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Woman slams sexist shirt; Twitter douchebags tell her to kill herself. Worst offender? A contributor to A Voice for Men

No girls allowed?
No girls allowed?

Very cool: We humans have landed a space probe on a goddamned comet!

Not cool:  when one European Space Agency dude gave an interview about the landing, he was wearing a shirt festooned with cheesecake images of scantily clad women.

Even less cool: when Atlantic magazine science writer Rose Eveleth pointed out that this choice of attire doesn’t exactly broadcast the message that women (other than scantily clad ones) are welcome in STEM, she received a torrent of abuse from angry Twitter dudes, including requests for her to kill herself.

The cherry atop this crap sundae? The nastiest Twitterer of the bunch, who not only went after Eveleth but her defenders as well, is a regular contributor to A Voice for Men.

The whole thing started off with a couple of tweets from Eveleth about the shirt. Here’s one of them:

https://twitter.com/roseveleth/status/532538957490561024

After this, the deluge:shirt5 shirt4 shirt3 shirt2 shirt1And those are just some of the harassing tweets Eveleth retweeted. (I’ve highlighted the explicit death wishes for your convenience.)

You’ll notice that one of the death wishes (“Please kill yourself”) comes from a fellow named Christopher Cantwell.

If you take a look at his Twitter profile, you’ll see that this self-described “Anarchist, Atheist, Asshole” and Bitcoin fan had similar advice for a number of others who found the shirt troubling.

To wit:

cant1 cant2 cant3 cant4 cant6 cant7

Cantwell has also been sharing some of his charming thoughts about women in STEM.

cant8 cant9

So how does A Voice for Men respond to this sort of behavior by one of their regular contributors? They repost his blog entry on the, er, controversy, deriding concerns about the shirt as “feminist hysteria” and arguing that the real reason more women aren’t in STEM fields is that, well, they’re just not as smart as he is.

No, really:

The reason you don’t see women in highly technical fields nearly as often as you see men is not because of sexism. It certainly isn’t because of Matt Taylor’s shirt. You can’t even blame this on education anymore, since more women attend college than men. The issue at hand is one of simple aptitude and the choices people make as a result of that aptitude.

You gals remember choices, right? I seem to recall you caring about those things once upon a time.

If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. A society needs leaders and followers. In men, we see very high IQs figuring things out and working out these complex ideas. They document them in easy-to-understand ways for those of lesser intelligence in society and make technology available to all of us. We also see these low IQs, which are more suited to, say, mining the resources that this technology requires and operating the machines the geniuses designed. Women, traditionally carrying the role of raising children and supporting the men who designed and operated the machinery, needed to be somewhere in the middle. They couldn’t well manage the many complex tasks their role in society required of them without being smarter than the worker drones, but there wasn’t any need for them to be super geniuses who could land spacecraft on comets hundreds of millions of miles away either. …

For those of us at the upper end of the IQ spectrum, we are sentenced to a lifetime of watching stupidity like this run rampant. We will watch in horror for all of eternity as idiots dominate the headlines with their hysteria, responsibility avoidance, and demands for state privilege disguised as “equality.” We’ll see brilliant men like Matt Taylor smeared as being the worst type of bigot, simply because he’s smarter than the people who accuse him.

Yeah, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would complain about sexism in STEM.

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andrea harris
6 years ago

OMG I’d missed he was a bitcoin fan, that’s hilarious. Is there anything stupid these dudes aren’t into?

Faint Praise
Faint Praise
6 years ago

Be sure to use WAM’s reporting tool. It’s been bringing the thunder, and MRAs/AVfM (and GamerGate, same diff) are already quite upset that their harassment-candy is being taken away.

https://womenactionmedia.wufoo.com/forms/wam-twitter-harassment-reporting-tool/

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

From Can’twell (and why yes, I prefer my spelling of his surname):

For those of us at the upper end of the IQ spectrum

Oh dude, so you got a high score from the FB quiz where everyone scores over 130.

Or did you go one better and not even bother with any test, but just self-categorise yourself into that section of IQ scores?

