No Right Answer: Is Sexy Bad?

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Is Sexy Bad?

Humanity lands a satellite on a comet and all anyone could talk about was a tacky shirt. Or was it sexist? Chris and Dan mull it over, but what do you think?

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In before people bitch about SJWs.

OT: I'm a feminist and I actually like his shirt. That said, I'd have probably worn a suit or something in that particular situation.

It's simple, and it's only the fringe folks who's agenda is solely to "defeat" the other side that don't get it.

Someone looking sexy isn't a problem. Someone ONLY looking sexy is.

Perhaps that might seem oversimplified to some, but the truth is that there's nothing wrong with a woman looking good, flaunting her sexuality and suchlike. There IS something wrong with women only being sexy props for the purpose of men.

So to answer, is sexy bad? No, it's just the application of sexy that can be abused.

I don't have a problem with the shirt itself, but rather the context. The shirt itself is tacky and an eyesore, but not more than mixing bright plaids and polka dots in different colors.

But the bigger point is that the shirt was wildly inappropriate workplace attire. Not even considering that it was worn on a day when the wearer would be a global representative of their employer. What other professional job would that be an appropriate shirt even without the global press? Teacher? Doctor? Police officer? Lawyer? News anchor? Banker? heck, McDonald's cashier? Wal-Mart greeter? Anyone at all who is the public face of their company and that company is not involved with car shows or adult entertainment?

In all of those professions and countless others, either the person who owned the shirt or the company they worked for would have some guidelines against that shirt. If I personally showed up for work in it, I would expect to be asked to change it, or have a talk with HR.

And yes, it did also highlight that STEM fields tend to be male dominated and not necessarily welcoming to women. Mainly because, again, it isn't really workplace appropriate clothing. A female scientist giving an interview about the landing while in a bikini or Miley Cyrus performance outfit would have been equally inappropriate. As would a printed T-shirt of a male nude (live, or a marble statue covered in penises).

Sexy is not bad. Sexy is often inappropriate.

Can a shirt be sexist at all? I think that's a poor question, the real question is, "Can the message a shirt conveys carry a sexist meaning?" The answer to that is, yes. If he'd been wearing a shirt that said, "Chicks can't do math." That would be sexist, not just because of the shirt and what it says, but the context of who he was and why he was being interviewed.

I am forced to conclude that what the shirt portrayed and the context of his interview do not create a sexist message. Also, I hate when people feel the need to go, "I'm a white, male, heterosexual, tentacle beast but..." No one should give a crap who you are, they should only care about the point you are trying to make. You are either stating a fact, which can be verified. Forming a logical argument, which can be checked for fallacies, or stating an opinion. Your opinion should not be discounted simply because of any of those factors, so having to basically apologize for your race/sex/tentacles before you make your statement is NONSENSE. Doing this only serves to reinforce the idea that people need to do this. You don't and they don't and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

So context is everything. Wearing that shirt at a club, or a movie theater? Fine. Wearing that shirt at a very important gathering where you are representing thousands of people? Maybe a poor call.

The problem with art is its totally SUBjective, that what is and isn't "art" depends on what the viewer thinks it is. All art is meant to induce an emotional reaction from its audience.

Verlander:
It's simple, and it's only the fringe folks who's agenda is solely to "defeat" the other side that don't get it.

Someone looking sexy isn't a problem. Someone ONLY looking sexy is.

Perhaps that might seem oversimplified to some, but the truth is that there's nothing wrong with a woman looking good, flaunting her sexuality and suchlike. There IS something wrong with women only being sexy props for the purpose of men.

So to answer, is sexy bad? No, it's just the application of sexy that can be abused.

The kind of people who grind my gears are those who seemingly are professionals at being offended about things, and try to tell ME how I SHOULD FEEL about something, as if thinking any differently from them (or just thinking at all) automatically makes me wrong.

I like the conversational shift away from bad to simply tacky and contextually inappropriate. Credit to Dan's better half for reframing the debate.

Yep, good video. Opinions on sexuality are highly relative to the individual expressing them. Trying to impose our own ideologies on others and even persecuting others for having different ideologies from our own is text book bigotry.

Shame on people who are trying to impose their own values on others like that. This kind of puritanical bulldozing of those with different sensibilities wasn't OK with the actual puritans and shouldn't be OK now. How about people save their pressuring of others for things that actually cause harm?

In poor taste? Sure. But I think most of us hate fashion police when they demand people dress a certain way too.

Verlander:
It's simple, and it's only the fringe folks who's agenda is solely to "defeat" the other side that don't get it.

Someone looking sexy isn't a problem. Someone ONLY looking sexy is.

Perhaps that might seem oversimplified to some, but the truth is that there's nothing wrong with a woman looking good, flaunting her sexuality and suchlike. There IS something wrong with women only being sexy props for the purpose of men.

So to answer, is sexy bad? No, it's just the application of sexy that can be abused.

