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Author Topic: Matt Taylor's shirt  (Read 6133 times)

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Offline Valthazar

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #25 on: November 19, 2014, 07:18:16 PM »
Here's the interview with the woman who made the shirt for Matt Taylor:

YouTube Video


Here's a blog post she made regarding this controversy:

Blog Post
http://ellyprizemanupdate.blogspot.com.au/

Hello Internet Land!

I felt I needed to write some words for all the questions, comments and feedback being received about the shirt I made for him that has caused such a stir.

I would like to thank each and every person who has supported Matt in his amazing achievement and who has asked after and complimented my hobby as well as my Husband's artwork on Dr. Taylor.

Unfortunately there has been a lot of negativity in this which I do understand but is also very upsetting.

Dr. Matt Taylor is an amazing, kind, loving and sensitive person.
I never expected him to wear my gift to him for such a big event and was surprised and deeply moved that he did.
I made that shirt for his birthday last month as I make clothes just as a hobby and he asked if I would make him one.
He is a close and very loved friend so made sure I did this for his birthday present.

I appreciate that everyone is entitled to their opinion and having worked with people and events for a long time I have certainly learnt that you are never going to please everyone.
I defy any living person to tell me truthfully that they have never made an action that may have caused an unwanted reaction in their lives even with the best intentions in mind.

I am so proud of Matt and his achievements and the fact he is an interesting and very brave person to do what he did with the very sweet gesture he made towards my gift and to wear his individuality with pride.
It has certainly made history more exciting and bold.

I do read all your comments you have all made but there are so many I just can’t reply to you all personally.
The people that have attacked and said horrible things I am not going to engage with as the supportive and very lovely comments I have also received outweigh those tenfold!

I would like to take this opportunity to try and answer all the questions I have been getting.

There is no ‘meaning’ behind the shirt. I just bought material and sewed it together.

Nothing sinister at all was meant behind it at any point. It was just a bold and individual fashion item.

I did make Matt’s shirt. You can see it from a few weeks back on his Twitter feed and our studio feed (@EternalArtEssex) as well as my Instagram.
There is a similar shirt available on the internet but as the material is readily available this is no huge surprise.
I customized Matt’s shirt so it does have slight differences to the one already on line as it was a very personal thing.

I am not going to apologize for having a hobby. In actual fact I am a nobody who just crafted a shirt for a friend.
I never expected it to get to this magnitude and am humbled and overwhelmed.

I am genuinely surprised that so many of you want the shirts.

I am no professional seamstress by any means. My clothes are made with love and time put into it.

Yes I can make other clothes and pin up (male and female!) printed material is readily available.

Yes I can make ladies shirts.

If I was to recreate the same print and other similar prints from the fabric designer I use for these shirts I need to be very clear that they are far from perfect.

The other issue unfortunately for me is sadly the cost. That fabric designer’s material is very expensive in the UK. I was shocked to see the shirt available online for only $60!
My fabric has cost me £45 for each shirt and then 5-6 hours of my time to put it all together!
Because of this that also means I that if I was to embark on this that unless I can get my costs downs with fabric that I will have to charge around £150 for 1 shirt which I feel is excessive! From the magnitude of this I would have to stop working in the daytimes to meet the demand and I need to make a living like everyone else in the world.

The other down side is that as I am only just me I cannot mass produce these at the moment as part of why I started making clothes is that I want to do each one myself and put the passion into every one that I put into all my clothes.
This means that if all of you seriously want me to make versions then there will be a considerable waiting list!

Also due to the negative responses it also makes me a tad reluctant as someone will start accusing me of ‘cashing in’ or whatever.

My Husband has said I should embark on this and what is making me feel I want to is that so many of you amazing people have asked for them simply to support Matt which I think is flipping awesome!

To support Matt to show how many people are behind him I am going to try.
I have set up an email account called redfoxcreations@hotmail.com for any of you who want to enquire more.

I really am just a nobody who is lucky enough to have an awesome friend who was just being sweet.

