Skip to content


I actually emphasize with the position that the shirt is just pulpy comic women shooting guns. Yes, they are curvy. No, they are not nude. And no, I don’t in any way relate to these comic book characters. So I don’t feel objectified, and instead I come away frustrated over this whole kerfuffle.

I really don’t want prudish, Puritanical types who judge people based on their clothes running the show. This clothes policing is not that far from slut-shaming women who choose to wear tight or revealing clothes.

And saying that the shirt discourages girls from entering STEM fields, which I’ve also seen tossed out like a grenade during discussions of this issue is WAY out there. That’s a serious, pretty paranoid leap to make.. Frankly, if more young *people* feel discouraged from entering STEM fields after this debacle, it’s more likely to be because they saw Dr. Taylor’s singular scientific accomplishment being treated as less important than his wardrobe..

“Yes, they are curvy. No, they are not nude.”

But they are heavily sexualized, and given the way our society often prioritizes women’s sex appeal over their other skills, it bears remark. As a woman working in tech who has been told that her achievements have more to do with her gender and her looks than her abilities, I was pretty dismayed that nobody thought to tell him that the shirt was, at the least, incredibly unprofessional. You may think it’s paranoid for some of us to think this contributes to an environment where women are discouraged from applying, and if we saw anything close to gender parity in STEM fields, I might agree with you. But we don’t, so the messages we send about what role women play in scientific accomplishments really matters.

That said, this in no way diminishes the importance of this incredible achievement. I thought Dr. Taylor’s apology was very gracious, and I look forward to all the other great work I’m sure he’ll continue to do in the future.

I think the main problem with his attire and his phrasing was that it was unprofessional. However, this brings up what to me is the more disturbing thing: that while the shirt didn’t make me feel objectified either, it spoke to me loud and clear that he’s okay with objectifying (at LEAST some) women to his colleagues and the public. *That* is the thing that worries me about joining an organization in a STEM field: the boys’ club culture. While I’ve already had some decidedly unpleasant experiences as a physics major in a department of mostly men, usually it’s just a few outspoken individuals. Most people have been just fine. The problem in a work environment is, often the outspoken members drive the culture. Also, he’s not someone I would want as my boss if that’s the way he behaves in a professional environment–I’d worry about how he’d handle my evaluations, among other things.

I like the comic – it’s hilarious – but I’m not sure what the shirt reference is from.

The shirt brought back some memories for me. My first job out of college, in the mid 1980s, was with a six-office firm in our area, with nine partners, all male. One of the “hip” young partners had a poster from the movie “Heavy Metal” hanging in his office – the one with the woman clad in strips of black leather, riding a sort of dragonlike beast. Now, I like the movie, and that woman plays a strong role in it. But she’s still dressed for the guys, and sitting through meetings which were never less than three-quarters male, in a room dominated by that poster, was always an uncomfortable feeling. I’d have hoped we’d have developed a little more awareness in the past 30 years.

The comet guy wasn’t being a sexist; he was being a Dilbert. Socially clueless. Yes, unprofessional; yes, bad taste and manners; yes, someone should have said “you gonna wear that?!” I guess is that he picked the brightest colored shirt in his closet. If it had been a garish plaid then only the fashion police would have complained.

Fashion policing is for the Marketing Department; but Dilberts work in the Engineering Department, where they get things done, rather than make them look good. Sure he had a wardrobe malfunction, but not a spacecraft malfunction.

Ever notice how Dilbert’s (only) female coworker is always trying to “control her fist of death”?

Can you imagine how much more productive she would be if she didn’t have to devote any of her mental energy to doing that?

Perhaps the guy who knows not to wear a dumbass shirt to work (or own a dumbass shirt) knows hwo to make a lander that doesn’t bounce. Or maybe we should hire a girl who does.

Mind = blown.

Alice hates everything, which certainly includes her socially-inept co-workers; but she has a particularly warm spot in her heart for the pointy-haired boss and the bullet-headed CEO. Think how much more productive she’d be if she could trust them to reward her for her efforts.

Good fashion sense and cutting-edge technology are not well-correlated skill sets.

Dr. Taylor’s wardrobe malfunction was the gift of his best friend’s wife. Go complain to her.

I see a series of Dilbert cartoons in this. Someone should alert Scott Adams.

You seriously don’t see the difference between an ugly shirt and a sexist shirt?

