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Author Topic: Matt Taylor's shirt  (Read 6167 times)

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Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #50 on: November 20, 2014, 12:39:15 PM »
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.
This shirt is a manifestation of that sexism. It would not have happened in an environment where endemic sexism was not an issue. That is the entire point that those of us on this side of the conversation have been trying to make. The 'overshadowing' of the frankly-awesome achievement of the team? Has been coming from the other side. In fact, the feminist science sources I've been reading have given at least equal coverage to the actual work.

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.

From upthread, bolding mine:
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.

Offline Bloodied Porcelain

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2014, 01:08:49 PM »
This shirt is a manifestation of that sexism. It would not have happened in an environment where endemic sexism was not an issue. That is the entire point that those of us on this side of the conversation have been trying to make. The 'overshadowing' of the frankly-awesome achievement of the team? Has been coming from the other side. In fact, the feminist science sources I've been reading have given at least equal coverage to the actual work.

I'm going to answer your quote with the exact same quote, but the part that made me look at that not as an accusation/insistence that he meant it as a "sit down and shut up" argument:

Quote
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.

He implied that he personally hasn't seen the sexism involved in STEM research fields, and then went on to clarify that that is based on what he personally has seen and he could be wrong. That isn't "sit down and shut up it doesn't exist". Once again, you implying things in another's post that wasn't actually said.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #52 on: November 20, 2014, 01:23:21 PM »
I dunno, he's wearing a kilt and taking a break from his bagpipe to eat some haggis. I feel comfortable calling him a Scotsman. Whether or not he qualified it, it absolutely was more than a mere implication that this isn't a problem. One that you didn't address and then actively denied the existence of. Is deamonbane an example of literally all of the problems that have been occurring on that side of the argument? No. But he is a specific in-this-thread example of something you said does not exist.

That said... okay, maybe I have been characterizing your side of the discussion wrong. Exactly what do you think should be done, other than "stop talking about it"? (Which, I'll again point out, is repeated at greater volume and length than any of the original complaints.)

Offline Bloodied Porcelain

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #53 on: November 20, 2014, 01:35:09 PM »
I think you should be refocusing the energy you're putting in to complaining about a single man's shirt in to something actually productive and addresses a bigger, overarching problem.

  • Get behind pushes for toy companies to stop making "boy colors" and "girl colors" of "engineering" toys like Legos for longer than they survive popularity on facebook.
  • Write letters to the boards that decide on things like who gets awards in the STEM fields about the fact that women are actively left out of receiving these awards whenever possible.
  • Work on combating people like Snookie and Kim Kardashian as someone little girls should be looking up to and refocus them on empowering, intelligent women in the STEM fields.
  • Get with the non-profits that try to find ways to make STEM work more appealing to girls at a young age.
  • Volunteer to tutor young girls in science and math via programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters or your local school system or church if they offer such things.
  • Before you decide to jump on the outrage bandwagon, look at the issue in question and ask yourself if it's worth making a big deal over... if it will actually mean something positive at the end of it, or if it's just going to perpetuate the notion that all feminists are either overly sensitive or looking for a reason to complain.

    Most of these things take little to no money thanks to the internet and e-mail. They just require your time and your effort. Your time and your energy are tools you have at your disposal even if you have literally nothing else. Do something with it that will further your goals, not set them back.

    Unless, of course, your goal is to actively chase other feminists away from the title/cause or to make feminists in general seem obnoxious... at which point, carry on.

Offline Cycle

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2014, 01:45:03 PM »
I was being serious, just poorly informed. Working on that now, thanks for the link.

Can we go easy on the personal shots?  Especially given the quote above?  Thank you.


Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #55 on: November 20, 2014, 01:53:19 PM »
Right, okay, citing someone's actual words as an example of things being said is a personal attack, and the fact that I think the shirt is symptomatic of a much larger issue means I cannot possibly be doing anything else to address the problem. Got it. I'm out.

EDIT: Okay, I was being overly emotional and a bit ridic here. I'm sorry.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 02:20:28 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Bloodied Porcelain

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #56 on: November 20, 2014, 02:01:20 PM »
That's... not at all what I said. I never implied you're not doing anything else. You asked for examples of things I think should be done instead of complaining over a shirt, so I did. I'm confused as to how this is upsetting.  ???