Offline Cycle

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #26 on: November 19, 2014, 07:23:15 PM »
If I was Mr. Taylor's boss, I'd fire him.  He attended a publicity event as the representative of a group.  He therefore owed that group a duty to project a proper image.  That is why I paid him to be there.  He does this actively, by what he says and how he says it, and he does this passively, by what he wears and what facial expressions he displays.  That bowling shirt was not professional.  It projected the wrong image.  He failed to do his job.  A publicity event is not Club Med.  A publicity event is not Comic-Con.  A publicity event is not your buddies' patio on a Sunday afternoon.  You want freedom of expression?  You want to display your individuality?  You want to be lively and funny?  Do it on your own time.  Not when you have a specific job to do, for people other than just you.  Fired.  Done.  Next.



Offline Sho

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2014, 09:46:09 PM »
Personally, I find this whole thing so...depressing, honestly. I understand the general point that him wearing a T-shirt depicting scantily clad women could be, to some, considered exclusive.

I also think that, of all the things going on on the world, for this to be focused on puts a final nail in the coffin for me in regards to modern feminism.

We landed a spacecraft on a comet hurtling through space. THAT is the most important thing here; I think that choosing a T-shirt to focus on (one that was made by a friend of his, one that depicts comic-style women and frankly, I think is fun) is absurd. I also think that to bring this up (as opposed to other more relevant issues like date rape, the reasons WHY women don't enter science, etc.) makes women look weak and whiny. If this had started a legitimate conversation about why so few women choose STEM careers, then it would have been interesting. If his shirt had been used as a brief example, that would have been okay.

The fact that this man - a very accomplished man - was lampooned to the fact that he had to make a tearful apology...that makes me sick.

I do, however, agree with Cycle in that he should have worn more professional clothing. That, I believe, is a legitimate point. His clothing was far too casual. I simply believe that this makes all feminists look bad; it makes the movement seem like a gathering of whiny, overly-sensitive women. If this is what is considered feminism, then I no longer want to work with feminists or be associated with them. These sorts of controversies only seem to reaffirm the stereotypes that women are emotional and overly sensitive (I personally disagree with ALL these stereotypes, but this sort of controversy doesn't help women), and they make women unwelcome in male-dominated fields because NO ONE wants to work with a woman who would freak out over a shirt when the greater point is the fact that we landed a comet.

I work in high technology in the US's most technologically-advanced city. I am a woman. I can say, without a doubt, that the industry does indeed keep women out (both intentionally and unintentionally), but this shirt is utterly unrelated to that. I would say that this movement has hurt women's chances to enter the high-tech market more than it has helped it, frankly.

Offline Bloodied Porcelain

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2014, 10:12:23 PM »
I was trying to find a nice way to express my views on this, and I think Sho nicely tied up all my thoughts in a pretty little relatively polite package. The one thing I will add is...

Usually, when I hear women with feminist values and views vehemently deny that they are a feminist or want anything to do with feminism, it makes me angry because all I can see is one less woman who believes all the right things, walking away from a worthy fight because she's put off by all the BS the radicals spout.

And then... this happened. And now? Now I get it. I'm tempted to shed my own "proud feminist" stance because frankly, I see more "feminists" screaming from the rooftops about non-issues like a scientist's shirt or how a model and photographer chose to conduct a photo shoot than I see them addressing and rallying to important, valid issues. Feminists just seem like bullies more often than not these days and it's a turn off. And that's coming from a woman who has spent her entire career and plans to spend her foreseeable future pursuing a career in technology.

This kind of issue? The screaming over something as minor as shirt? It isn't helping women like me who have to deal with the real issues when they go to work in a male-dominated field. If anything, it's hurting us.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2014, 10:24:16 PM by Bloodied Porcelain »

Offline Sho

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2014, 10:29:08 PM »
This kind of issue? The screaming over something as minor as shirt? It isn't helping women like me who have to deal with the real issues when they go to work in a male-dominated field. If anything, it's hurting us.

This. Thanks, BP. This is what I have the most issue with; the women who are criticizing this man the most loudly are also the ones that have little to no experience in this field and instead of getting girls involved in STEM subjects at a young age, they're complaining about a shirt. There's a certain point where the movement becomes so polarizing that it's no longer worth being a part of. I understand that not all feminists are represented by this opinion - but enough of them are that this sort of thing has become representative of the feminist movement for better or worse. I'm out. I'll help mentor girls and I'll work with my male colleagues to make the STEM fields more welcoming to women, but I refuse to be part of a movement that bullies a brilliant man to tears over his choice in T-shirt. It's silly and degrading to women, frankly, that we're seen as so petty that we care more about a shirt than the brilliant science that occurred just a few days ago.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2014, 10:36:13 PM »
A minor observation: I've seen a lot more (and louder, and angrier) criticism of criticism of the shirt than I have actual criticism of the shirt. In fact, the criticism of the shirt I've seen generally boils down to "He screwed up. He made a heartfelt apology. Okay, we're cool here."

