind of career. Most importantly, I definitely agree that there's this stereotype against women getting education in science or engineering. These are some real issues and they need to be fought against.

But the thing is, these issues? *They* are the reason why there weren't many women on the comet probe team. Not Matt Taylor's shirt. Seriously, do you honestly believe that any woman considered getting employment on that team, but resigned just because of that shirt?

Your problem is right here.  You say that sexism towards women is an issue, but say that that is the problem not the shirt.  The issue is that the shirt displays that sexism.  It'd be like saying that the problem is people keep dying in the office, not the stupid unimportant cyanide gas its flooded with.  Can you not see how it is symptomatic of an attitude?  Can you not believe people when they say that things this is why they are being put off STEM fields?  Do you think they're lying? 

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2014, 05:17:39 PM »
Yes.  It certainly could.  But do you think we'd be wrong to hold that conversation?  To check?

You're right, but from what I got from the controversy is that there was no "conversation". Just immediate condemnation.

Quote
Your problem is right here.  You say that sexism towards women is an issue, but say that that is the problem not the shirt.  The issue is that the shirt displays that sexism.  It'd be like saying that the problem is people keep dying in the office, not the stupid unimportant cyanide gas its flooded with.  Can you not see how it is symptomatic of an attitude?  Can you not believe people when they say that things this is why they are being put off STEM fields?  Do you think they're lying?

If people say that they are put off STEM fields because of prevailing sexist attitudes, then sure, I believe them. I'm just not sure if one shirt means that this particular person is sexist. And that particular STEM project has problems with sexism.

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2014, 05:24:10 PM »
You're right, but from what I got from the controversy is that there was no "conversation". Just immediate condemnation.

What do you think is happening literally right now.  Is this not a conversation?  People are taking both sides of the position and exploring the issue, it looks like a conversation to me. 

Quote
If people say that they are put off STEM fields because of prevailing sexist attitudes, then sure, I believe them. I'm just not sure if one shirt means that this particular person is sexist. And that particular STEM project has problems with sexism.

I'm not saying Matt Taylor is sexist.  Never met the dude.  Might be, might not.  That's not what most people are saying, either.  They're saying that his shirt demonstrated he worked in a sexist environment and wasn't even aware of it.  Entirely different statement.

Quite honestly its irrelevant whether he is or not.  He pretty clearly wasn't trying to stop it - I use the past tense as I strongly suspect he'll be a bit more aware of these issues in future.

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2014, 05:34:18 PM »
Try standing there being told by a female wearing a skirt that barely covers her crotch and a tank that bares her belly and is way too small with no bra underneath that you are pandering to men with your - and I quote - "oh so proper business suit because it's sexy and that's the only reason you wear it."  This same paragon of intelligence had the nerve to suggest I slept with my boss to get my current job.

Her defense for what she said was that she is a feminist.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2014, 05:37:51 PM »
Kythia, I know you consider this a genuine issue, but what do you think are the long term consequences to the feminist movement, given that several prominent feminists are openly criticizing media coverage of this Matt Taylor issue?

For example, Ana Kasparian even made a video about how this tarnishes the gains feminism has made, and makes feminism more distant to the average woman.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2014, 05:38:49 PM »
I'm sorry, I just have to butt it... well, I don't but...

Since when are women kept out of STEM research fields? As far as I can tell, people that go into those fields are the ones that have a passion for it. Is there any proof other than the overwhelming number of men over women? Because that doesn't prove sexism, it proves that women prefer to find other fields to specialize in, but that's just what I've been able to see, so I could be wrong. And just because he was wearing that shirt doesn't mean he works in a sexist environment. It means he works in an environment where people care more about your skill than your dress code.

And we rose up in his defense not because he is a fellow dude, but because he was bullied and villified over something that is so small and so... childish it's sad.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2014, 05:45:58 PM »
@Valthazar

Kythia, I know you consider this a genuine issue, but what do you think are the long term consequences to the feminist movement, given that several prominent feminists are openly criticizing media coverage of this Matt Taylor issue?

For example, Ana Kasparian even made a video about how this tarnishes the gains feminism has made, and makes feminism more distant to the average woman.

I dislike the term "the feminist movement" to be perfectly honest.  There's no membership card, nor is there an entry exam.  There are vast numbers of people who would self-identify as feminist that I hold very little common ground with, vast numbers who wouldn't that I do.  I've never heard of Kasparian before so I can't really say where on the spectrum she falls.

So, first while it may be a dodge I disagree with the terms of the question.