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #57 on: November 20, 2014, 02:05:30 PM »


Might be worth taking five to note how cute ducklings are.

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #58 on: November 20, 2014, 02:05:53 PM »
I haven't heard or seen a single argument stating that here is no issue with sexism in STEM...
Just for the record, I made a misinformed question over the topic earlier in the thread, and following a link that was provided by a later poster, properly informed myself.

DUCKLINGS!

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #59 on: November 20, 2014, 02:14:42 PM »
That's... not at all what I said. I never implied you're not doing anything else. You asked for examples of things I think should be done instead of complaining over a shirt, so I did. I'm confused as to how this is upsetting.  ???
You said I, specifically, needed to "refocus the energy" I'm putting into "complaining about a single man's shirt" into a list of extremely basic 101-level stuff. That came off as... a little condescending, which was probably not helped by the prickliness of our conversation thus far. I'm sorry if I misread.

That said, I apparently wasn't clear either: There are people who do, in fact, see this shirt as a symptom of the problem and a microaggression in its own right. You claim that your side isn't just saying "sit down and shut up" about it, so: What would you have us do about this issue other than sit down and shut up?

Just for the record, I made a misinformed question over the topic earlier in the thread, and following a link that was provided by a later poster, properly informed myself.
And for the record, I'm not calling you out as misogynist or antifeminist - you were underinformed, and took action to correct that. My only point in citing you was that these words were in fact said.

Offline Bloodied Porcelain

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #60 on: November 20, 2014, 02:22:44 PM »
You said I, specifically, needed to "refocus the energy" I'm putting into "complaining about a single man's shirt" into a list of extremely basic 101-level stuff. That came off as... a little condescending, which was probably not helped by the prickliness of our conversation thus far. I'm sorry if I misread.

That said, I apparently wasn't clear either: There are people who do, in fact, see this shirt as a symptom of the problem and a microaggression in its own right. You claim that your side isn't just saying "sit down and shut up" about it, so: What would you have us do about this issue other than sit down and shut up?

Perhaps this is where our inherent issue is. You see it as an issue. I think seeing it as anything more than something worthy of a roll of the eyes is an overblown reaction by anyone aside from maybe his bosses, thus I don't think anything should be done about it. And even if it was something that could be rated as an "issue", it's such a miniscule one I still don't think anything should be done about it because it's not worth the effort it takes to scream about. It's a shirt some people don't like. Big whoop. Move on to something more important or at the very least something that could combat the issue from a more positive standpoint. Cause right now? All that I've seen out of the crowd (here and elsewhere) that are bothered by the shirt is overly negative.

And the reason why I offered what you call 101-level suggestions is because I don't know what your means are, but I have seen it pointed out that people are attacking little things like this because they don't feel they have the means to attack bigger issues so they'll leave those issues to those with more means than they have. While to some degree I can see the logic in that, it just strikes me as a "it's too hard" cop-out. Not necessarily what it is, but it certainly comes across that way. That said, I provided things that you can do with the bare minimum level of means: an internet connection, which you can generally get on most street corners for free these days.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 02:26:13 PM by Bloodied Porcelain »

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #61 on: November 20, 2014, 02:37:39 PM »
See... here's the problem I have. You don't see it as an issue, fine, don't do anything about it. But you made a claim that your side wasn't just saying "sit down and shut up" on this. When I asked what you'd rather we do about it, your answer was... sit down and shut up, with extra overtones of "reasonable dissent is histrionics". Did you see the examples of responses to the shirt that I linked upthread, including the one that initially attracted all the flack? Which of those constitutes "screaming" and "pitching a fit", exactly?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2014, 02:41:09 PM by Ephiral »

Offline Blythe

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #62 on: November 20, 2014, 02:39:13 PM »


Might be worth taking five to note how cute ducklings are.

For anyone getting frustrated, taking five and looking at the ducks is definitely a good idea right about now.

I note that I am impressed three ducks fit on one hand.  :-)

Offline Deamonbane

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #63 on: November 20, 2014, 03:00:23 PM »
Might I suggest as well...