The shirt is a symptom, not a cause. The problem with the shirt is that he works in an environment where, knowing that he was going to be on international TV as a representative of his team and agency, he walked into the office wearing that shirt - which is at the very least profoundly unprofessional and certainly uncomfortable for a large number of women. And not one person said "What the hell is that?".

That speaks volumes to me of the background attitudes in that environment, and is certainly illustrative of at least part of the reason women have trouble advancing in STEM fields.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2014, 10:50:16 PM »
As a related point, in the past (and even today), many companies have had rigid dress codes in an effort to convey a 'professional image' to their clientele.  Things like tattoos, body piercings, and gauges were seen as off-putting and lacking certain personal characteristics when it came to customer service encounters.  Recently, these policies have been reversing, and Starbucks was heralded by progressives as permitting their employees to now display tattoos and small nose piercings.  As their COO said, "we want to build a company where self-expression, empowerment and inclusion are nurtured."

This was a significant gain, yet at the same time, I am sure there are indeed some people today who are off-put by these displays. 

Matt Taylor is a man who clearly has a expressive personality.  Perhaps he himself is fortunate to work with an organization that respects his personality (just as CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg go on stage with just a t-shirt and not the typical formal attire).  Look at this video of the actual controversial presentation.

Fast forward to 1:20 and notice that the man has even tattooed himself with a Rosetta project tattoo.  This was his moment to celebrate after all the work of his team.

Rosetta Live: #2 The descent

Offline blue bunny sparkle

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2014, 10:53:59 PM »
Just wanted to put out there a book called Molecules of Emotion, by Candace Pert, PhD.

In it she tells the story of her discovery of the Opiate Receptor while still a graduate student at John Hopkins University. The discovery led to the Albert Lasker Award (a huge award, which often leads to a Nobel prize) But she did not receive the awards, and her work was not even cited in it. The award went to her boss and other male colleagues.

The book is interesting from a scientific perspective to see how she actually found the Opiate Receptor, but then it is also interesting to read in her own words, the battle she faced because of her sex and gender stereotyping.


http://candacepert.com/achievements/





Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2014, 11:52:12 PM »
The issue isn't that he's expressive, Valthazar. The issue is what he expressed and the attitudes that surrounded that expression.

His being a part of the team that landed the module is a completely different discussion. And if you put together a "Hurray for the Landing!" thread you'd see me cheering in it and speculating about what we'll learn and especially what this breakthrough means for the future of our planet's interactions with extraterrestrial bodies.

But that ain't what's at contention, here. Neither is how expressive he is. No one is complaining that he's got tattoos or cuts his hair in a certain way or wears sweatpants to work with a nacho stain on his shirt.

It's about what he chose to express and how that expression plays into a larger panoply of gender based interaction. What he did with the lander or how nice a guy he is doesn't play into what's being discussed: His decision and the social implications thereof.

As for the upthread "I'm ashamed of feminists being upset over something so trivial" debate: Okay cool. That doesn't mean this is the only front where discussion is happening or work. And even if it doesn't personally affect you in a meaningful way based on your experiences doesn't mean it has no effect on anyone else. There's been DECADES of research into micro aggression that shows it DOES have a major affect on race, gender, and sexuality interactions. I've linked to searches of studies you can read if you're unconvinced in this thread and others.

And if you're not interested in learning about this kind of thing then I don't know what to say other than "Okay. That's your prerogative. Just know that other people understand things that you don't and are upset about it for good reason." and even that sounds smarmy and dismissive when I -really- don't mean for it to.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #34 on: November 20, 2014, 12:19:03 AM »
Here's an example of the bigger context. This is how Barbie encourages young women to enter into the video game industry:

http://www.dailydot.com/geek/barbie-engineer-book-girls-game-developers/



Girls can come up with the ideas, but boys are the ones who do the actual work of making it into a game (I.E. Programming, Design, Testing, Animating, Art, and so much more)

Moments later Barbie accidentally puts a virus on the laptop and destroys all of Stephanie's files. Because comic ineptitude and losing all of your work (and destroying someone else's computer) are the kind of things girls who are game developers can look forward to! Whoops! She's a computer tech who never figured out how to install an antivirus!