I am not a fringe folk and I"m not interested in defeating anyone, and yet I don't agree with you at all, at least with the way you've stated your case. The problem with your statement isn't necessarily that it's over simplified but that it is a statement that seems to be lacking an argument. You assert that someone just looking sexy is "wrong." Can you form a logical argument as to WHY someone just looking sexy is wrong? Can you clarify what you mean by "wrong" (immoral, unethical?) Is this just an opinion you are stating or are you claiming this as fact?

What you claim is provocative and not useful and I could simply come back at you with, "No, you're wrong, just being sexy isn't wrong at all." But that would be just as provocative and equally useless. So what I will say is this: There is nothing inherently immoral or unethical about a character, piece of art or piece of pron being just sexy or for titillation. I would also argue that the shirt in question does not portray a character that is just sexy, but that's because I read more into the shirt's images than some might. If someone says, "There's nothing more to that shirt's image than a woman being a sex object." I can't prove them wrong, because they are interpreting a piece of art. Nor could they prove me wrong when I respond with, "No, I think the shirt represents a female character who is both sexy and strong and is suggestive of fantasy art which often portrays female warriors who stand proudly on the line between sexuality and badassery."

Now, all of that said, I think the shirt he wore is not at all appropriate for the circumstances in which he wore it but that's nothing more than a fashion faux pas, not an indictment of sexism.

Gorrath:
Also, I hate when people feel the need to go, "I'm a white, male, heterosexual, tentacle beast but..." No one should give a crap who you are, they should only care about the point you are trying to make. You are either stating a fact, which can be verified. Forming a logical argument, which can be checked for fallacies, or stating an opinion. Your opinion should not be discounted simply because of any of those factors, so having to basically apologize for your race/sex/tentacles before you make your statement is NONSENSE. Doing this only serves to reinforce the idea that people need to do this. You don't and they don't

I read (and, occasionally, write) statements like that and never imagined someone would take them for an apology. How odd.

I employ them is a disclaimer. A way of saying, 'this is my point of departure.' I find that it's particularly useful in subjective conversations; when talking with strangers and people who can't see me it establishes what my blind spots might be, allowing the other person to more efficiently make their point.

I'm not particularly concerned that it's going to lead to people discounting my opinion.

Gorrath:
and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

I wanna point out that at one point it was acceptable to wear something like this. (NSFW)
Which is to say both that we've made progress for certain, but it's still worth pointing out. The problem is volume, and it's impossible to have a small reaction on the internet.

Elijah Newton:

Gorrath:
and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

No, it is absolutely sexist. That a man's opinion is less valuable or irrelevant because he is male is pretty much textbook sexism and bullshit sexist is not an inaccurate description.

It isn't OK to belittle what a woman is saying because she's a woman and it shouldn't be OK to do the same thing to men. Sorry that you're OK with it, but that's just sexism. If someone said that a black female's opinion on a matter was invalid because they were just "blacksplaining" or "womansplaining" there would be holy hell-fire raining down on whatever bigot would say such a thing and terms like it being racist or sexist would be easily accepted as accurate.

So... let's try to tear down these double standards, eh?

Gorrath:

Now, all of that said, I think the shirt he wore is not at all appropriate for the circumstances in which he wore it but that's nothing more than a fashion faux pas, not an indictment of sexism.

Well, it is possible for it to be both. If he would have felt that a shirt covered with speedo clad penises or the Rosetta rocket with testicles was inappropriate, but one with scantily clad women was okay, then that would, pretty much by definition, be sexist. Matt Taylor's response was, "The shirt I wore this week - I made a big mistake", which seems pretty straightforward that he feels it was inappropriate and presumably for the arguments about it being inappropriate and implying sexism at ESA. The argument could be made that in failing to think about how the shirt would be received, there was some innate sexism. If I'm going to visit the in-laws, I pick a shirt that is not going to offend them. If I'm going to visit my politically opposite sister, I leave the political Ts at home. His failure to think about the impact of how he presented himself could easily be seen as indicative of sexism.

I'm not sure why there seems to be an argument that the situation can't be both an astounding technological achievement and an example of sexism. I mean, Columbus' voyage to America was both an astounding achievement and totally racist from his log entries and behavior towards the natives he met. Columbus was a brave guy willing to put his neck on the line for his belief that he would survive trying to sail around the world. We can credit that while also saying, "Yeah, and he was also a total racist." I think we can also say that Matt Taylor was a researcher on an amazing scientific mission and also committed the fashion faux pas of not considering the sexist implications of his shirt in that setting. His mission went a lot farther than Columbus' with a far inferior "sin" attached to it.

Gorrath:
"mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

definition:

Mansplaining, (verb) is a portmanteau of the words man and explaining, defined as "to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing... "explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee [sic] knows more than the explainer, ... a combination of "overconfidence and cluelessness" that some men display

So, yes, sexist in that the word implies that only (or primarily) men condescendingly explain something about which they are completely wrong or ignorant.