The term is “willfully obtuse”. Good day, sir.

Sure I see the difference between an ugly shirt and a sexist shirt. The first is accused of bad aesthetics; the second is accused of bad politics. But in both cases the righteous accusers are self-appointed.

Your accusation is against the woman who gave that shirt as a gift.

There’s a difference between giving a shirt like that as a (most likely joke) gift, and wearing it to an event like this. Giving it is mildly amusing. Wearing it is either deliberate, or just massively clueless. Both are… eh. Not good.

You’re quite right, I vote clueless.

Yea after she gave him the shirt she zapped him with a stupid ray that made him wear it.

I’m still extremely curious why the fuck you felt the need to loudly announce that A WOMAN gave it to him. At least some semblance of an explanation of why that’s relevant would be pretty awesome.

I can’t believe this whole conversation has gone on without anyone mentioning that Scott Adams is massively sexist.

Scott Adams on the naturalness of rape and how we should ease up on men’s natural instincts:

Scott Adams on the best strategy being to treat women like children and the mentally handicapped:

More sexist from Scott Adams:

Guy is a raging misogynist.

You’re right, Scott’s a jerk. He says so himself. But good manners are not required satirical cartooning.
In his “defense”, let me point out that his misogyny is a subset of his misanthropy.
If Scott’s flawed, then is his creation Alice a reliable source of insight into women’s issues?

Can we please get back to the comet guy? The one whose team landed a spacecraft on a comet? Or is clothing more important? How superficial!

Hey pal, when I was growing up in brooklyn we had some names for guys who hid behind women when they got called on their bullshit. I’m not going to type those names on a feminist blog, but if you want to find me I’ll let you know to your face. I use my real name here, shouldn’t be too hard. Until then, how about you sit down and shut up and let the grownups talk.

Apologies to the host, but this guy is starting to wear thin.

Dear Mo: we have here a KISA; a Knight In Shining Armor. His challenge is brave and valiant, though random.
What is the third-wave feminist view of knights in shining armor?

As for myself, I’m a critic. I don’t mind conflict as much as inanity. Why fear to offend when the universe itself injures?

All right, if Scott won’t do, then how about “The Hunger Games”? Shall we judge a BeeTee by Effie Trinket standards?

Dude, nobody cares about your butthurt. You are the only one who pretends that anybody ever said that some dude’s shirt is more important than the comet landing. I am in school for stem now. When I get a job I don’t want to work with only guys. If you don’t believe that there is a history of minimizing and marginalizing women in stem, gtfo and stfu and do some reading. It is not our job to educate you. In fact I already regret wasting 1.5 minutes typing this. For god’s sake stop typing and start reading.

I stand corrected. His tacky shirt was _almost_ as important as the comet landing.

I’ve taught math at a community college for decades now. In my job I deal with every social group except the rich. All struggle, all are marginalized, partly by gender and ethnicity, but mostly by class. Down in the working class, social justice is mostly a matter of hours, wages, benefits, conditions and job security.

Mo: note his motivation; he wants to work with women. He likes women; he wants them around. That’s perfectly valid, and sincere, and even sweet, but as I’m sure you know, there are potential complications. The trouble with a knight in shining armor is that he needs a code of chivalry which gives him a real chance of getting to Yes. Otherwise the deal’s off!

Last hint you’re going to get from me. That shirt was a fashion faux pas the way this was a fashion faux pas

Mo: See what I mean? KISA. Valiant, sincere, passionate, belligerent.

If wearing a tacky shirt is like inciting to race riot, then does the equation work the other way around? Is inciting to race riot like wearing a tacky shirt?

I ask because there is rioting in Ferguson today, incited by a grand jury’s failure to indict Michael Brown’s killer. Due to their blatant racism, a murderer walks free, and the town is on fire.

But at least they didn’t wear tacky shirts while undermining the rule of law. Tell me; if they had indicted the killer, but worn inappropriately sexy shirts while doing so, would that have been better? Or worse? Or just the same?

Ha ha stupid troll doesn’t understand analogies, is stupid, is a troll

I understand analogy; but I also understand appropriateness and timing, which you do not. Comparing racial incitement to bad clothing… right on the eve of the Ferguson riots… how clueless.

Speaking of clueless: a Die Hard clip? For a Jane Austen feminist website? Really?! Way to testosterone-up the comments section, dudebro!