This isn't that different, by the way, from how I am treated by employees in computer stores who quiz my understanding of computers or asked to talk to my husband (who didn't take computer technician courses in hardware and software maintenance, networking, and the like) to figure out what we wanted to buy. It's not that different from when I walk into a gaming shop and get geek-girl-grilled about comics or games. It's not that different from when I try to talk about computers and then get mansplained on trivial matters because guys assume I just don't understand.

Just like when I start discussing car components and repairs that my dad taught me when I was a child and get talked over and down to by guys who think I don't understand what I'm talking about until I prove it to them.

And as nice as it is to see the look on some guy's face when I show him I know what I'm talking about that doesn't mean I wanted to have that interaction in the first place and it really doesn't make up for it in any meaningful way.

Women and girls are surrounded and bombarded by a hundred individually tiny things in a day that tell them how they are meant to act, what they can't do, where they aren't actually welcome. The book is a slightly less overt example of it that plays on a child's ignorance of what actually goes into making a game to tell them they can only engage the industry in a specific way. The shirt is just another reminder for the people who are tuned into it that it's a boy's club.

Because where else would a dude expect to wear that shirt and not get dirty looks? People are happy to acknowledge it's inappropriate, but I notice a lot of dodging on -why- it's inappropriate.

Also: You teach kids how computers work with a cute dog that matches colored blocks..? I guess that's inline with the rest of the books contents: Teaching girls they can get into game design by showing them how terrible a female game designer role model is with computers. But at least the doggie is cuuuuuute!
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 12:20:52 AM by Steampunkette »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #35 on: November 20, 2014, 01:03:06 AM »
But she did not receive the awards, and her work was not even cited in it. The award went to her boss and other male colleagues.

This happens a lot unfortunately. At the moment in Astronomy we're studying the work of Bell Burnell who discovered Pulsars but the Nobel prize went to her (male) thesis supervisor.

In Astronomy there's a joke that this is why it's called the "No Bell" prize. (Bit of black humour there, but it really is rather disgraceful).

Offline Sho

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #36 on: November 20, 2014, 02:01:54 AM »
@steampunkette

I don't think anyone here is denying microaggressions (or if they are, I might have missed it, but I'm certainly not denying). In the same way that you're saying hat his shirt can't be ignored because it is representative of a larger system full of microaggressions (I'm assuming that's what you're saying, I may be wrong), I would argue that focusing so heavily on his shirt does indeed take away from his great accomplishment, particularly when it has sparked such a huge media firestorm that is focusing on the feminist controversy as opposed to the landing itself.

I see the Barbie picture, and I fully agree that its highly problematic. I think that that picture and its implications are far more harmful than a man wearing a T-shirt with women in bustiers on it.

It seems to me that you're saying that women who agree with some parts of feminism cannot disassociate themselves with the movement because of a loud, vocal minority. Neither myself, nor BP, I'm assuming, ever argued that micro-aggression doesn't exist or that it doesn't affect people: it's actually somewhat insulting to imply that I don't understand or care to understand about such things simply because I choose not to associate myself with a movement that I have seen become increasingly transphobic, petty, and negative. I will take you at your word and believe that you don't mean it to be insulting, however.

I think it's perfectly valid to hold the opinion that a loud enough portion of the feminist movement has started punishing the more middle-ground section, and that at a certain point, I don't see the movement doing a huge amount of good (I think of this in the same way that Tea Partiers have done huge damage to the Republican party). I've seen more good come from women in STEM starting research initiatives and welcoming women into the fields themselves - and from women who no longer associate themselves as feminists but merely work for equality without labeling themselves - than I have seen coming from self-proclaimed feminists.

This is, of course, my experience and my opinion. Everyone is welcome to their own and I fully respect that. I, however, dislike being told that my opinion is invalid or having it assumed that I haven't learned about the struggles of women (or the sociological studies behind those struggles) because I find the current iteration of the feminist party to be petty.

