Tim Hunt said something really fucking stupid. And sexist. The 2001 Nobel Prize winner in physiology sputtered what he assumed would remain some off-the-cuff egregiously tone-deaf remark that, at most, some men would laugh at, other women would cower and privately fume over. Too bad we live in a world with Twitter! Hunt’s man-baby sound-bite went viral, and soon the lauded researcher saw his whole career crumble. Alas, there will no longer be any opportunity for women working with Hunt to fall in love with him and cry about it! I can’t say I feel too sorry for the guy, but his friend Boris (and his wife) have come to his defense—there’s scientific evidence that women cry more then men! (There’s also research that says it’s good to cry in the workplace, so.) But isn’t this an overreaction, Boris Johnson asks, to clear a man, a self-described chauvinist pig, but no less a person, of his hard work just because he stated mere facts of gender difference? The problem, besides the fact that, duh, Hunt is an idiot, is that his idiocy doesn’t begin and end with his comments, or his resignation. The idiocy he perpetuates is in fact, systematic. The comments are just the start. In the STEM field, only 13% of workers are women, and within the academy, 84% of full-time science professors are male. Given Hunt’s comments, we hardly have to wonder why. But we can ask: how can we channel the, erm, awareness spurned by Hunt’s quips into more than mere outrage? How can we incite not just banishment or shame, but change?
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