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #64 on: November 20, 2014, 05:03:53 PM »
I'm going to take a step back from the shirt symptom with a little bit of broader picture.  Back in 'the day', it was considered unusual for girls to like, let alone be good at math and science.  There was even some since-discredited research saying that female brains were better at the humanities and male brains were better at the sciences.  As a result, there's been a substantial age-range of males that saw the sciences as their own personal clubhouse - possibly even a man-cave.  Add to that the fact that the people interested in the sciences tended towards the 'geek' and/or 'nerd' stereotypes, and there was pretty much the idea that no woman would even want to hang with that crowd.  And so there was no reason to be concerned about appearances.

This is what we are working to overcome.

A few months ago, there was an ad put out that yanked at my heart.
linked for child

From the video:  66% of fourth grade girls say they like math and science.  Only 18% of all college engineering majors are female.

When I was in college, I went to a 'women's college'.  I knew I wanted to be a math major since about 7th grade.  Some of my required classes were so small that the professors had to get special waivers or push them through as 'Directed Inquiries' to avoid having to cancel them for 'lack of interest'. 

Yes, things are changing.  There is more of a push to get girls interested in the STEM fields, but that has to start in the middle and high schools, if not earlier.  Parents have to stop teaching their kids that 'that's a boy thing' or 'girls don't do that', or 'boys will be boys'.  Even though they grew up being told those things.  The idea of astrophysics or any other lab being a 'boys' club' is from a previous generation, and will eventually die out if we can keep the older generations moving forward.

Part of the difficulty is going to be not yanking too hard as we do so.  Yanking causes people to pull back.  I'd wager that if someone had given Mr. Taylor a gentle nudge before the interview, he would have changed or covered the shirt, and we wouldn't be having this discussion - and it probably would have avoided all the negativity on all sides.  Mr. Taylor would have gotten a valuable lesson in public relations without being turned into some sort of tragic figure.

The comment has been made that 'no one saw anything unusual or inappropriate about Mr. Taylor's shirt' - and that this somehow puts all the onus on the team of scientists.  But I'd also like to point out that this was an interview conducted by a TV news station.  People that are in front of the public every day and have access to makeup and wardrobe teams.  Apparently none of them thought it worthwhile to call for a lab coat, or even a zip-up hoodie (which kind of ties in with the comments in another thread about female journalists).

Offline Kythia

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #65 on: November 20, 2014, 05:25:26 PM »
While I disagree with the news station doing anything (the media have enough control over what news is reported already, outright saying "why didn't you manipulate this news story in a different way.  You should have done" is problematic) I think this:

Part of the difficulty is going to be not yanking too hard as we do so.  Yanking causes people to pull back.  I'd wager that if someone had given Mr. Taylor a gentle nudge before the interview, he would have changed or covered the shirt, and we wouldn't be having this discussion - and it probably would have avoided all the negativity on all sides.  Mr. Taylor would have gotten a valuable lesson in public relations without being turned into some sort of tragic figure.

is exactly the point.  He never thought about it.  No one there did.  No one is suggesting that Dr Taylor murders prostitutes while laughing at pictures of crying women.  No one's suggesting he twirls his moustache while tying damsels to railway lines.  He, and no one else, thought of it.  Had they done so, there wouldn't have been a problem.  Someone giving that push, someone thinking of these issues, is all anyone is asking for.  But they didn't.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #66 on: November 20, 2014, 06:05:59 PM »
I think you should be refocusing the energy you're putting in to complaining about a single man's shirt in to something actually productive and addresses a bigger, overarching problem.

  • Get behind pushes for toy companies to stop making "boy colors" and "girl colors" of "engineering" toys like Legos for longer than they survive popularity on facebook.
  • Write letters to the boards that decide on things like who gets awards in the STEM fields about the fact that women are actively left out of receiving these awards whenever possible.
  • Work on combating people like Snookie and Kim Kardashian as someone little girls should be looking up to and refocus them on empowering, intelligent women in the STEM fields.
  • Get with the non-profits that try to find ways to make STEM work more appealing to girls at a young age.
  • Volunteer to tutor young girls in science and math via programs like Big Brothers, Big Sisters or your local school system or church if they offer such things.
  • Before you decide to jump on the outrage bandwagon, look at the issue in question and ask yourself if it's worth making a big deal over... if it will actually mean something positive at the end of it, or if it's just going to perpetuate the notion that all feminists are either overly sensitive or looking for a reason to complain.

