Cool scientists, #2

Id like to take a minute to expand upon my post from yesterday

What I find odd about ‘Science Rock Stars’ is the way scientists and rock stars were awkwardly mashed together. Like mixing peanut butter and Twizzlers. They are both good independently, but unless youve got a real, obvious reason to mush them together, its weird.

I think it would make more sense, if one was deeply concerned about coolness, to utilize innate ‘cool’ aspects of scientists lives. As many pointed out in the comments, it would make more sense to interview scientists who were actual rock stars. Or if music was your theme, interview scientists who are also at least musicians. Utilize the benefits of online magazines to share clips of each scientist-musicians work. Lots of ways to take it!

If I were asked by an MMA magazine to do a ‘Scientist fighters’ spread, I would:

1– Scream
2– Whip up a Chun-Li costume
3– Start running to the shoot location. Fuck airplanes. Too slow.

THAT WOULD KICK ASS!! So many fight metaphors/analogies in science.

Thats almost certainly not going to happen. But some scientists/health care workers have gotten together to mesh their brains with their cool– Science Cheerleaders:

These professional cheerleaders-turned-scientists and engineers challenge stereotypes while helping to inspire young women to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.

At the USA Science and Engineering Festival, October 23-24 in D.C., these women will perform science-themed routines for thousands of people, conduct a free cheer clinic, and meet the public, sign their Science Cheerleader cards, and describe how they’ve bridged these two seemingly different worlds.

Awesome! Mixing their brains and their cool– exactly what I think is a practical approach to coolness, if you really want to go there.

These women are great– They were college athletes, in the sciences. Its hard enough missing classes for travel, but missing science classes and labs, and still keeping your grades up? Awesome. Wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. Wide variety of specialties, from NASA engineers to ER nurses. And what I think is most amazing– these women have professional careers on top of their professional careers. They were professional cheerleaders and professional scientists/clinicians. No effin way I would even think about being a professional fighter on top of being a professional scientist. But these women have done it, and they are using their experiences to encourage young ones to go into science. YAY!

No ‘YAY!’ if youre a bitter, hateful, spiteful she-beast humans call ‘Zuska’.

ZuskAIDS took a very reasonable post by Sci, which I absolutely agree with, and turned it into a disgusting, offensive, sexist, racist pile of shit feminist masterpiece.

As I understand it from reading Andrea Kuszewski’s post, cheerleaders are there to support the team.

‘As you understand it’? What? Cheerleaders as ‘supporting the team’ only hasnt been the case for decades. Decades. Cheerleaders are their own sport:

They are rocket-fueled gymnasts, of both genders.

But no, by all means, Feminist Zuska, degrade their sport by saying they just ‘do stunts to draw attention of the crowd to the team’.

‘Stunts’.

They are typically attractive… If one has no problem with being a sex object in the first place, then it hardly matters if one is also intelligent.

Feminist Zuska has no problem degrading people for their ‘attractive’ looks, but also has no problem bitching about being discriminated against for her appearance. In Zuskas little brain, you cannot be smart and pretty. Or if youre pretty, your brains ‘hardly matter’. GIRL POWER!

All girls love cheerleaders, unless they are (a) ugly hairy legged feminazis who can’t get laid, (b) ugly hairy legged feminazi lesbian bulldyke ballcrushers, or (c) ugly sad pathetic uncoordinated wannabes who didn’t make cheerleader in high school.

Im sorry, I must have missed the bit of the Science Cheerleaders clips where they talk about their sexuality. How, exactly, does one *know* that all of the women on the Science Cheer squad are not lesbians? I like make up, and I like fighting, what is my sexual preference, Zuska? I mean, I dont think its physically possible to be more offensive and degrading of ‘fellow’ women (lol, just wait a sec, she actually tops this).

Dude Nation will still want to fuck you up the ass!

Im sorry, I fail to see what is ‘wrong’ with anal sex, nor do I see what it has to do with the topic of cheerleaders who love science. But Zuska cant miss an opportunity to voice her disdain for sex, so, there you go.

Hey, you remember yesterday, when I said:

Unlike Mooneytits, however, I am not going to demand GQ stop doing their ‘Rock Stars of Science’ spreads because they are ‘hurting the cause’ and ‘doing damage’ or whatever other stupid shit regularly escapes Tits pearly white teeth. I think the campaign is silly, but I also think every little bit helps. If one kid (who reads GQ?) is inspired by these images, then its worth it.

Not the oh-so-civil ZuskAIDS! She wants everyone who doenst conform to her stereotypes to SHUT UP!!!

Let’s say the Science Cheerleaders do keep one girl in advanced science or math classes, but make three other girls feel like they have to pornulate themselves in order to be 21st Century Fembot Compliant While Doing Science, and make five d00ds feel like it is perfectly okay to hang up soft porn pictures of sexay hawt babes in the lab and harass some colleague because hawt science women WANT to be appreciated for being sexay and smart!

