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Sexism in the blogosphere

  1. Aug 31, 2007 #1
    Blogger Tommaso talks about Lisa Randall's looks and gets harsh reactions. I don't see the problem. What do you think?

    read here
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2007 #2

    arivero

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    Still trying to undestand the problem. Not to deny it, because it is obvious, from the reactions, that there is a problem.
    1) It is wrong because it is against the handbook. This is sort of tautologic, because it does not address why the handbook alerts against this kind of comments in the first place
    2) Women can feel it to be offensive. This is even worse than 1, generically: non informative and sexist at the same time ("Be kind to women, guy"). But a related one is
    3) It is insinuated that the speaker, and female speakers generally, is using "Women Weapons". From the context it is clear that this possibility if not happening in Dorigo's post. But it could explain why this kind of comments are discouraged as a rule; instead of deeper text analysis, a plain tabu does the work.
    Probably the issue of Women Weapons is specially sensitive for women having, rationally, rejected to use such weapons. Now, my experience is that herd pressure usually nullifies this weaponery during undergraduate, actually leaving women in a worse position (they can not use male-to-male "comradeship" weapons).
    4) It just feels so. This is a very interesting thing, if really it is a feeling and not a trained reaction in categories 1 or 2. There are real politics going on, and one must distinguish between sexism (promotion of unequality via a sexual bias) and "Male-ism", promotion of a hierarchical structure in the lines of the alpha-male of primate species. Note that sexual equality can allow for Male-ism, letting a female to be in the first ladders of the pyramid, even to be an alpha-male, and still keeping the sexual differentiation. Here one can tell that Dorigo's blog is probably the flattest, ahierarchical, of the blogs being runned by proffesional physicists.
     
  4. Aug 31, 2007 #3

    Moonbear

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    In a blog, I don't see it as a big deal. People blog about whatever they want, and there are no requirements for professionalism. If someone wants to blog about a "hot" physicist, how is that any different than blogging about a "hot" actress or actor? If someone finds someone else attractive and wants to make that public knowledge through their blog, that's their prerogative.

    Where it would overstep the boundaries into sexism would not be in a blog, but if it were to appear in a serious publication reporting on the event (we're not talking People magazine's best and worst dressed columns here). And, the reason it's not okay is that they'd NEVER talk about a man's appearance as more important than the content, or even as a mild distraction from the content. If they wrote about men the same way, it wouldn't be sexist: "He appeared at the podium, charmingly handsome in his black, pinstriped Armani suit, wingtip shoes and Rolex watch. At the opening of the lecture, he posed three questions to the audience..."

    I've seen a few other stories where undue attention is given to women's attire and appearance rather than to the content of their talk or interview, but those weren't blogs.

    The common theme in all of them, however, is the tone of the description is usually one of surprise or awe that someone could be physically attractive AND intelligent. It just shows the bias of the writer toward assuming the two traits are mutually exclusive for some reason, at least for women (since they never express the same surprise about men). Mostly, it just speaks poorly for the writer and his experiences...perhaps he has been overly isolated in his office to have his hormones kick into overdrive and forget to write about the content of the talk rather than his distraction with her appearance. What normal person notices what necklace a speaker is wearing, or even IF they are wearing a necklace?

    But, as I said, if he wants to blog about it, he's just showing the world what he was thinking during the talk, and it wasn't about the content of the talk. Perhaps he just got bored during the talk and started taking notice of details of her attire rather than doing what everyone else does, which is to start working on the latest Sudoku puzzle or jotting down their to-do list for the next day...most people don't admit to that publicly though. :wink:
     
  5. Aug 31, 2007 #4

    ZapperZ

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    Darn it! And I was thinking of starting a photo submission on my own blog of the hot and sexy physicists (both male and female) to dispel the "nerd" misconception!

    :)

    Zz.
     
  6. Aug 31, 2007 #5
    In fact, that too has happened to Randall!

    http://backreaction.blogspot.com/2007/08/sexist.html


    Actually, based on comments left in the blog and other places in the blogosphere, it appears that apart from the first paragraph or two, the rest of article was quite interesting, to the specialists, at least.
     
  7. Aug 31, 2007 #6
    You know, I'm willing to bet that the majority (or even the vast majority) of the people who are saying this is offensive to women are, infact, men. The fact is, guys in general just don't understand what offends most women. As a guy, I can tell you I wouldn't be offended if women talked about me in this way. I'd be willing to bet many women feel complemented, even though saying such a thing goes against the "professionalism" handbook, and perhaps social norms.

    Even more importantly, is Lisa Randall herself offended by this? Besides, I'm sure she got this type of attention from men since she was a teenager and is probably capable of blowing it off.
     
  8. Aug 31, 2007 #7
    Well, I was going to start a website called http://www.sexyphysicists.com/

    Maybe we can coordinate.
     
  9. Aug 31, 2007 #8

    George Jones

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    I know who Math Is Hard would nominate.
     
  10. Aug 31, 2007 #9

    ZapperZ

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    Sure.. but first, we need a lot of contributors! :)

    Zz.
     
  11. Aug 31, 2007 #10

    Math Is Hard

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    That cutie pie, Alex Filippenko? you betcha! :!!) *sigh* If I wrote a blog about him, it would be completely sexist. :approve:
     
  12. Aug 31, 2007 #11

    Doc Al

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    OK, OK... let me just find my speedos. Form a line, ladies....
     
  13. Aug 31, 2007 #12

    ZapperZ

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    Now THIS, I would pay to see!

    :)

    Zz.
     
  14. Aug 31, 2007 #13

    Evo

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    Get back!!! I'm FIRST!!! :!!)
     
  15. Aug 31, 2007 #14

    Math Is Hard

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    Quit shoving, Evo! I was in line before you! :grumpy:
     
  16. Aug 31, 2007 #15

    Evo

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    AGE BEFORE BEAUTY!!!!! Muwahahahah!!! :devil:

    Oh. :redface:
     
  17. Aug 31, 2007 #16

    Math Is Hard

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    hey.. What's that over there? Now who would leave a perfectly good platter of crab claws and drawn butter sitting out...

    heh heh

    zzzzzzzzzzzzip!
     
  18. Aug 31, 2007 #17

    Evo

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    :!!) :!!) Oooooh, crablegs....drawn butter....<snorf> <mmmm> <snorf> What were we talking about? <snorf>
     

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  19. Aug 31, 2007 #18

    Math Is Hard

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    Yummy!!!!!!:!!)
     
  20. Aug 31, 2007 #19

    Evo

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    Yeah, Adrian Paul was a gift from Doc Toxin. :!!)
     
  21. Sep 1, 2007 #20
    Great, I'll start by contributing a pic of Lisa :)
     
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