You may have heard that a few days ago, a mission was completed which was almost 11 years in the making. Humankind landed a probe on a comet; or more specifically Dr Matt Taylor and his team. Rosetta shows just how far science has come, how much humans can achieve and is one of the greatest scientific feats of the year, if not the decade.
Unfortunately, you are more likely to have heard that Dr Matt Taylor wore a shirt. As I wrote this previous sentence it did seem rather onionesque but unfortunately this is no joke. Instead of being known as one of the greatest minds of our time, it seems the doctor will now be known as the guy who wore a Hawaiian shirt, in a incident now being dubbed #shirtgate.
The offending shirt which was made for the scientist by a female friend, has received outrage from several outlets, most notably the Verge, for depicting leotard wearing women, and forced Taylor to make a very public apology where he choked back tears. What should be the greatest day of his life has now been tarnished by the wide variety of hate and harassment he has received over wearing the offending item. Harassers made one of the most brilliant men in science cry for his choice of clothing. It would be almost comical if it wasn’t so horrifying.
“The shirt I wore this week, I made a big mistake and I offended many people and I am very sorry about this.”
Elly Prizeman who made the shirt for Taylor’s birthday found the negative reaction to be unexpected. The main justification for the attack on Taylor seems to be that his shirt could offend women who are already a minority in STEM industries, therefore ostracizing them or otherwise changing their minds on entering this workplace. While it should be noted that some women have called out against the shirt, the majority and certainly the most vocal voices seem to come from men.
Personally, it is sad to see that in a world where women are tackling issues such as middle-class men deciding whether or not they are eligible for abortion, the same men are now telling the same women what they should be offended by, or feel ostracised for, and worse under the guise that they are helping them. In a world where women are fighting for the right to choose a family and a career, the right to have an abortion, and the right to not be raped, they are being set back years by men who choose to attack people who desire equality for women, for the tiniest act, even something as mundane as wearing a shirt.
On a personal note, I would like to make something clear. I am being harassed, otracised and attacked daily, in an attempt to drive me out of the gaming and tech industries; and the people who are pushing me out, are the very same who claim to be fighting for me.
Thank you Dr Matt Taylor. Thank you for your contribution to science and the world. I will support you, whatever you wear.