    Most of these things take little to no money thanks to the internet and e-mail. They just require your time and your effort. Your time and your energy are tools you have at your disposal even if you have literally nothing else. Do something with it that will further your goals, not set them back.

    Unless, of course, your goal is to actively chase other feminists away from the title/cause or to make feminists in general seem obnoxious... at which point, carry on.
Okay... EVERY POINT on your list is a feminist issue that is being pushed, to some degree or another, by feminists. There's no need to "Refocus" because we're already doing alllll of that.

But here's the Rub.

Sexism is not just wage disparity. It's not just calling women cunts and telling them to get into the kitchen. It's not just giggling at a nude calendar while yelling for the girl in the next cubicle to take her shirt off so you can compare.

It is a subtle and pervasive systemic oppression based on how people think, speak, and react.

All of the "Little Things" that people in this thread have repeatedly said don't matter? Matter as much if not more than any of the "Big Issues" do you know why?

Because like the rebar in concrete they reinforce and support the problem.

It is through pervasive attitudes of sexism that men in STEM fields can more easily justify taking credit from female colleagues. It is through pervasive attitudes of sexism that men in Congress can believe that the Lily Ledbetter Act is not only unneeded but also too dangerous to allow to exist. It is through pervasive attitudes of sexism that men can justify ridiculous levels of political, economic, verbal, and even physical violence against women.

Fighting the effect without also fighting the cause is a worthless battle. And since we can't stop people from thinking or believing sexist shit the best we can hope for is to point out when people do or say sexist shit. It won't stop them from believing sexist stereotypes or thinking the women around them are lesser but it will help clear the social environment of that toxicity which could make the world just a little brighter.

And hopefully our kids, less exposed to public displays of casual sexism, won't have the same social reinforcement. That would make the fourth or fifth wave of feminism's job a hell of a lot easier.

Oh. Wait. You didn't seriously believe that feminists think we can fix all of sexism in our lifetime, did you? We're fighting against a massive system of toxicity. Unless there is a huge cultural reawakening instituted by Men we're still going to be fighting these battles after I'm rotting in a grave.

Cause and Symptoms. You don't just fight the Symptom.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #67 on: November 20, 2014, 08:44:04 PM »
I'm going to take a step back from the shirt symptom with a little bit of broader picture.  Back in 'the day', it was considered unusual for girls to like, let alone be good at math and science.  There was even some since-discredited research saying that female brains were better at the humanities and male brains were better at the sciences.

At my university I'm doing a double degree in Arts and Science (which means of course that all of my courses clash on the timetable and neither faculty talks to the other). This meant I got two orientation tours, one for each faculty. In the arts faculty the staff were almost all female whereas in the science faculty the staff were almost all male. When I go to my classes, if I ever suddenly forgot which class I was in, I could just look around. The science classes are mostly male students and the arts classes are around fifty/fifty maybe slightly more women.

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #68 on: November 20, 2014, 09:03:30 PM »
At my university I'm doing a double degree in Arts and Science (which means of course that all of my courses clash on the timetable and neither faculty talks to the other). This meant I got two orientation tours, one for each faculty. In the arts faculty the staff were almost all female whereas in the science faculty the staff were almost all male. When I go to my classes, if I ever suddenly forgot which class I was in, I could just look around. The science classes are mostly male students and the arts classes are around fifty/fifty maybe slightly more women.

The question is, nature or nurture?  If you could have talked to these students in their first few years of school before age 10 or so), what part of school would they have liked the best? 

Offline Caehlim

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #69 on: November 20, 2014, 09:14:08 PM »
The question is, nature or nurture?  If you could have talked to these students in their first few years of school before age 10 or so), what part of school would they have liked the best?

I'd expect it to naturally be close to 50/50. Men and women just aren't very different from one another naturally even if you look at averages, you'd expect women to like science just as much as men and vice verse with the arts. Something's discouraging women from doing science, and looking back at how many wonderful feats of science have been done by women (often in the face of significant opposition) that's really sad.

How much more would we know if we weren't discouraging half the population from contributing to science?

Offline Doomsday

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #70 on: November 20, 2014, 09:30:09 PM »
The amount of anti-feminist backlash caused by this issue is overwhelming compared to the level of criticism levied against Matt Taylor. As a member of several feminist groups on facebook, I didn't hear a peep about this until the internet exploded into faux outrage that Taylor was "Forced" to apologize for wearing that ridiculous shirt.

