Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Goodbye to Chris and Sheril

It’s official, The Intersection is moving to Discover Blogs as Carl Zimmer did earlier. I’m going to miss Chris and Sheril around the break room. Alas, controversy has already followed them to Discover, as DrugMonkey explains. It seems that several people immediately started commenting on Sheril’s physical beauty, something that is (rightly, in most cases) viewed as marginalizing a really, really smart woman and reducing her to a one-dimensional image.

I just wanted to add one bit of historical data, which is that Chris Mooney has also been spoken of in the same terms on more than one occasion. When he and I spoke together at a conference in Chicago a year and a half ago, I had several female friends comment about his dusky good looks. One even joked that they put him on the panel to attract women to the room.

Heck, the third speaker on the panel, Sean Carroll, got that treatment too, from a friend of mine who has a major crush on him from afar. She demanded that I give him a kiss from her when I met him; I settled for a handshake (not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but Jennifer might have had something to say about it). So yes, men do get treated the same way. Of course it’s also true that men have not faced the kind of historical stigma attached to physical appearance that women have. Men are rarely judged by their physical appearance so such comments are not going to marginalize them one bit.

One of the coolest things about ScienceBlogs to me is the number of really smart, accomplished women the project has attracted, both as bloggers and as our Seed overlords. And we’ll certainly miss Sheril as one of them, not because she’s beautiful but because she’s brilliant and engaging and interesting. Chris, on the other hand, we’ll just miss because of his cute tush.