Offline Silk

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #37 on: November 20, 2014, 02:24:11 AM »
You call it Microagression, I call it self-fulfilling legacy. Because prior to this I doubt anyone was put off joining STEM because of this shirt, but now it's been made a point of discussion, now people will be put off based on the connotation, so congratulations, you've created what your fighting against.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #38 on: November 20, 2014, 03:08:47 AM »
@steampunkette

I don't think anyone here is denying microaggressions (or if they are, I might have missed it, but I'm certainly not denying). In the same way that you're saying hat his shirt can't be ignored because it is representative of a larger system full of microaggressions (I'm assuming that's what you're saying, I may be wrong), I would argue that focusing so heavily on his shirt does indeed take away from his great accomplishment, particularly when it has sparked such a huge media firestorm that is focusing on the feminist controversy as opposed to the landing itself.

I see the Barbie picture, and I fully agree that its highly problematic. I think that that picture and its implications are far more harmful than a man wearing a T-shirt with women in bustiers on it.

It seems to me that you're saying that women who agree with some parts of feminism cannot disassociate themselves with the movement because of a loud, vocal minority. Neither myself, nor BP, I'm assuming, ever argued that micro-aggression doesn't exist or that it doesn't affect people: it's actually somewhat insulting to imply that I don't understand or care to understand about such things simply because I choose not to associate myself with a movement that I have seen become increasingly transphobic, petty, and negative. I will take you at your word and believe that you don't mean it to be insulting, however.

I think it's perfectly valid to hold the opinion that a loud enough portion of the feminist movement has started punishing the more middle-ground section, and that at a certain point, I don't see the movement doing a huge amount of good (I think of this in the same way that Tea Partiers have done huge damage to the Republican party). I've seen more good come from women in STEM starting research initiatives and welcoming women into the fields themselves - and from women who no longer associate themselves as feminists but merely work for equality without labeling themselves - than I have seen coming from self-proclaimed feminists.

This is, of course, my experience and my opinion. Everyone is welcome to their own and I fully respect that. I, however, dislike being told that my opinion is invalid or having it assumed that I haven't learned about the struggles of women (or the sociological studies behind those struggles) because I find the current iteration of the feminist party to be petty.

Okay, I see what you're saying and I agree with it. Yes. It is impossible to disassociate yourself, as a feminist, from the loud and radical ones without either saying you're not a feminist or offering up a "No True Scotsman". I can understand how frustrating that is, especially with the number of TERFs who are finally getting the opportunity to spread their toxic rhetoric through the community by couching it in terms of respected second wavers. And I understand that you feel putting so much focus on this microaggression is a problem. And there is a push for more moderate feminism quite loudly, in fact.

I, personally, find such calls kind of misinformed, though. Because Feminism is, predominantly, moderate and not left as people tend to believe. It really appears to be left thanks to the Overton window being pulled hard right by conservatives since the 1940s, but that's neither here nor there. What's happening is that people are gaining more exposure to the louder side of radical feminism thanks to increased media connectivity (Internet) and it appears to be growing when, in reality, it's the same amount as ever that just looks bigger thanks to how loud it is.

He did something messed up, got called on it pretty loudly I admit, publicly apologized, and most feminists just kind of moved on after that, willing to accept he won't do it again. The only reason it keeps getting brought up, again and again, even in threads where it's not a discussion topic being covered such as the feminist history thread, is because antifeminists keep bringing it up and recentering the conversation on it often because they do not accept the existence of microaggressions or wish to argue that he did nothing wrong. It is, after all, the whole point of this thread to express that it was "Just a Shirt" to quote the OP.

But if you would prefer it I'll step on out of this thread entirely and stop trying to educate people on the topics involved, here. Maybe it will become a discussion lauding the ESA for their actions, but based on the recentering I've seen, again and again, I doubt it.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 03:21:09 AM by Steampunkette »

Offline Sho

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #39 on: November 20, 2014, 04:02:17 AM »
There's no need for you to step out of the topic; it's always good to have a plethora of opinions. I'm sure that there are many people who find your articles useful and who haven't had access to that information before, and I'm sure that it's helpful to them.

I do, however, think that it one thing to accept the existence of micro-aggressions (still can't tell if that's one word or two...) and another to say that this particular case was not a that. Personally, I do not consider that shirt to be a micro-aggression, and I think that this topic being brought up by anti-feminists 'over and over again' isn't a necessarily a bad thing. One can hope that it will bring more moderate feminists out of the woodworks - which I have increasingly been seeing happen - and that it will spur them to take back the movement.