I'm also curious as to how responses would have been were it a woman wearing this:
image

Belaam:

Gorrath:

Now, all of that said, I think the shirt he wore is not at all appropriate for the circumstances in which he wore it but that's nothing more than a fashion faux pas, not an indictment of sexism.

Well, it is possible for it to be both. If he would have felt that a shirt covered with speedo clad penises or the Rosetta rocket with testicles was inappropriate, but one with scantily clad women was okay, then that would, pretty much by definition, be sexist.

Depicting genitals (either male or female) is generally considered a significantly more egregious than cleavage or non-genital skin.

Now, if upon inspecting his shirt that there's some kind of outline of female genitals being depicted then I would certainly consider that inappropriate to wear in public as far as public obscenities/indecency laws are concerned because it crosses that line where a person displaying those parts would be arrested.

So I'm sorry but you are drawing a false comparison there.

What's more is that scantily clad women aren't evil. A woman in a bikini or in short bike shorts/sports bra like we see in public all the time isn't evil. That you have a problem with someone depicting it is your business. That's your own sensibilities and while you have every right to feel that way it's entirely nonsensical to believe that your sensibilities should be imposed on others. Women who show skin aren't less legitimate women than those who don't. And depictions of one isn't less valid than depictions of the other. This sort of sex-negative rhetoric is doing more harm to people being able to feel OK about their sexuality than helping women in any way.

Belaam:
So, yes, sexist in that the word implies that only (or primarily) men condescendingly explain something about which they are completely wrong or ignorant.

I'm also curious as to how responses would have been were it a woman wearing this:
image

Oh no! I feel sooooo oppressed by a shirt some person is wearing. Instead of getting over myself I think I'll harass and ridicule the wearer to shame them into conforming to my own personal sensibilities.

Joking aside, male sexual objectification goes entirely unnoticed because we don't seem to care. This shirt looks funny to me. Not offensive.

As for the mansplaining term. It is used for any man speaking about topics of feminism. Particular any man on the other side. So yeah, it is offensive and no, it is not only used on people who don't know what they're talking about. Instead, it assumes men are ignorant of the matter which is a subjective (likely sexist) evaluation.

Lightknight:

Elijah Newton:

Gorrath:
and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

No, it is absolutely sexist. That a man's opinion is less valuable or irrelevant because he is male is pretty much textbook sexism and bullshit sexist is not an inaccurate description.

It isn't OK to belittle what a woman is saying because she's a woman and it shouldn't be OK to do the same thing to men. Sorry that you're OK with it, but that's just sexism. If someone said that a black female's opinion on a matter was invalid because they were just "blacksplaining" or "womansplaining" there would be holy hell-fire raining down on whatever bigot would say such a thing and terms like it being racist or sexist would be easily accepted as accurate.

So... let's try to tear down these double standards, eh?

The term "mansplaining" is used to criticise a tendency for men to give condescending talks to women about things they assume a woman wouldn't know about because they are a woman, regardless of how well informed the woman might actually be. It isn't really designed to be a hidden ace you can deploy to dismiss any guy's opinion you disagree with, though I have seen it abused in that way by idiots. In its correct application, it makes sense to raise an eyebrow when, for example, you see a guy telling a girl the "right way" a woman should feel about stuff, as though the girl naturally has a poorer grasp on the subject.

maninahat:

Lightknight:

Elijah Newton:

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

No, it is absolutely sexist. That a man's opinion is less valuable or irrelevant because he is male is pretty much textbook sexism and bullshit sexist is not an inaccurate description.

It isn't OK to belittle what a woman is saying because she's a woman and it shouldn't be OK to do the same thing to men. Sorry that you're OK with it, but that's just sexism. If someone said that a black female's opinion on a matter was invalid because they were just "blacksplaining" or "womansplaining" there would be holy hell-fire raining down on whatever bigot would say such a thing and terms like it being racist or sexist would be easily accepted as accurate.

So... let's try to tear down these double standards, eh?

The term "mansplaining" is used to criticise a tendency for men to give condescending talks to women about things they assume a woman wouldn't know about because they are a woman, regardless of how well informed the woman might actually be. It isn't really designed to be a hidden ace you can deploy to dismiss any guy's opinion you disagree with, though I have seen it abused in that way by idiots. In its correct application, it makes sense to raise an eyebrow when, for example, you see a guy telling a girl the "right way" a woman should feel about stuff, as though the girl naturally has a poorer grasp on the subject.

This is not true in practice. It is used when any man anywhere starts to say something regarding topics like feminism that the person using the term disagrees with. They say it to discredit and belittle them or assign ignorance because they are males.

It is COMMONLY used in this manner. The intended design of the term verse the common use are not the same thing and the common use is what's relevant to who it impacts. Consider this, when you are on the other side of a debate with someone else, don't you automatically believe that you are right and they are wrong? Ergo, that they are ignorant? So the default position is that a man taking a position you disagree with is ignorant of the matter and because the topic at hand is so touchy condescension is easily assumed.