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

The splainy misogynist fuckwit brigade is out in strength on Pharyngula’s post about this skeevy creep, too.

Mewens
Mewens
6 years ago

“Remember, I’m good with numbers, so my ideas about genitals are obviously superior.” Got it.

In other news: Those vinyl suits in the photo are three kinds of amazing.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

For those of us at the upper end of the IQ spectrum, we are sentenced to a lifetime of watching stupidity like this run rampant. We will watch in horror for all of eternity as idiots dominate the headlines with their hysteria, responsibility avoidance, and demands for state privilege disguised as “equality.”

Because repeatedly telling someone you disagree with to kill themselves is how people “at the upper end of the IQ spectrum” argue their points. Manly STEM logic!

The second sentence there is so full of unintended irony I feel like my brain just exploded.

pallygirl
pallygirl
6 years ago

I didn’t notice the positioning of the woman in black depicted on his right sleeve before I went there to have a look, kitteh.

Some of their bloody body positions are extremely sexualised, along with the clothes.

sparky
sparky
6 years ago

And aren’t these the same folks who got all up in arms when Jessica Valenti posted a picture of herself in a “I bathe in male tears” shirt on Twitter?

Mewens
Mewens
6 years ago

OH man. When I was complimenting the “vinyl suits in the photo,” I meant the ones worn by the wee space explorers at the top of the post, not the ones on this space-head bloke’s shirt. Gah.

Nequam
Nequam
6 years ago

That is a tacky-ass shirt. I was expecting it to be pulp-style space babes, but that’s some straight-up Escher Girls shit.

anonny
anonny
6 years ago

Poor schmuck. He doesn’t have sex in real life. He’s had a professional triumph in real life. But no woman in sight. The knight at the end is supposed to kiss the girl, but the girl doesn’t appear. So he wears a decorated Tshirt.Have compassion.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/calm-your-tits-no.jpg

Why is it always the most rar-rar-ragey dudes who are forever telling WOMEN to calm down…and doing it in thousands and thousands of motherfucking words?

MaudeLL
6 years ago

@sparky
Yes, but in the case of Valenti, the message on the T-shirt was obviously not a joke; she really does have a male tear water system in her home.
Taylor, OTOH, is clearly a hipster with a special love for ironic/funny t-shirts!

Sorry, I was just using manly-mhra-logic.

davidknewton
davidknewton
6 years ago

What is this trend of “Haha, I’m an asshole, that’s just how I am” recently? Thanks for notifying me – I’ll make sure to avoid you.

ted the fed
ted the fed
6 years ago

I wonder if this guy even knows how devoutly this stupid theory was smacked down a century ago: http://psychclassics.asu.edu/Hollingworth/sexdiffs.htm

A key quote: “The first discussion of the comparative variability of the sexes bore on anatomical traits, and began about a century ago. The anatomist Meckel concluded on pathological grounds that the human female showed greater variability than the human male, “and he thought that since man is the superior animal and variation a sign of inferiority, the conclusion was justified.” Later, when anatomists and naturalists arrived at the conclusion that the male is more variable, variability came to be regarded as an advantage, a characteristic according the greatest hope for progress, and finally as the probable explanation of the fact that all the world’s greatest deeds of intellect have been the deeds of men.”

acrannymint
6 years ago

I have a BA in physics, a BS in Electrical Engineering and a MS in Computer Science. One of my college roommates has a PHD and is well known in the field of Human Genome Studies, Either one of us (but she could more damage) could take these guys

Jay Elmore
6 years ago

OMG I’d missed he was a bitcoin fan, that’s hilarious. Is there anything stupid these dudes aren’t into?