From my personal experiences (I work in tech and live in a very liberal city), I have seen the number of TERFs growing rather than simply becoming more vocal or visible, for whatever reason. I speculate that a number of young women who have experienced hardships in life find themselves attracted to a movement that promises them superiority. Whatever the reason, I think that the frustration is not that micro-aggressions are being brought up; I think the frustration that I, and a number of other feminists-but-not-feminists feel is that we don't think micro-aggressions are the biggest problem facing our movement right now. Addressing them will be necessary, but in many ways focusing on such small things is like fixing a cracked foundation with bubble gum instead of with a thick coating of cement.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #40 on: November 20, 2014, 04:38:20 AM »
I totally understand the fixing cracks rather than laying cement thing. But we are laying cement. All over the place.

There are feminist advocates with money and political voices and they lobby to change laws and show people big sweeping problems that exist in our society in their way.

But not all of us have that kind of money or authority, especially those of us who are also members of other minority groups. But we can help, too, by patching cracks to keep them from spreading under strain.

And getting people to understand how microaggressions (I don't know if it's one word, two words, or hyphenated, I've seen it in all three ways!) affect interaction and perceptions of people and shape discussion without willful intent to do harm: That's a lot of tiny cracks I can work on. And street harassment is a lot of tiny cracks that I can work on.

It's not like we can lay thick cement over freedom of speech and expression, after all. For that we've got to patch up the cracks by getting people to understand and be aware of the problem. Y'know?

As for this not being a microaggression... okay. I accept that you do not see it as one. And I won't try to convince you otherwise.

Offline Cycle

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #41 on: November 20, 2014, 07:42:27 AM »
Matt Taylor is a man who clearly has a expressive personality.  Perhaps he himself is fortunate to work with an organization that respects his personality (just as CEOs like Mark Zuckerberg go on stage with just a t-shirt and not the typical formal attire). 

Taylor was not acting in an individual capacity.  He was not just sitting in his lab on an ordinary work day.  He was on stage, doing a broadcast, to the entire world, as a representative of his entire group of scientists and staff.  That is not the time for him to express his individual personality.  That is the time for him to represent more than just himself.  Therein lies the failure.  He failed to understand why he was there, and how is actions will reflect on others and be interpreted by others.

Comparing Taylor to Zuckerberg simply highlights Taylor's mistake.  Study what Zuckerberg wears.  It isn't bowling shirts with cartoon drawlngs. 


Zuckerberg is a representative of the young social media technology crowd.  It is appropriate for him to dress casually to conferences and expos.  Indeed, it is strategically sound from a marketing perspective.  There is a pattern to his public image that shows Facebook analyzed and understands the impact of what Zuckerberg wears.  His clothing projects that image, intentionally and deliberately.  That is the difference between the two.  Taylor didn't think.


« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 08:15:02 AM by Cycle »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #42 on: November 20, 2014, 09:59:34 AM »
You call it Microagression, I call it self-fulfilling legacy. Because prior to this I doubt anyone was put off joining STEM because of this shirt, but now it's been made a point of discussion, now people will be put off based on the connotation, so congratulations, you've created what your fighting against.

Please show us a single example, anywhere, of anybody saying that women will be driven out of STEM by this shirt alone. That argument has been explicitly and repeatedly rejected in this very thread - what people are actually saying is that this shirt is symptomatic and representative of a broader underlying problem with attitudes toward women in STEM fields. And I strongly doubt that you are going to be able to convince the woman in a STEM field who you're arguing against that these attitudes do not exist.

Trotula of Salerno. Rosalind Franklin. Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Maria Goeppert Meyer. Gerty Cori. Esther Lederberg. Ada Lovelace. Chien-Shiung Wu. Judy Malloy. Lise Meitner. Candace Pert. Nettie Stevens. And those are the particularly egregious examples I could find in a 30-second search. How many do we need before people are willing to admit that there is a problem - a problem that this shirt was simply the msot recent highly-visible symptom of?

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2014, 10:16:03 AM »
Please show us a single example, anywhere, of anybody saying that women will be driven out of STEM by this shirt alone. That argument has been explicitly and repeatedly rejected in this very thread - what people are actually saying is that this shirt is symptomatic and representative of a broader underlying problem with attitudes toward women in STEM fields. And I strongly doubt that you are going to be able to convince the woman in a STEM field who you're arguing against that these attitudes do not exist.