I get that there may be topics where it is relevant as designed. But the term retard was designed to refer to delayed mental development in the same way a fridge would be called a retarder because it slows down the decay of food. But now? Nope, it's derogatory because of the people who abused it the same as the people you acknowledge who use mansplaining as such.

Elijah Newton:

I read (and, occasionally, write) statements like that and never imagined someone would take them for an apology. How odd.

I employ them is a disclaimer. A way of saying, 'this is my point of departure.' I find that it's particularly useful in subjective conversations; when talking with strangers and people who can't see me it establishes what my blind spots might be, allowing the other person to more efficiently make their point.

I'm not particularly concerned that it's going to lead to people discounting my opinion.

I don't find it useful for finding someone's blind spots because it assumes your race and your possible blind spots have a stronger correlation than they actually do. What makes up your opinions is your life experiences, which are in some ways affected by your race/sex ect. However, using that as a jumping off point in my experience, leads to people making erroneous conclusions based on stereotyping you. I find that people are far more likely to properly address any point you make if they don't know that information as it tends to make them less likely to presume things about who you are as a person. People presume too much about each other based on that information, especially concerning the sorts of life experiences that may have led you to form an opinion.

Gorrath:
and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

It's mildly sexist pejorative that has no linguistic use because it is premised on a lie. Specifically, the whole idea of "Mansplaining" is that men have a particular knack for explaining things in a condescending manner to a woman because he assumes she doesn't know about certain "man things" things due to her sex. If this was something only men did, it would be a fair term. However, men and women both do this. To invent a word for this act that clearly suggests men are the only culprits or even the primary culprits reinforces a gendered stereotype. I would say anyone who professes a desire to downplay or eliminate gendered stereotypes and who uses the term is either a hypocrite or are laboring under a false apprehension that the stereotype is actually true.

Also, you may be reading more anxiety into my words than I intend due to me eviscerating the word. While it does bother me to some degree, it's not like I'm going to go crusading about it, I simply call it out for what it is when it comes up, as I would do with any such sexist term.

Lightknight:

Belaam:
So, yes, sexist in that the word implies that only (or primarily) men condescendingly explain something about which they are completely wrong or ignorant.

I'm also curious as to how responses would have been were it a woman wearing this:
image

Oh no! I feel sooooo oppressed by a shirt some person is wearing. Instead of getting over myself I think I'll harass and ridicule the wearer to shame them into conforming to my own personal sensibilities.

Joking aside, male sexual objectification goes entirely unnoticed because we don't seem to care. This shirt looks funny to me. Not offensive.

Well let's earnestly explore that. If the scientist was female and wore that shirt, I suspect it would have been commented on, in the sense that people always comment on what women wear, and she probably would have been mocked for her poor and inappropriate taste. However I agree there would be less upset about it, specifically because in the original incident, the real issue being discussed was less about the shirt and more about the inevitable consequences of a severe lack of woman in STEM fields; that a guy could feel quite natural turning up to work dressed like that, without getting challenged, or feeling awkward, or questioning whether others might be bothered by his clothes... which presumably wouldn't have happened if he was in a workplace surrounded by female co-workers.

With that in mind, a woman probably would be less willing to wear that shirt in such a male dominated work place, because she'd figure out in such circumstances (a predominantly male work environment) that her colleagues might find it awkward, embarrassing and possibly even offensive. Supposing she were oblivious to all of that and did wear the shirt, there wouldn't be a media controversy or as many annoyed men, because her outfit doesn't relate to a broader cultural issue; there isn't a shortage of men in STEM fields, men don't feel like they are going into a "woman's only club" when they get involved in astrophyics, and there isn't an ongoing dialogue about how men feel discouraged from going into those pioneering fields.

So yes, there is a disparity in the way people would react to what the man or woman would wear. But that's to be expected in the context of the broader situation.

Lightknight:

Elijah Newton:

Gorrath:
and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

No, it is absolutely sexist. That a man's opinion is less valuable because he is male. Bullshit sexist is not an inaccurate description.

It isn't OK to belittle what a woman is saying because she's a woman and it shouldn't be OK to do the same thing to men. Sorry that you're OK with it, but that's just sexism. If someone said that a black female's opinion on a matter was invalid because they were just "blacksplaining" or "womansplaining" there would be holy hell-fire raining down on whatever bigot would say such a thing.

So... let's try to tear down these double standards, eh?

Erm. I think some - possibly all - of us are working from different definitions of 'mansplaining.' Which is pretty likely given it's a neologism and maybe should be avoided because it's imprecise.

When I was saying it was useful I was thinking of times when men tell women how they should feel. As in, "Me and the boys on the crew was respecting your beauty when you chewed us out to our boss for cat calling. You should feel flattered, lady." The straw man* in this argument presents an (exaggerated, fictional) example of mansplaining because he is telling the woman how she should feel.

