Before we get into the nitty gritty of this post, I need to make a correction. Yesterday I posted this article and erroneously identified the Twitter account as the official account for Neil deGrasse Tyson. I didn’t do my homework and completely forgot to check for the all important blue checkmark. Not really much of an excuse but, once my mistake was pointed out, I removed the article.
I’ve spent the past day debating if I was going to delete the article entirely or leave it up but correct the information. In the end I decided to repost the article with the correct information because the entire point of this article is about casual sexism and how much it’s ingrained in our every day life. It’s this casual any kind of ism that is so toxic and prevents us from making real progress towards equality across the board. Little things like this permeate our culture and poison our way of thinking, maybe without us even being aware of it.
You want to affect change and make true equality a reality, start with the way you speak. Change it to be better. Understand the things we say and the way we act, even if we think it’s something small, affect other people. Maybe it diminishes them, maybe it makes them feel less than, and no one deserves to feel less than another human. Ever. Maybe that “little” joke discourages a young girl to try out for sports, or go into a STEM field, or even keeps them away from comics and video games. Small things add up over time to destroy big things, change doesn’t have to be a grand, loud gesture. Change can be small and quiet and passed along so others make small, quiet changes that build up to be the grand, loud reform we need.
Now that is out of the way, onto the original article with the correct information.
Science Porn (@SciencePorn) has been, in the past, a science-light account that tweets out cute little facts and photos and other items for those that enjoy science. Sometimes they fall prey to the internet and tweet out not so factual, uh, facts. Now they can add casual sexism to the mix. It all started not so innocently enough when @SciencePorn tweeted out a decidedly sexist post about women astronauts.
Let’s use this as a learning tool, this is what casual misogyny looks like. This is what we mean by casual anything, casual racism, rape culture, homophobia, etc it can be applied to all groups that are being oppressed or discriminated against. In this case, it’s that sexism is so steeped in our culture we don’t even realize when it’s happening. Instead we are told to “calm down’, to “take a joke”, and other belittling phrases that invalidate how we feel.
Sexism is sexism no matter how it’s packaged, be it a “little” joke or something larger like being passed over for a promotion because you have a vagina, or making less than your male counterparts because boobs. When we live in a culture where some of the worst insults are doing anything “like a girl”, being called a female body part, or being less than for doing anything that is perceived as feminine, these “little” things perpetuate antiquated thought that needs to be destroyed.
Words have power, they can shape, build, and destroy. Words have meaning, when you are making someone less than because female then you are insulting half the population. I don’t care if you think it’s a joke, it’s a way of thought and speaking that needs to die.
The replies are filled with people calling out SciencePorn for being sexist and, of course, then there are the people that predictably tell those people to “calm down” and “it’s just a joke”. Pro tip, if anyone tells me to calm down or learn to take a joke, it normally does the opposite. Which, honestly, may be the point of these people.
Like many others, a Neil deGrasse Tyson fan account (@DrNeilTyson) took exception to this little tweet and blasted away @SciencePorn. Now while the words are not NDT’s, I think the point remains the same which is why I decided to keep the article up. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a famous person who said it or not, it’s still valid.
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