How dare you insult the good name of their Magic Internet Money! Don’t you know that when society collapses and all of the banks go belly up, the one currency that people will be able to agree on is the one that requires computers and the internet to work?

acrannymint
6 years ago

Disclosure the schools were Franklin and Marshall (physics – not exactly a heavy weight science school if you were not pre-med), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (EE – very much a heavy weight school) and Johns Hopkins University.

davidknewton
davidknewton
6 years ago

I’ll be honest, actually – when I first vaguely heard about the shirt, I thought that it was being made a bit of a bigger deal than it deserved – it was just a shirt, the man likes women and corsets and stuff but he definitely made a poor choice thinking it was okay to wear it on television. But now I see the tweet that started it all… that really didn’t make a big deal of it! It was the responses were completely disproportionate – and a reaction to the prevailing attitude shown by those feels entirely justified.

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Maude LL, good to see you – how are you?

kirbywarp
kirbywarp
6 years ago

If you think about it, this makes a lot of sense. A society needs leaders and followers. In men, we see very high IQs figuring things out and working out these complex ideas. They document them in easy-to-understand ways for those of lesser intelligence in society and make technology available to all of us. We also see these low IQs, which are more suited to, say, mining the resources that this technology requires and operating the machines the geniuses designed. Women, traditionally carrying the role of raising children and supporting the men who designed and operated the machinery, needed to be somewhere in the middle.

Sooooo…. Society, a thing that does things, needs leaders and followers, so it retroactively causes evolution, a thing that also does things, to make men both geniuses and idiots, then plops women in Ark B (secret reference) to do all the middle management.

Wow, I must be one of the stupid ones, because this guy’s genius is just way too overwhelming.

@Bina:

Why is it always the most rar-rar-ragey dudes who are forever telling WOMEN to calm down…and doing it in thousands and thousands of motherfucking words?

I think the human mind is like a strange attractor that, once it passes a critical point, plunges into whatever mindset it locked on to. Conspiracy theorists gather conspiracies like stamps; tedius, rage-inducing smug people gather even more rage-inducing traits, with Dunning and Kruger to put the final nails in the cofifn.

Master of the Boot
Master of the Boot
6 years ago

I bet you anything that scientist didn’t mean anything by his sexist shirt. More or less he probably didn’t read into what the shirt meant.

That out of the way, it doesn’t give these shitheads the right to shit all over women the way they do or to make death threats over basically nothing.

The woman was well within her rights to criticise that shirt. These idiots had no right to make death threats. Fuck, most of these idiots probably can’t even spell comet, let alone get in on complicated space related sciences.

M. the Social Justice Ranger
M. the Social Justice Ranger
6 years ago

Even better is their “Defense” for this garbage – “Telling women to kill themselves or otherwise die isn’t exactly a death threat, therefore it’s totally okay and if you don’t agree then you should also kill yourself or otherwise die!”

*beats head on wall*

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

@davidknewton
That’s exactly it. That’s so often how it is. Feminists want to have a discussion about how the world is and what can be done to make things better, and misogynists flip out that feminists dare to even speak.

aebars
6 years ago

Thank you, David, for an article about something that isn’t GamerGate.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

On a more positive note, XKCD has a cool comic about the landing

http://xkcd1446.org/

AbsintheDexterous
6 years ago

I’m looking at the picture, and it looks like he’s actually wearing a polo type shirt underneath it. He couldn’t just wear that when he was being interviewed?

I’m imaging him in front of his closet going, “Yeah, the black polo’s okay, but this is MONUMENTAL! I HAVE to wear something to spice it up. Oh, hell, it’s my good luck shirt – I’ll wear that! That’ll be awesome.” Only because that is not a shirt that you accidentally put on or you put on because it’s the cleanest shirt you own, with the exception being that you own hundreds of shirts like that.

I’m not saying it’s right – I’d completely avoid any person wearing such a shirt and at best think that someone is privileged or clueless. At worst, they’re an asshole.

Also, that shirt is what I imagine when I picture some dude pounding out MRA screeds. Especially that telemarketer dude who said that women in high-powered positions never work.

katz
6 years ago

then plops women in Ark B (secret reference)

I got it 🙂

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

The woman was well within her rights to criticise that shirt. These idiots had no right to make death threats. Fuck, most of these idiots probably can’t even spell comet, let alone get in on complicated space related sciences.