You can interpret, perhaps rightly, that this proves 'mansplaining' says his opinion are less valuable because he's a man but I think that's blinkered. I see the utility of word for criticizing the arrogance of a person for feeling his opinion trumps in a male/female dialogue because he is a man. I'm not really aware of a synonym, though I'm open to suggestions.

* is 'strawmansplaining' a thing? Maybe it should be. :)

Gorrath:

Elijah Newton:

Gorrath:
and "mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

It's mildly sexist pejorative that has no linguistic use because it is premised on a lie. Specifically, the whole idea of "Mansplaining" is that men have a particular knack for explaining things in a condescending manner to a woman because he assumes she doesn't know about certain "man things" things due to her sex. If this was something only men did, it would be a fair term. However, men and women both do this. To invent a word for this act that clearly suggests men are the only culprits or even the primary culprits reinforces a gendered stereotype. I would say anyone who professes a desire to downplay or eliminate gendered stereotypes and who uses the term is either a hypocrite or are laboring under a false apprehension that the stereotype is actually true.

We have a difference of opinions that's likely grounded in different experiences. I do feel like I see men talking to women like this much more frequently than the other way around - but I'm not about to suggest that my experiences are more valid than yours. You could well be surrounded by nicer people than I am, or I could be a grump who reads the worst in every interaction. Lots of potential variables in play.

I appreciate the clarity of your writing. Nicely put and thanks for taking the time to respond.

Belaam:

Gorrath:

Now, all of that said, I think the shirt he wore is not at all appropriate for the circumstances in which he wore it but that's nothing more than a fashion faux pas, not an indictment of sexism.

Well, it is possible for it to be both. If he would have felt that a shirt covered with speedo clad penises or the Rosetta rocket with testicles was inappropriate, but one with scantily clad women was okay, then that would, pretty much by definition, be sexist. Matt Taylor's response was, "The shirt I wore this week - I made a big mistake", which seems pretty straightforward that he feels it was inappropriate and presumably for the arguments about it being inappropriate and implying sexism at ESA. The argument could be made that in failing to think about how the shirt would be received, there was some innate sexism. If I'm going to visit the in-laws, I pick a shirt that is not going to offend them. If I'm going to visit my politically opposite sister, I leave the political Ts at home. His failure to think about the impact of how he presented himself could easily be seen as indicative of sexism.

I'm not sure why there seems to be an argument that the situation can't be both an astounding technological achievement and an example of sexism. I mean, Columbus' voyage to America was both an astounding achievement and totally racist from his log entries and behavior towards the natives he met. Columbus was a brave guy willing to put his neck on the line for his belief that he would survive trying to sail around the world. We can credit that while also saying, "Yeah, and he was also a total racist." I think we can also say that Matt Taylor was a researcher on an amazing scientific mission and also committed the fashion faux pas of not considering the sexist implications of his shirt in that setting. His mission went a lot farther than Columbus' with a far inferior "sin" attached to it.

I agree with your assertion that Columbus was a racist and had an astounding achievement. I also agree that a shirt could be sexist and a faux pas. The problem with your example is that it relies on knowing his mindset. If he thought that wearing scantily clad women on his shirt was appropriate but wearing scantily clad men was not, that would indicate sexism, but since we don't know that he thinks that, we can't say. However, I do not agree with the sentiment of the rest of your post here. You assert that wearing a shirt could be a sexist act if the person did not consider how some women might be offended by said shirt, or, at least, it is indicative of a sexist mindset. So, I'd like this clarified if you wouldn't mind playing along.

If I wear a FUBU shirt and do not consider that someone might be offended by the shirt, does that indicate that I am a racist, have a racist mindset or is the act of wearing the shirt a racist act? If I do consider that wearing the shirt might offend some black people and conclude that I don't see why it would and wear it, has my act of considering the implication absolved me of the charge of racism even if some black people are in fact offended? If I consider that some black people might be offended, conclude that indeed some might be and wear it anyway, is my consideration enough to absolve me of the charge of racism? Because your assertion revolves around what he may or may not have considered when choosing to wear the shirt, I think all of my questions here are valid. I am trying to hone down exactly what you mean and what the implications of your assertion actually are, because the way you have explained it, it seems really troubling.

Gorrath:
"mansplaining" is a bullshit, sexist term.

definition:

Mansplaining, (verb) is a portmanteau of the words man and explaining, defined as "to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing... "explaining without regard to the fact that the explainee [sic] knows more than the explainer, ... a combination of "overconfidence and cluelessness" that some men display

So, yes, sexist in that the word implies that only (or primarily) men condescendingly explain something about which they are completely wrong or ignorant.