Once again, women cannot be attractive and smart in Zuskas world. Women cannot enjoy being cheerleaders. Women cannot enjoy sex. NEWSFLASH, HAG– Making women feel like they have to change themselves to appease a stereotype, whether its TEH D00DS or YOURS is BULLSHIT. Girls/Boys who want to cheer and go into science SHOULDNT be degraded anymore than girls/boys who DONT want to cheer and go into science.

SO STOP DEGRADING THE ONES THAT DONT FOLLOW YOUR STEREOTYPES.

At K-State we ran a science camp for middle school girls.

If ZuskAIDS gets one girl to get interested in science, but 3 girls are turned off because they get bitched out for liking sports or video games or boys or skirts, is it worth it?

Science Cheerleaders is, at the very best, an outreach program for already-privileged girls who are already interested in science/engineering but who are afraid it will make them look like fat lesbians.

Once again, we get Zuskas heteronormative, homophobia, masked as ‘feminism’, but now with added racism! Half the fucking women on the Science Cheer Squad are women of color. Look at the rainbow of little girls getting excited about science at the USA Engineering Festival. Is ZuskAIDS a big Glenn Beck fan, now? Them colored folks, gettin all the privilege in this country, amirite??

God DAMMIT I am glad we got that piece of shit off SciBlogs.

Comments

  1. #1 Alex
    November 26, 2010

    One thing I think everybody can agree on is that the Science Cheerleaders are better science outreach than the LHC Rap.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j50ZssEojtM

    Every white person who tries to spoof rap (except Andy Samberg) winds up sounding like they haven’t listened to a rap song since the mid 1980’s.

  2. #2 becca
    November 26, 2010

    First, Darlene of Science Cheerleader *does* do little spotlight pieces on non-cheerleaders- including one kickass scientist boxer (female). If you *wanted* her to do one on you, you should get in touch. I think this would be much more awesome than the cheerleading stuff, but that’s because I personally think MMA are so cool.

    Judging from the input by my best friend who was a competitive cheerleader:
    competitive cheerleaders : elizabeth blackburn :: typical high school cheerleader: mooney.
    There are people *doing* the thing (sport or science) and people who get *associated* with the thing (sport or science) in the eyes of the public.
    Professional cheerleaders are somewhere in the middle, as far as I can tell. I can see why people see the science cheerleaders as *cheering on science* but not *doing* science (in their lives, they do science. In the campaign, they aren’t really getting down with the beakers or pipets though. At least not yet. Maybe someone should send a note to Darlene?).

    Also, for what it’s worth, ‘stunting’ is the *technical* term for those cheerleaders flying through the air.

    Finally, being hot is an advantage. It gets people to look more favorably on you by default. So it’s pretty much textbook privilege. That does not imply that any cheerleaders of color have everything handed to them on a silver platter. Do you really think being a hot female cheerleader of color is *harder* than being an ugly female other-type-of-athlete of color?
    Even in science, all-else-equal, I think its easier to be hot (even though it shouldn’t, ideally, make a lick of difference *who* you are if your science is hot).

  3. #3 Tyler DiPietro
    November 26, 2010

    Zuskaids is just contemptuous of anyone who isn’t an old, ugly, ranting bitch like she is. The “feminism” is just an alibi.

  4. #4 Joshua Zelinsky
    November 26, 2010

    Zuska, may have some valid point in a limited way which she doesn’t actually say explicitly. Zuska said:

    Let’s say the Science Cheerleaders do keep one girl in advanced science or math classes, but make three other girls feel like they have to pornulate themselves in order to be 21st Century Fembot Compliant While Doing Science, and make five d00ds feel like it is perfectly okay to hang up soft porn pictures of sexay hawt babes in the lab and harass some colleague because hawt science women WANT to be appreciated for being sexay and smart!

    Zuska seems as fond as Chris Mooney at making hypothetical claims about the success or not of programs without anything resembling data. But it is conceivable that the total harassment resulting from this program will outweigh the good it does in getting young females into science. Presumably there’s some ratio at which we’d say that wasn’t ok (1 new scientist as opposed to 2000 harassment incidents would probably unambiguously cut it.) And there is a possibility that the total number of female scientists will actually go down if this results in enough harassment that females stop doing science.

    Also, when Zuska says:

    Science Cheerleaders is, at the very best, an outreach program for already-privileged girls who are already interested in science/engineering but who are afraid it will make them look like fat lesbians.

