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What *not* to wear

November 14, 2014

We’ve probably all seen the fallout from #shirtstorm and #shirtgate regarding the inappropriate shirt Dr. Matt Taylor wore during the landing of the Rosetta comet lander this week.

If you are not familiar with this, though, please check out the following webpages:

What the eff is that shirt?, Why I’m furious…, Astro-sexism, and Shirt Uproar, among many others.
It should be noted that Dr. Taylor did change his shirt later in the day and recently apologized for his decision to wear this shirt.
However, the larger questions are why he thought it was appropriate to wear it (to work, BTW) in the first place and why ESA officials didn’t acknowledge his poor choice either.
We welcome your feedback either here or on the WIPS Facebook page.
8 Comments leave one →
  1. Karl Mitchell permalink
    November 25, 2014 1:13 pm

    Thank you Kelsi for bringing some scientific evidence into the debate. I’ve been looking for good peer-reviewed papers on the negative effects of sexualized images in the workplace and gender-specific microaggressions in daily life, and was struggling to get past the large volumes of grey literature.

  2. Christina permalink
    November 17, 2014 11:04 am

    ^ Can we delete the troll?

    • November 17, 2014 1:21 pm

      I approved this comment because I don’t want to censor anyone. However, people should feel free to respond respectfully (or not, to avoid engaging the troll). If the conversation becomes personal or otherwise inappropriate, I won’t approve the comments.

      • Christina permalink
        November 17, 2014 2:03 pm

        Fair enough🙂

  3. November 14, 2014 7:05 pm

    So, you’re offended when a guy wears a shirt illustrated with cartoon babes…and you wonder why the ESA didn’t stand up for your…sensitivity…and join in the general condemnation. Perhaps the ESA has better things to do than police the shirts of every guy in the facility to save a delicate flower such as yourself from getting the vapors. Perhaps no one had the guts to say that being offended over the shirt is a ridiculous display of hypersensitivity.

    • astrodivanz permalink
      November 17, 2014 2:04 pm

      It’s not just women who were offended by this and questioning the circumstances of why Taylor wore this shirt. According to one male astrophysicist at Princeton, who posted on the Astronomy FB page, about the ESA press office: “… their job is to think about messaging and language— the engineers and scientists’ primary job is to make a successful mission. [The press officers] should have been responsible for sensitizing and educating the presenters.” He additionally noted that when he and his team did NASA press conferences, the press office asked them to rehearse and to wear appropriate attire.

      When I worked on the Astro-2 mission, I couldn’t wait to wear my mission and payload clothing. It didn’t even cross my mind to wear something else… and I wasn’t even going to be on camera, live-streamed around the world!

    • November 17, 2014 2:53 pm

      While I agree that there is a somewhat arbitrary line between what can be considered appropriate work attire, and what is not – for most people this shirt went WAAAAAAYYY over the line into the not-appropriate arena. I don’t know if you got a good look at the shirt, but most people would consider these “cartoon babes” to be highly under-dressed, and in submissive and sexually suggestive positions. Most people would consider this inappropriate to wear to any work situation – not to mention being broadcast for the world to see, including many young people.

      Here are some references to articles about the negative effect of sexual objectification:

      Roberts & Gettman (2004) Mere exposure: Gender differences in the negative effects of … Sex Roles 51 (1-2) 17-27
      Wiener et al (2013) Eye of the Beholder: Effects of Perspective & sexual objectification… PPPaL: 19(2)
      Fische et al (2011) Contextualizing sexual objectification. The Counseling Psycologist 39(1), 127-139

      If someone where wearing a shirt with mostly naked sexualized men on it – what would you assume about how that person thinks about men? Would you think, “wow, that person must have a really high level of respect for men”? That is probably not the first thing that would come to mind😛.

      • January 23, 2016 12:12 pm

        Kelsi, the last paragraph you posted is only your opinion of what a typical man would think. I would have absolutely no problem with a woman wearing that type of shirt. I under no circumstance would think this woman has little to no respect for men, nor would I think she looks down on men. The problem “These Days” is political correctness. I find that it affects mostly younger people, because they have been brain washed, but this also affects some older folks because they like to cater to people that try to drive this into the minds of everyone else. Everyone else is suppose to believe and think the same way they do. Hypersensitivity, and Political Correctness is ruining this country. Cry, Cry, Cry, because of someone’s misguided interpretation !!

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