I'm also curious as to how responses would have been were it a woman wearing this:
image[/quote][/quote

Love that shirt, actually. If a woman had been wearing that shirt in a similar situation, I'm not sure she'd be dealing with charges of sexism from credible sources. I could be wrong, but that's what the eye test is telling me.

maninahat:

Well let's earnestly explore that. If the scientist was female and wore that shirt, I suspect it would have been commented on, in the sense that people always comment on what women wear, and she probably would have been mocked for her poor and inappropriate taste. However I agree there would be less upset about it, specifically because in the original incident, the real issue being discussed was less about the shirt and more about the inevitable consequences of a severe lack of woman in STEM fields; that a guy could feel quite natural turning up to work dressed like that, without getting challenged, or feeling awkward, or questioning whether others might be bothered by his clothes... which presumably wouldn't have happened if he was in a workplace surrounded by female co-workers.

Have you ever worked with developers? You're lucky we wear clothes at all and we probably only do that because office chairs are notoriously uncomfortable on bare skin. One of the perks of being a software engineer of any kind is lax dress codes. Telling him that it isn't OK to wear that shirt would be a subjective moral opinion. Do you believe that your own moral beliefs and sensibilities should be forced on anyone else? That companies with lax dress codes don't also impose an arbitrary decency police beyond what is legal to wear isn't a bad thing.

more about the inevitable consequences of a severe lack of woman in STEM fields;

Can you corroborate the claim that women would make their life career choices based on the shirt a person wears? I seem to remember seeing several female coworkers in the video I was watching when they landed. I would think an absence of females in the project would have said more about that topic than a shit one guy wore. People demonizing him because he is somehow discouraging women from the field are taking a HUGE step here that just doesn't follow. I made my decision on career choice based on my interests and I believe women are just as capable of doing so. The problem with the lack of women in STEM fields is far more likely to be caused by social programming or even potential differences in us as a sexually dimorphic species that we are afraid to explore for fear of being labeled as just anti-women or anti-men depending on what results are found.

Either way, I can place pretty damn high premium on the reason not being how people dress. Do you personally believe that to be the case? Regardless of what you believe people are complaining about, do you personally believe even one person who is intelligent enough to do that kind of work would change the course of their life because of what that person was wearing? If so, how very petty of them? How incredibly superficial?

Elijah Newton:
Erm. I think some - possibly all - of us are working from different definitions of 'mansplaining.' Which is pretty likely given it's a neologism and maybe should be avoided because it's imprecise.

I could easily believe that to be the case. Semantics trip up arguments that aren't even about imprecise terms so discussions on terms like these are all the harder.

When I was saying it was useful I was thinking of times when men tell women how they should feel. As in, "Me and the boys on the crew was respecting your beauty when you chewed us out to our boss for cat calling. You should feel flattered, lady." The straw man* in this argument presents an (exaggerated, fictional) example of mansplaining because he is telling the woman how she should feel.

It's still singling out the individual based on their sex. Imagine applying it to others. Like race, a black person telling white people how they should feel being termed "blacksplaining" would go over about as well as a cesium water garnish. That is to say it would explode.

You can interpret, perhaps rightly, that this proves 'mansplaining' says his opinion are less valuable because he's a man but I think that's blinkered. I see the utility of word for criticizing the arrogance of a person for feeling his opinion trumps in a male/female dialogue because he is a man. I'm not really aware of a synonym, though I'm open to suggestions.

Eh, the issue is more the gendered focus. The person, if they are truly ignorant and are really just talking down to someone who knows better are doing so because they are being ignorant, arrogant and/or condescending, not because they are male. Mansplaining implies that their ignorance is because they are a man who couldn't possibly understand female issues.

* is 'strawmansplaining' a thing? Maybe it should be. :)

You know, thanks for the response. Your intelligence and sense of humor has been really fun. Thank you for not just responding with all guns a-blazing.

Bloodhound Gang reference! Now let's do it like they do on The Discovery Channel!
Of course, after you buy me that nice dinner etc. you mentioned... ;)

Furthermore; maybe he didn't even know he was going to get interviewed at that time.
Besides, I feel like people should also complain about all the tattoos on him showing.
These things are just not considdered "appropriate" for a huge scientific thing, but that is based on very old expectations.

Good on him for just wearing his shirt and getting interviewed.
Too bad for him loads of people ruined it by ignoring his words.
I thought we shouldn't judge based on appearance, but only on actions... talking is an action, and so is putting a damn robot on a tiny rock so far away most people can't even imagine the distance we're talking about.

Is the shirt bad? Maybe not great in context, but that doesn't mean a fan of something can't have a shirt of that and wear it to work when his boss is appearantly fine with it.

maninahat:
So yes, there is a disparity in the way people would react to what the man or woman would wear. But that's to be expected in the context of the broader situation.

Maybe so, but we can't fix the problem if we aren't willing to change ourselves, and I'm speaking to both sides of the situation. Having more women in these kind of work places isn't enough, since that only turns it into a numbers game. We should be able treat other people with respect to regardless to what they're wearing even if it makes someone feel "uncomfortable", because we're still in this issue of judging people based on how they look or how they dress. Yeah, in our current society, women don't often have the choice to ignore something due to broader situations, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't still strive to get there, otherwise we're just advocating for the "right to not be offended". Many men would not take issue to a woman wearing a shirt like that; what they would take issue with is the continuous double-standard that keeps happening. Even if there's a broader issue to be argued with, it's still a double-standard that continues to be swept under the rug, in that people speaking out don't wanna challenged either. Because of that, it's no wonder that we continue to receive opposition when these kinds of discussions are brought up.

Elijah Newton:

Gorrath:

Elijah Newton:

What a bizarre coda. It's mildly pejorative at worst and fills a linguistic niche, so it's useful. Sheesh, dude...

It's mildly sexist pejorative that has no linguistic use because it is premised on a lie. Specifically, the whole idea of "Mansplaining" is that men have a particular knack for explaining things in a condescending manner to a woman because he assumes she doesn't know about certain "man things" things due to her sex. If this was something only men did, it would be a fair term. However, men and women both do this. To invent a word for this act that clearly suggests men are the only culprits or even the primary culprits reinforces a gendered stereotype. I would say anyone who professes a desire to downplay or eliminate gendered stereotypes and who uses the term is either a hypocrite or are laboring under a false apprehension that the stereotype is actually true.

We have a difference of opinions that's likely grounded in different experiences. I do feel like I see men talking to women like this much more frequently than the other way around - but I'm not about to suggest that my experiences are more valid than yours. You could well be surrounded by nicer people than I am, or I could be a grump who reads the worst in every interaction. Lots of potential variables in play.

I appreciate the clarity of your writing. Nicely put and thanks for taking the time to respond.

First, thanks for being a reasonable person to converse with, I always find that an immensely appreciable trait! I don't know if we can attribute the difference simply to experiences though. While I can point out when and how my wife "femsplains" things to me, I don't think any amount of anecdotal evidence can act as support for the term. I think the reason most people might agree with you that they see this happen much more from men than women is because it is a meme that men do this. Consider if you would how often in shows men do this "mansplaining" thing and get put in their place? Consider conversely how often women are portrayed as assuming, rightly, that a man can't do something like bake without making a horrible mess of the kitchen, or iron his own shirts right, or sew.

We're somewhat set up for the expectation that a man engaged in "mansplaining" is being a sexist jerk and love seeing him torn down for it. But, we very often see the woman be completely justified in her expectation that a man isn't capable of doing something properly that she knows how to do. I think this leads us to noticing and scrutinizing the act when men do it and paying little or no attention to it when women do it. I admit this last point is merely speculation on my part, I am merely considering a possible cause for why we might notice it more when men do it than when women do.

Let me thank you as well for taking the time to respond!

Lightknight:
You know, thanks for the response. Your intelligence and sense of humor has been really fun. Thank you for not just responding with all guns a-blazing.

You're quite welcome, and right back at'cha. I've enjoyed the back and forth and man there's always the temptation to say just one! more! thing! ...but then it could get tedious for one or both of us.

have a great day.

Lightknight:
Do you believe that your own moral beliefs and sensibilities should be forced on anyone else? That companies with lax dress codes don't also impose an arbitrary decency police beyond what is legal to wear isn't a bad thing.

more about the inevitable consequences of a severe lack of woman in STEM fields;

Can you corroborate the claim that women would make their life career choices based on the shirt a person wears?...I seem to remember seeing several female coworkers in the video I was watching when they landed. I would think an absence of females in the project would have said more about that topic than a shit one guy wore. People demonizing him because he is somehow discouraging women from the field are taking a HUGE step here that just doesn't follow.

You can see what I said; there are severe lack of women in STEM fields, and the fact that a guy can turn up to work dressed like that is a consequence of that. Similarly, the all male building sites I've worked on have a lack of women, and consequently, there are much more open displays of casual sexism (pornography, nude calenders, conversations about prostitutes etc) that won't exist in a better mixed work place. Presumably there is more sexism present in all female work places too, as a direct consequence of a lack of male representation. There is an argument to be made that the presence of such sexist things might be discouraging for woman in that environment, but I don't think I've seen any article actually saying that the lack of women in STEM fields is down to men's shirts.

I made my decision on career choice based on my interests and I believe women are just as capable of doing so. The problem with the lack of women in STEM fields is far more likely to be caused by social programming or even potential differences in us as a sexually dimorphic species that we are afraid to explore for fear of being labelled as just anti-women or anti-men depending on what results are found.

Agreed, mostly. Well, maybe not the sexual dimorphism part, but I agree that career choices are determined by far more than a shirt. But let's not just write out the problem of the shirt here. It is still an inappropriate thing to wear in most work places, and I could easily imagine how it could be an ugly reminder for women employees that they are in a boy's club, rather than a place of work that expects women and accommodates for them accordingly. It doesn't even have to be an arbitrary specified dress code; I think it is likely that if 50% of that guy's co-workers were women, it probably would have occurred to him to not wear that shirt to work.

Sex isn't bad. Sexy isn't bad. Sexualization is. People really need to start seeing this distinctions. That shirt wasn't sexy and it didn't depict sexiness. One might say however that the images on the shirt were an example of sexualization of women. I don't think the guy is a sexist or even intended to convey such thing. However, one can commit a sexist act without being a sexist. Wearing a shirt that seems like it falls under the sexualization of women could be argued it's an act of sexism.

What's the distinction between "sexy" and "sexualization" one might ask. It has to with subversiveness, subjectivity and agency. Some one who is "sexy" has agency, it's about making the choice and acting upon the intention of feeling sexy. "Sexualization" takes away agency and forces sexiness upon the person in question, which is the very essence of objectification. The act of stripping people of their agency and reduce to a mere object. Sexualization falls in to this. A woman or a man can be sexy if they make the choice themselves, giving them agency. Pushing the perception of sexy upon someone on the other hand is sexualization.

If you would look at the character Bayonetta which tend to pop-up during these discussions. Her character falls under the "sexy" epithet, she has chosen her sexual expression. However, the camera is sexualizing her, the quite intimate shots of her body and weird angles is the reason. So she's stripped of some of her agency and is reduced to mere object despite a character design set out to give the impression of sexy. A character design intended to convey agency over her sexuality.

I like sexy. I like when my girlfriend dresses sexy for me. :-)

Anyway, that was the shirt? The only problem I have with it was stated in the video: tacky. Very tacky. Like hurt my eyes tacky. But to call the guy a sexist for wearing it? I don't think so. There are a lot worse shirts out there.

It was a tacky shirt and wearing it to a big press conference was a definite fashion faux pas on Dr. Taylor's behalf, especially considering the organisation he represents. But that with said, I honestly think the debate about sexism it spawned was rather, well, unwarranted.

It just seems odd that anyone concerned about sexism and gender inequality would choose that of all things as their hill to die on.

It is fully within the man's rights to wear that shirt without fear of persecution. It is not a sexist shirt, or a demeaning shirt. It does not make a statement about women or influence the opinions people have about women as a gender. That being said, he probably should have worn a different shirt.

Mcoffey:
So context is everything. Wearing that shirt at a club, or a movie theater? Fine. Wearing that shirt at a very important gathering where you are representing thousands of people? Maybe a poor call.

Sure, professional conduct aside, it's probably not the most mature statement you can make. But the guy is pretty alternative, he's covered in tattoo's including the one on the lander.

The thing here isn't if the shirt was "a bad call" it's if the shirt is misogynistic and hateful and keeping women out of science fields.

Which are all claims that were made very loudly by prominent journalists and people in an online mob.

I mean, really, we're at the point where we need to stop pretending that the people complaining about this stuff are even worth listening to. They are not reasonable people. They have strange beliefs that are not backed up with any sort of facts and they use contrivances like ad-hoc rationalizations and sometimes just pure fantasy to support their most outlandish ideas.

If the images on a shirt can warp someones mind so badly they refuse to enter their chosen career, then a video game like GTA V teaching you to kill women is plausible, at least as plausible as a book like Lolita making you want to be a pedophile.

Of course, if you don't agree with that above statement, then you have to understand that as crazy as that sounds, a significant portion of the public actually believes it. Stop humoring them.

maninahat:
Similarly, the all male building sites I've worked on have a lack of women, and consequently, there are much more open displays of casual sexism (pornography, nude calenders, conversations about prostitutes etc) that won't exist in a better mixed work place.

Could you maybe explain how these things are sexist?
I don't agree that titillation or nudity is sexist, these models are self-sufficient people and their consumers appreciate their work.

I also don't think this kind of clothing would be less common in a more mixed workplace, instead, I'd argue it is down to the general mindset and workplace mentality of their field.

As already had been pointed out, software engineering companies often have very lax dress codes; this is because the employees are never trained or expected to represent the company in a big way.
Generally speaking, you don't get good in this line of work unless you devote a lot of time into it, A LOT of time, the amount of time that's make you somewhat of a social reclusive for at least the early stage of your career.

As a result, they adopt a sort of "social outcast" culture in the workplace, one that distances itself from the social norm a bit and creates a unique environment; an environment where these shirts are not only commonly worn, but even handmade and given as birthday presents.
A sign of female oppression? I don't think the female artist who made the shirt would agree with you.

And that's what all this comes down to, agreements, and in their work spaces they agreed that his shirt is totally acceptable, it's only the outside world that demonizes him when it gets to have a look inside.

Fappy:
In before people bitch about SJWs.

OT: I'm a feminist and I actually like his shirt. That said, I'd have probably worn a suit or something in that particular situation.

It was his friends thing, Its like when your nan makes you a sweater, you're going to have to wear it in a time like that

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