Trotula of Salerno. Rosalind Franklin. Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Maria Goeppert Meyer. Gerty Cori. Esther Lederberg. Ada Lovelace. Chien-Shiung Wu. Judy Malloy. Lise Meitner. Candace Pert. Nettie Stevens. And those are the particularly egregious examples I could find in a 30-second search. How many do we need before people are willing to admit that there is a problem - a problem that this shirt was simply the msot recent highly-visible symptom of?

I don't think that's what Silk was saying at all. I think the point she was making was that pointing out something as minor as a tacky shirt being an issue could end up just turning even more women who might potentially get involved in the STEM fields away from them because they don't want to be part of the larger controversy. While that is admittedly not the intention, nor is it a good thing, she does have a point. It's similar to the point of people like myself and Sho, who have basically decided we want nothing to do with so-called "feminists" anymore because this sort of freak out over something insignificant and silly doesn't do anything but hurt the cause. There are battles worth fighting, yes, and I firmly believe the strong majority of people would rally behind them. A shirt and how people chose to dress regardless of the occasion, though? Not one of them, from our perspective. Is throwing a fit over a single man's shirt doing more harm than good long run? It could be argued either way, though I would say history stands on the side of it doing more harm. Sometimes you have to give some ground and overlook small things for the greater good of the cause you're fighting for. Does it suck? Yes. But that's reality.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 10:28:07 AM by Bloodied Porcelain »

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2014, 11:06:08 AM »
Again: The "huge fit" that was thrown over this (and let's not get into the problems with that framing)? It's smaller than the huge fit over daring to speak up. Like, way way way smaller. As in: My primary go-to news sources for political and science news are feminists, and scientists, and feminist scientists, and I heard the backlash first. As in: On this very forum, the backlash splashed on a discussion unrelated to the shirt before anyone said anything here about the shirt.

You don't get to say people are blowing an issue out of proportion while inflating that same issue by several orders of magnitude.

And frankly, given the volume and vitriol of the backlash against anybody who dares to say, in even the mildest tones, that yes, this is symptomatic of a significant problem... claiming that pointing out the issue is going to drive women out of STEM is just concern trolling. This and this aren't the sort of things driving women away in significant numbers - this is. Or this or this or this or this.

Does this make things clearer?

Offline BeorningTopic starter

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #45 on: November 20, 2014, 11:17:34 AM »
I just wanted to say that I agree with what Sho said here:

We landed a spacecraft on a comet hurtling through space. THAT is the most important thing here; I think that choosing a T-shirt to focus on (one that was made by a friend of his, one that depicts comic-style women and frankly, I think is fun) is absurd. I also think that to bring this up (as opposed to other more relevant issues like date rape, the reasons WHY women don't enter science, etc.) makes women look weak and whiny. If this had started a legitimate conversation about why so few women choose STEM careers, then it would have been interesting. If his shirt had been used as a brief example, that would have been okay.

I honestly understand that there *are* stereotypes working against women who try making careers in science or engineering. The Barbie thing Steampunkette mentioned? This is exactly the kind of thing that needs to be fought against. I really have no problem with that. I simply think that the specific case of Taylor's shirt is extremely minor: at worst, it's just a small symptom of the problem. At best, it doesn't mean anything at all - as I said, I'm really not sure if images of sexy women are that problematic in itself (I mean, half of avis here on E might be images of sexy women...).

I also agree with Cycle that wearing that kind of shirt was unprofessional. Personally, I find it strange that this particular workplace allowed it... but I really wouldn't be eager to make assumptions of the bosses there being sexist. Maybe they just don't care...

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #46 on: November 20, 2014, 11:28:37 AM »
You're completely overlooking my point, which isn't that women who are already in STEM fields are going to leave because of this issue, but that women who ARENT involved but may want to be in the future decide against it because if this one small thing caused a big enough backlash that the guy had to publicly make a tearful apology, why would they want to risk being part of the larger controversy at play? As I said before, I don't think it's the intention, or that it is a good thing to turn people off when people get upset over these things, but it is a potential consequence. If I've spent the better part of my life calling myself a feminist and this issue became the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak, making me decide I no longer want to use the title for myself or be in any way related to feminism, what do you think it would do to those who are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their careers but are on the fence? Especially with how negative feminism is seen in society today.

Small issues like this compound on each other and can end up crippling a movement because they will invariably be thought of more for the things they did badly than the things they did well. That's an unfortunate part of human psychology (that you may forget the dozens of great things someone did for you, but you will never forget the one bad thing they did to you). Why do you think there's such a huge push back in society against feminism and such a negative view of it? If you don't think that these outcries over something small like a guy's shirt during a time where something MUCH more important was going on (IE landing on a comet) plays in to society's perception and reception of feminists and feminism, you're wrong.

And yes, the back lash to the reaction toward the shirt is severe. It should be. Why? Because people are SICK of this kind of behavior from feminists. Be all for stopping date rape and making STEM fields more appealing toward girls. Most people are all for that. What we aren't for is distracting from the major, important issues with small innocuous ones that in the long run mean very little just so people can fancy themselves activists and give themselves a pat on the back so they can feel better about how little they're doing on the big issues.

I just wanted to say that I agree with what Sho said here:

I honestly understand that there *are* stereotypes working against women who try making careers in science or engineering. The Barbie thing Steampunkette mentioned? This is exactly the kind of thing that needs to be fought against. I really have no problem with that. I simply think that the specific case of Taylor's shirt is extremely minor: at worst, it's just a small symptom of the problem. At best, it doesn't mean anything at all - as I said, I'm really not sure if images of sexy women are that problematic in itself (I mean, half of avis here on E might be images of sexy women...).

All of this.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 11:31:42 AM by Bloodied Porcelain »

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #47 on: November 20, 2014, 12:04:17 PM »
And you're overlooking one of my points, BP: The overwhelming majority of the discussion of this shirt has been "Sit down, shut up, stop talking about it, there's no issue with sexism in STEM" at various levels of politeness. And this is just the latest example. Every time - literally every single time a woman in STEM dares point out that we haven't achieved equality yet, there is a backlash that completely blows the original statement out of the water in terms of volume, vitriol, and persistence. Yet somehow, this isn't what gets blamed for scaring women off - instead, it's the uppity woman who dared speak instead of looking pretty.

Why exactly is that?

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #48 on: November 20, 2014, 12:08:48 PM »
And you're overlooking one of my points, BP: The overwhelming majority of the discussion of this shirt has been "Sit down, shut up, stop talking about it, there's no issue with sexism in STEM" at various levels of politeness. And this is just the latest example. Every time - literally every single time a woman in STEM dares point out that we haven't achieved equality yet, there is a backlash that completely blows the original statement out of the water in terms of volume, vitriol, and persistence. Yet somehow, this isn't what gets blamed for scaring women off - instead, it's the uppity woman who dared speak instead of looking pretty.

Why exactly is that?

I haven't heard or seen a single argument stating that here is no issue with sexism in STEM, only that this shirt is not an issue and there are more important things that should be discussed and focused on, which is why I didn't deign to respond to that point, it seems something you're implying in to the arguments presented in this thread, rather than something that is actually been said by people speaking against those criticizing the shirt.

And to be clear: If someone ever actually DID imply that there's no sexism or inequality in STEM, I'd be the first person to argue with them. I just don't think this particular thing (Matt Taylor's shirt) is it.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 12:10:37 PM by Bloodied Porcelain »

Offline Silk

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #49 on: November 20, 2014, 12:35:27 PM »
I don't think that's what Silk was saying at all. I think the point she was making was that pointing out something as minor as a tacky shirt being an issue could end up just turning even more women who might potentially get involved in the STEM fields away from them because they don't want to be part of the larger controversy. While that is admittedly not the intention, nor is it a good thing, she does have a point. It's similar to the point of people like myself and Sho, who have basically decided we want nothing to do with so-called "feminists" anymore because this sort of freak out over something insignificant and silly doesn't do anything but hurt the cause. There are battles worth fighting, yes, and I firmly believe the strong majority of people would rally behind them. A shirt and how people chose to dress regardless of the occasion, though? Not one of them, from our perspective. Is throwing a fit over a single man's shirt doing more harm than good long run? It could be argued either way, though I would say history stands on the side of it doing more harm. Sometimes you have to give some ground and overlook small things for the greater good of the cause you're fighting for. Does it suck? Yes. But that's reality.

Thank you for better explaining the point I was trying to make <3