Ha ha Stupid Troll elects himself Chief of Feminist Tone Police, motion is carried and seconded (by Stupid Troll).

Note to management; I hope I’m not wearing out my welcome, but this guy is just too funny. Please let me know when it gets old and I’ll stop.

It’s so cute that you don’t think women like things like Die Hard. You’re the one trying to Knight In Shining Armour, and you can fuck right off. Action movies aren’t just for men, and women can like Jane Austen whilst still enjoying other genres.

Also, just FYI, trying to use what’s happening in Ferguson to silence feminist discussion may be the grossest thing I have ever seen a troll do. Well done. You are the armpit of humanity.

Rhube: I stand corrected, tastes do indeed differ; so some women like Die Hard. But some do not: a Google search of “‘Die Hard with a vengeance’ misogyny” yields 13,600 hits. So it is problematic for Sir Dudebro to post it on this website. He presumed upon Mo’s tastes; an act of domination.

I cited Ferguson to critique Sir Dudebro’s derailing of a sexist-wardrobe discussion into a race-war rant.

And thank you for making the women’s alienation be _articulate_ this time.

Not always necessary to be articulate.

“Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”


I see you your Wittgenstein quote, and raise you with:
“Nothing will come of nothing.”
– Shakespeare, “King Lear”.

Haha a leatherman quote! Usable in any situation in reference to anything! Thanks, capt. vague!

You are quite right; let me expand the quote for the benefit of those who are slow of understanding.

Shakespeare wrote, “Nothing will come of nothing. Speak again.”

In this context, it is a skeptical retort to Wittgenstein’s mysticism.

Whatever Wittgenstein was, he was no mystic. Now we can add philosophy to the vast number of things the Stupid Troll is ignorant of.

“Wittgenstein mysticism” on Google search got 137,000 hits, including these quotes from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus:

“It is not how things are in the world that is mystical, but that it exists.” (6.44)
Variant translation: The mystical is not how the world is, but that it is.
Original German: Nicht wie die Welt ist, ist das Mystische, sondern dass sie ist.

“There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.” (6.522)

Oh, sweetie, try Wittegenstein and just about anything else and you’ll get way more. He’s one of the most influential philosophers of all time. And he was (at the time of writing the Tractatus, anyway) a *logical positivist*. Logical positivism is verificationist position that the only meaningful statements are those open to empirical verification or which are analytically true (true by virtue of the meaning of the terms involved, e.g. ‘All bachellors are unmarried men’). To put it in layman’s terms: if it’s not a logical true of demonstrable by science it’s meaningless.

Also, selectively quoting the Tractatus is hilarious. That Wittgenstein wrote a proposition does not entail he endorsed it, many are presented for our consideration and provocation, not mere acceptance.

Wittgenstein was a logical positivist, but with mystical tendencies, enough so to alarm Russell. Wittgenstein got over it, mostly, but the quotes cited above stand, and speak for themselves.

To recap the root of this thread: I praised Mo for making her female characters articulate this time. Sir Dudebro of the Shiny Armor defended feminine muteness by quoting a philosopher to the effect that some things are unspeakable. I retorted by quoting from the Bard to the effect that silence is useless.

Since then we’ve discussed the history of philosophy; which is not relevant to Mo’s artistry. I say that Mo is a talented artist and a budding vaudevillian, specializing in the buffoon/straight-man shtick. The Web provides her with an endless supply of young-male buffoonery to react to; which leaves writing the female straight-man to her.

That part’s hard. The straight-man must walk a delicate balance; she can’t be rude, or mutely enraged, or smugly inarticulate; for that’s unfunny and the straight-man is a clown too; the _apparently_ logical clown. The straight-man’s buffoonery is visible to philosophers and poets, but not dudebros.

Only a CC math instructor would think that the number of Google hits is a good piece of supporting evidence in a philosophical debate.

Wittgenstein used the term “mysticism” to denote anything he considered outside the scope of philosphy and therefore unworthy of investigation, much like I can admit that the Stupid Troll has a thought process without actually caring what it is.

I love liberal feminists. They spit on anyone who complains about pornography, prostitution, physical and sexual abuse in BDSM, the patriarchy, the coercive and medically untested gender reassignment of children, but they get enraged about a t-shirt. Good work, idiots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *