A small incident in science and feminism

Monday, 19 July 2010 22:46 by salim

A few days ago, a self proclaimed atheist writing a self professed atheist blog (whose link is purposefully excluded from this post) came out with a list of 15 sexiest scientists.

He probably wanted to have a fleeting fame. Apparently he actively sought opinions from the people on the list, asking them, are you offended!

Since I am an uptight nerd, i will not be using nor repeating any of the right adjectives given to this person. However, I will list a bunch of posts that looks at it from a larger perspective of feminism.

I want to comment on two specific things. Over at rambling perfectionist, this guy laments that according to the “feminists” there is no way one can escape the sexist label. My answer to that kind of argument is that, men are by default, sexists and it takes a lot of effort to be not one.

The other is about feeling sexual desirability at the sight of a woman.

There are several occasions when I felt uneasy because the person I am professionally interacting with is perceived by me as sexually attractive. I do not know if female professionals feel that way or feel it as frequently as I do.

Someone in these posts talk about silencing as an intentional failure to recognize the communicators intent. It is very natural for men to do. The history and the reinforcement of status quo by media constantly works to reinforce this tendency. The result, most men cannot imagine why a woman should refuse sexual advances!

One of the aspects discussed in these posts is about how female scientists should dress. It was funny that we have to discuss “how to dress properly to work” at scienceblogs! I was surprised to see many women have a “practical” approach in the sense that, they chose casual, mostly gender neutral (jeans and shirt, jacket) attire so as not to cause an additional issue to handle at work. Which sadly is true, as I stated above, I might find someone sexually attractive if they come in enhancing their sexual desirability. So, it is easier for me to support the idea of “dressing properly” for work and dress to your fill during weekend days away from work. But, that is just reinforcing the patterns.

As a man, I have absolutely no say in this regard. But, there is something I can do about it. That is to reinforce the fact that, all women are sexually uninterested in me unless otherwise they explicitly states it in no unclear terms! Most of the time I will require signed documentation, but during the lean days, just a polite “would you like to have intercourse with me?” would suffice.

Here are the posts I found interesting in this debate.

  1. Sheril Kirshenbaum
  2. SeXy Science- You’re Doing It Wrong by rocketscientista
  3. Because You Think Being A Girl Is Degrading by Nerdista
  4. Sexism and Objectification by ramblingperfectionist 
  5. I have been objectified! by PZ Myers
  6. If You Think I’m Sexy And You Like My Data by SheThought.com
  7. Hot Scientist Babes Gate by Physioprof
  8. Save us from the armchair philosopher with a blog. by Janet D. Stemwedel
  9. Top 15 science hotties and labia-punching by Evil Monkey
  10. Sex(ism) in Science by AmoebaMike

Fallacy of "Pro" Life

Saturday, 19 July 2008 12:57 by salim


Over zealous, and highly dramatized "concern" about "life" is one of the hallmarks of American Conservatism. A strong aversion to women's rights, especially reproductive rights is shared equally by both Christianity and Islam.

Bush administration has demonstrated their unwavering support for the religious right by issuing a regulation that defines abortion so broadly that it includes a wide range of contraception method including IUD as a form of abortion. This is outrageous.


Hllary has a strong statement and urges everybody to go to her new website (hillpac.com) to sign a petition, but the website is still in its infancy. Too bad.

I will look out for more links on the story and actions.

Here is the Reuter Story