And I read her tweet as light-hearted mockery. Nothing to get upset about, in other words. Unless, of course, one is actively invested in keeping STEM free of all female voices, especially those who point out the errors in a light, mocking manner.

seraph4377
6 years ago

I bet you anything that scientist didn’t mean anything by his sexist shirt. More or less he probably didn’t read into what the shirt meant.

Maybe not. Probably not. But that’s a problem in its own right. Even if there’s no explicit malice involved, it’s still unthinkingly privileged nerd-boy behavior that creates a hostile work environment for any girls that enter the clubhouse.

(It’s also unprofessional as all unholy fuck to do an interview in it, but that’s another issue.)

The real question comes when someone points it out. Does he apologize and change it? Or does the explicit malice begin at that point?

Leisha Young
Leisha Young
6 years ago

I’m utterly convinced that some of these guys are full blown psychopaths…Their self-delusion is unbelievable and their self-estimation is just blown way out of proportion.

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

I bet you anything that scientist didn’t mean anything by his sexist shirt. More or less he probably didn’t read into what the shirt meant.

Yeah, same as he “didn’t mean anything by” describing the probe as “sexy but not easy.”

That’s evidence enough for me that he’s at best mindlessly sexist, and that not one senior person in that group thought to stop him wearing a horribly inappropriate costume. He’d be reprimanded or possibly fired for creating a hostile workplace in any company that didn’t have its head up its arse. It’s just one more of the endless examples of sexism that drive women away from STEM fields.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

I think the human mind is like a strange attractor that, once it passes a critical point, plunges into whatever mindset it locked on to. Conspiracy theorists gather conspiracies like stamps; tedius, rage-inducing smug people gather even more rage-inducing traits, with Dunning and Kruger to put the final nails in the cofifn.

Well, that’s certainly one way of looking at it; see also Nietzsche, “Whoever fights monsters…”, etc. Personally, though, I was thinking more along the lines of how much irony is lost on the ironic. Because if these dudes style themselves as Voices of Reason Beating Down Unreason, they need a mirror, and badly.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

And aren’t these the same folks who got all up in arms when Jessica Valenti posted a picture of herself in a “I bathe in male tears” shirt on Twitter?

Aw, you took the words right out of my mouth – or my keyboard I guess.

I bet you anything that scientist didn’t mean anything by his sexist shirt. More or less he probably didn’t read into what the shirt meant.

That’s probably true. Of course that he didn’t even think this shirt might cause offense when millions of people saw it on TV/internet is such an expression of male privilege. I can’t say I find him innocent in this whole thing just because he’s not bad as the people sending out “go kill yourself” tweets. Hopefully he’ll take a look at the kind of people who defending him, decide it’s not company he wants to keep and think about his actions more in the future.

weirwoodtreehugger
6 years ago

Drat. Ninja’d again!

Shiraz
Shiraz
6 years ago

Um, This cantwell person, is he even in STEM himself? He seems to have claimed the fields as his own because he’s a man.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

I’m really not buying the idea that there exists an intelligent adult man who’s never before encountered the idea that women find public displays of gratuitous T&A imagery to be crass and inappropriate in a professional context. This man does have access to the internet, yes? Presumably he has encountered a newspaper at some point in his life?

I don’t think it’s that he didn’t realize that women would find the shirt offensive, it’s more that he’s used to operating in a culture in which women are punished for complaining about overt displays of sexism, and probably assumed that the same sort of teeth-grindingly pissed off but unable to say so response would be forthcoming from women in the culture at large too.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Um, This cantwell person, is he even in STEM himself? He seems to have claimed the fields as his own because he’s a man.

I highly doubt it. His crap reeks of bad science, right down to the characterization of women as “estrogen-based parasites”. Which makes it sound more like leeches who feed off the blood of pregnant women, actually.

Kim
Kim
6 years ago

I don’t think it’s that he didn’t realize that women would find the shirt offensive, it’s more that he’s used to operating in a culture in which women are punished for complaining about overt displays of sexism, and probably assumed that the same sort of teeth-grindingly pissed off but unable to say so response would be forthcoming from women in the culture at large too.