However, if we accept for the duration of this post that there is such a thing and that its possible and useful to discuss it, I think "YEY!"   If there is a genuine debate around this then that is fucking awesome.  It means things have improved to the extent where people can, in good faith, hold different views - that is to say, the situation isn't so bad that it is immediately fucking obvious what should happen.  But, as I say,  don;t think that because I don't believe in a "feminist movement" in the sense you're using it.

@Demonbane:
I can't tell if you're serious or not.  Assuming you are: start here  Follow links from there. 

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #20 on: November 19, 2014, 05:48:00 PM »
Try standing there being told by a female wearing a skirt that barely covers her crotch and a tank that bares her belly and is way too small with no bra underneath that you are pandering to men with your - and I quote - "oh so proper business suit because it's sexy and that's the only reason you wear it."  This same paragon of intelligence had the nerve to suggest I slept with my boss to get my current job.

Her defense for what she said was that she is a feminist.

*angered giggle* Yep, I've met or seen people running exactly that kind of tactic - implying that to be a real feminist you have to blatantly act the underdressed underdog, and if you don't, then you've bought into the male power order. *sigh* Or you have to have the right kind of references in namedropping, music and so on. Admittedly haven't had that aimed at me a lot over clothing, but definitely for ways of speaking, for being "too educated", for not taking it when people simply use their own ego as an argument. And I've certainly seen some feminists using that kind of maneuver to shut down other, competing feminists.

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #21 on: November 19, 2014, 05:55:33 PM »
@Demonbane:
I can't tell if you're serious or not.  Assuming you are: start here  Follow links from there.
I was being serious, just poorly informed. Working on that now, thanks for the link.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #22 on: November 19, 2014, 05:55:50 PM »
It's sexist as hell because it treats women as sexual objects for public consumption.

Yes. by wearing the shirt he's passively a jerk. Passive. Not Active. I'm not saying he's a shithead who goes off on people and treats everyone around him like shit. I'm saying he's made a choice that obviously makes a hell of a lot of people really uncomfortable and doesn't think anything of it because to him it isn't a big deal.

That is what I mean when I say "Passively" a jerk by wearing the shirt.

Again, I point people to Scholar.Google.com and the Microaggressions search. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Microaggressions+in+Science+Fields&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C3

I even narrowed it down to Scientific Fields. Go. Read. Enjoy!

Offline Silk

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #23 on: November 19, 2014, 06:07:13 PM »
It's sexist as hell because it treats women as sexual objects for public consumption.

Yes. by wearing the shirt he's passively a jerk. Passive. Not Active. I'm not saying he's a shithead who goes off on people and treats everyone around him like shit. I'm saying he's made a choice that obviously makes a hell of a lot of people really uncomfortable and doesn't think anything of it because to him it isn't a big deal.

That is what I mean when I say "Passively" a jerk by wearing the shirt.

Again, I point people to Scholar.Google.com and the Microaggressions search. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Microaggressions+in+Science+Fields&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C3

I even narrowed it down to Scientific Fields. Go. Read. Enjoy!

So by this logic, I can call everyone who has some form of clothing that I personally disagree with a passive jerk/bitch and attribute all kinda of things based on a item of clothing? Seriously as a society I thought we was outgrowing that crap. Not all Burka wearers are "Passively islamic radicals that want to impose Sharia law" after all. Neither are all female streamers wearing low cut tops just milking the thirstiness of teenage boys to make easy donation money
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 06:09:19 PM by Silk »

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #24 on: November 19, 2014, 06:29:07 PM »
No. Not all people who wear burqas are radical islamists. If that was ever an item of serious consideration I'd suggest religious education or at least study.

But pretty much all people who wear burqas are members of Islamic faiths or people living in a society where such things are mandated or at least heavily encouraged. It's not comparative. This guy doesn't live in a society where all men MUST wear shirts with half naked women on them or are heavily encouraged to do so or must do so to follow the tenets of their religion.

Oranges to Cabbages. They're not even remotely similar.

"Shirt I Disagree With" No. It's sexualization of women for public consumption. That's sexist. I don't agree or disagree with something the shirt is saying, I'm stating that it's sexist. If the guy were walking around with a shirt upon which it was a bunch of black dudes floating around on a backdrop of fried chicken and watermelon we'd all say it was racist. And FUCK I hate to make inter-oppressive comparisons and I apologize to everyone I've just offended by bringing up that ridiculous stereotype based on southern cuisine and an African Melon.

That's a critique of his shirt's depiction of women. Not "Shirt I Disagree With". The rest of the discussion is how that shirt's existence is a single and discrete example of a much larger trend in society, and especially in STEM fields, which treats women as lesser. And THAT is the social context in which he's being a passive jerk. He's not overtly trying to harm other people, but he is causing damage without realizing it.

If you don't like my way of explaining these topics please click the link I provided above and read up on the studies and materials I provided to support these statements.