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Welcome to Science, Girls! Do You Like My Naked Lady Shirt?

Philae Researcher taken to task over shirt worn for probe landing

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A very nifty thing happened in space this week, but you'd be forgiven for thinking that Philae robot spacecraft has to do with fashion instead of a probe landing on a comet after last night. You see, the big scientific victory was overshadowed by a scientist wearing an hideous shirt.

During a live feed from the European Space Agency (ESA), Matt Taylor, one of the researchers involved, thought it would be funny to wear a shimmery shirt covered in lingerie-clad women. Of course following masses of Twitter outrage, Taylor performed a swift wardrobe change. But the damage had been done, and just like that: one major leap "for mankind" turned into one giant misstep. With STEM programs having trouble attracting and keeping girls in the fields of math and science, it this how we encourage enrollment? I'd say, um, NO.

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It's just a shirt, you say. But the incident is more than a silly clothing choice like a CEO wearing a tie festooned with light-up reindeer at the company Christmas party. This act - a "naked lady" shirt - is someone demeaning women in a very public, jocular fashion. Astronomer Katie Mack (@AstroKatie) wasn't shy about leading the backlash on Twitter - and many agree. And here we wonder why women don't pursue careers in STEM!

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Frankly, I wouldn't even think Taylor wearing a reindeer tie would have been funny. Beyond overt sexism, the immaturity and unprofessional clothing detracted from the entire mission. If I were the ESA, I'd be shamefaced.

Sexism isn't cool, bud—not even when it's done in an offbeat, offhand way. Whether it was *intentionally* sexist is beside the point.

You tell me: Is the shirt sexist, or are we just hypersensitive?

Image Source: Twitter