QFT.
Just what I was trying and failing to put into letters.

grumpyoldnurse
grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

I don’t care if he knew it was appropriate or not – the fact that this is an adult type human male with a real education and career says that a shirt like that should not even be on his radar as part of his real grown-up work costume. What’s even worse is that his co-workers let him do an interview wearing it. Where the Hell is everyone else’s head?

Also, it seems that the ragey Twitter tweetles are making a much bigger deal out of it than the women who are calling Dr. Insensitive on his poor wardrobe choices in the first place. Who tells someone to kill themselves over saying “bad shirt choice, d00d”? Oh, right, I forgot. 🙁

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Also, I can’t help noticing how many of them bothered to tell her how “unattractive” she is. Which makes me wonder how many of them need their eyes examined, and also stinks of projection.

And if they’re such rational beings, why the hell do they even care what she looks like?

grumpyoldnurse
grumpyoldnurse
6 years ago

Oops! Ninja’d while I was toning down my wall of rage.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

Same shit as the dude who suggested that women who don’t want to be catcalled carry guns in the other thread, different day. Men wear shit like that as a way of thumbing their noses at the idea that they should give a shit about women’s sensibilities. His coworkers probably thought he was being a brave rebel, because they exist in the same subculture he does, and both he and they probably thought that nobody would dare call him out on it because look, he did a thing! And then of course someone did, so she must be punished, because how fucking dare women remind them of the fact that no, actually, outside of their little subcultural bubble that shit doesn’t fly any more?

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

Even within their little bubble, that shit is becoming untenable. They’ve probably had pushback from women against that sort of thing before, and this may be just their little way of thumbing their noses at it. Or reclaiming the ground before they lose it again, this time for good.

cassandrakitty
cassandrakitty
6 years ago

It reminds me of the research that shows that when women first enter traditionally male professions it’s common for their male coworkers to suddenly plaster porn all over the place as a way of marking their territory and making it clear that the women aren’t welcome, like dogs peeing on a lamppost.

kittehserf - MOD
6 years ago

Their essential message to women is “you exist to be fucked” however they express it.

KathleenB
KathleenB
6 years ago

Were there no pre event memos sent out, detailing proper, professional attire? No one on site looked at that hideous shirt and said, ‘Not quite the image we’re looking to project, just wear the polo’? This was a big fucking deal, the kind of event where you want to make yourself, your colleagues and your employer look as good as you possibly can. That shirt made him look like an ass, and probably embarrassed the ESA quite a bit.

Bina
Bina
6 years ago

The message is “You exist ONLY to be fucked, and I refuse to tolerate you here unless I get to fuck your ass all the way out the door.”

Which is, of course, highly illogical. But, shhhh, only women are ruled by their hormones!

thebewilderness
thebewilderness
6 years ago

They will say it was a joke. Just like when they humped you in the elevator and put the porn on your computer. Learn to take a joke. Or maybe it was a compliment. Learn to take a compliment.
At some point if enough women are in the workplace they feel safe standing up to this sort of constant harassment. It is hard though. You know that they are still talking about your fuckability quotient behind your back even when they no longer feel secure in their ability to give you daily updates on their boner status.

trippletrap
trippletrap
6 years ago

@Leisha Young Please avoid the ableism, please. Framing these people as “psychopaths” is essentially saying “if someone is a massive, death threat sending, logic defying, utterly incomprehensible douchebag, that must mean they’re crazy!” Many with mental conditions go throughout their day without sending death threats, being misogynists, and being a total jerk. Many who have minds people would consider normal spew a considerable amount of bile. Also, when you call these guys “psychopaths”, it removes any real sense of responsibility for their actions, much in the way some justify male sexual harassers and rapists by saying “they’re not able to control themselves”. I can assure you, if these fellas wanted to not be jerks, they really, really could. But they’re not, because apparently not being a jerk is just too much work.

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