Monthly Archives: November 2014

People deterred from STEM fields by Matt Taylor’s t-shirt and the pointless debate it’s created


A public poll this morning has shown fewer graduates of science, technology, engineering and medicine (STEM) subjects would consider a career in the field following the debate over Dr. Matt Taylor’s clothing choice for a press conference yesterday.

The scientist was one of the key figures involved in the Rosetta space mission, which landed a probe on a comet for the first time in recorded history (and likely in unrecorded history too). Yesterday in a press conference he wore a t-shirt depicting scantily-clad women firing guns, which stirred controversy on the internet for being sexist and perpetuating misogynistic attitudes in the science industry. These in turn are threatening to put women off from entering the male-dominated field.

A poll of 1500 people consisting of whoever was awake at 10am GMT on a Sunday showed that the number of STEM graduates who’d consider doing a PhD or post doctorate dropped to 45%, compared to 64% before the press conference. Among the reasons cited was the fear of being accused of being a misogynist unless they accepted without any debate the opinions of people who claim to speak on behalf of all the oppressed demographics in the world. Poll participants were particularly put off by the idea that they would be unable to refute an argument based on its merits when it would literally be their fucking job as scientists to do just that, just because it originated from a particular person.

One of the few people who could be arsed to use the box reserved for additional comments added: “I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to suggest that maybe there was an overreaction to a given sexist event and instead of being told why I’m wrong I’ll be told to check my white privilege, tattoo “SHITLORD” on my forehead or something rational and thought-provoking like that”.

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