And I don't think it's right to excuse him just because of what he accomplished. We can congratulate him for what he did and still levy fair criticism against him. The line of logic that states, "He landed a probe on a comet, let him do what he wants!" is ridiculous and a slippery slope to me.

Offline Apple of Eris

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #71 on: November 20, 2014, 10:15:34 PM »
Personally, my take on it is he made a mistake. I doubt he was even consciously aware of the shirt he was wearing that day, and I am sure he didn't wear it to offend anyone.

But it did.

Did it offend any of his coworkers? I don't know, possibly. They may simply have been uncomfortable speaking up about it. Could it have offended any reporters sent to interview the man while he wore that. Possibly. I know I'd feel... well... a bit uncomfortable trying to talk to a man wearing that. But it offended several viewers, some of whom are undoubtedly European, and whom the ESA ultimately works for (in that they pay taxes and so forth).

Now, while I know the man works for the ESA I'm going to share a pretty typical definition of Sexual Harassment found in the policies of most American corporations and also government positions:

Quote
Sexual Harassment:
Sexual harassment includes any action or conduct that threatens or insinuates, either explicitly or implicitly, that an employee’s refusal to submit to sexual advances will adversely affect the employee’s continued employment, compensation, performance evaluations, advancement, assigned duties, or any other term or condition of employment. In addition, sexual harassment includes unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that demeans the dignity of an employee through insulting, intimidating, or degrading sexual remarks or conduct, or which has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or otherwise creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment may include a range of subtle and not so subtle behaviors and may involve individuals of the same or different gender. Depending on the circumstances, these behaviors may include, but are not limited to: unwanted sexual advances or requests for sexual favors; sexual jokes and innuendo; verbal abuse of a sexual nature; commentary about an individual’s body, leering, catcalls or touching; obscene comments or gestures; display or circulation in the workplace of sexually suggestive objects or pictures (including through e-mail or other electronic or mobile devices); and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

That shirt very well falls under the category of harassing material.

Please note that harassment doesn't just have to apply to people you work with, customers, suppliers, guests, etc can all be victims of harassment, and the policy covers harassment of and by those people as well!

Now I don't know the rules in Europe, but I'd assume they have something fairly similar, and I sincerely hope the scientist who wore that shirt thinks twice about wearing it again in the workplace, because if the ESA has a policy similar to the one above, that guy could lose his job, and that would be a shame, just like it's a shame he wore a shirt that took away from the achievements of the entire team at the Space Agency.


Offline Euron Greyjoy

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #72 on: November 20, 2014, 10:35:37 PM »
The sad thing about this whole story is the fact, that his FEMALE friend made him the shirt for his birthday. However, using typical feminist rhetoric is that the patriarchy, has taught women to hate themselves.


What if Mr. Taylor was wearing this shirt instead?

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Also am I the only one who thinks its ironic, that feminists are attacking Mr. Taylor for what he is wearing? It reminds me of another typical feminist retort.....

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

I wish I could trade in logic and reason, for professional victim hood. Its a fucking shirt. Mr. Taylor and his have made a colossal accomplishment, and feminists are all bent up out of shape over a shirt.

Offline Slywyn

Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #73 on: November 20, 2014, 10:42:24 PM »
"Those darn feminists if only they'd use logic and reason like us men!"

Yeah can we fucking not.

Offline Ephiral

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Re: Matt Taylor's shirt
« Reply #74 on: November 20, 2014, 10:45:19 PM »
The sad thing about this whole story is the fact, that his FEMALE friend made him the shirt for his birthday. However, using typical feminist rhetoric is that the patriarchy, has taught women to hate themselves.


What if Mr. Taylor was wearing this shirt instead?

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

Also am I the only one who thinks its ironic, that feminists are attacking Mr. Taylor for what he is wearing? It reminds me of another typical feminist retort.....

Spoiler: Click to Show/Hide

I wish I could trade in logic and reason, for professional victim hood. Its a fucking shirt. Mr. Taylor and his have made a colossal accomplishment, and feminists are all bent up out of shape over a shirt.
...reeeeally. You're resorting to fucking rape apologia to make your case. Well, you've certainly made the case that there are bigger issues than microaggressions, though I doubt it was in the way you intended.