    To describe this as homphobic and heteronormative is probably accurate. At minimum, it is very insensitive. But, there’s some glimmer of an actual issue here: Some good looking young girls really do get worried that going into science will make them turn ugly or be thought of as ugly on unpopular. For example, here is close to a direct quote from a 10th grade female I was trying to persuade to go to a certain summer math program “But only ugly, unpopular girls do that sort of thing.” So while Zuska has a pretty hateful way of expressing the matter at hand, there’s some truth. It is likely that this sort of thing will more effectively target young females who are pretty and popular won’t worry as much that they’ll turn into pumpkins when they go into science. Where I disagree with Zuska is that that’s ok. Different things can target different groups. And of course, Zuska’s apparently anti-fat, homophobic way of expressing this is despicable.

  5. #5 Jon H
    November 26, 2010

    “What I find odd about ‘Science Rock Stars’ is the way scientists and rock stars were awkwardly mashed together”

    Right. It might well have been pop stars and stock photos, mashed together in Photoshop.

    As I noted in a comment over at Mooney’s blog, I didn’t find the photo of Debbie Harry + scientists impressive, but I did find it impressive a while back when I saw photos of British science fiction author China Mieville chilling with Debbie Harry and Blondie in London. Apparently the band had been reading his books on tour, and arranged to meet him when they got to London. That’s far more interesting – a genuine connection.

    I also mentioned that the “old scientists + pop stars + 30-something GQ readers” formula makes no sense. 30-something GQ readers have settled on a career, so even if the scientists are interesting, they’re not *that* interesting. The scientists tend to be late-career, so it’s hard for younger people to identify with them. If they want to have an impact, they should be running ads targeted at teens, featuring 20-something postdocs doing cool work *now* (rather than older scientists who supervise young scientists and spend lots of time in meetings). 20-somethings would be easier to identify with, and teens could see the postdocs as having positions they could attain themselves.

    (Also, I suspect the musical artists would have more to talk about with 20-30 year-old postdocs and grad students, who would probably be more tuned into the music scene.)

    So these ads should feature young scientists. Each pop star should be featured with a bunch of young scientists from a lab. In addition to the required clothes-selling fashion ad shot, there should be a shot of the pop star at the lab with the scientists, with everyone dressed casually (if perhaps a bit better than usual.) And it should run in a younger-skewing magazine than GQ.

    I mean, the computer science equivalent of these ads would have some musician in a photograph with Ed Catmull of Pixar. Sure, Ed’s a rockstar in his field. But I think, if the goal is to raise awareness of ‘science rockstars’ it’d be better to feature someone young like Mark Zuckerberg, or even the Russian teenager who created Chat Roulette.

  6. #6 Tyler
    November 26, 2010

    Another good post on this topic, Im a fan of hawt smarties. Also cool youre into MMA, but gina carano is lame.

  7. #7 Azkyroth
    November 26, 2010

    But it is conceivable that the total harassment resulting from this program will outweigh the good it does in getting young females into science.

    What’s your evidence that any harassment at all will result from it?

  8. #8 Alan Kellogg
    November 26, 2010

    Paleontology is cool, so paleontologists are cool. See how it works? Make chemistry, physics, and mathematics cool and you’ll make chemists, physicists, and mathematicians cool.

  9. #9 Azkyroth
    November 27, 2010

    PS:

    Zuska is an obsessive prude. Why doesn’t that surprise me?

  10. #10 Alex
    November 27, 2010

    In fairness to Zuska, I interpreted her remark about “ugly hairy legged feminazi lesbian bulldyke ballcrushers” not as a personal endorsement of an awful stereotype, but rather a suggestion that the culture has brainwashed young girls into believing in such stereotypes, and associating these stereotypes with women who go into professions not seen as traditionally feminine.

    Still…

    First, even if we interpret the remark as charitably as I suggested, she still invoked some very bad language and stereotypes. If somebody else used that sort of language, any sort of explanations about “No, see, I was referencing the stereotype, not endorsing it…” would be dismissed as “Mansplaining”, so, yeah, hold her to her own standard.

    Second, I see little evidence that female scientists are stereotyped as “ugly hairy legged feminazi lesbian bulldyke ballcrushers.” Mostly it seems that females are stereotyped as not being scientists at all, or female scientists are stereotyped as “uncool”, which is a far cry from the graphic image Zuska conjured.

  11. #11 History Punk
    November 27, 2010

    Consider yourself lucky that she didn’t brand you a misogynist or homophobe.

  12. #12 Lifewish
    November 27, 2010

    Personally there is nothing I like better than seeing someone take a stereotype and turn it upside down. Finding out about Science Cheerleaders absolutely made my day.

    There is a positive benefit that you didn’t mention. Things like this get men used to the idea that women – even attractive women – can be science geeks. Which in turn means that women in the sciences are likely to be confronted by less casual bigotry.

    It is easy for guys to look at a girl and think “she looks like she just walked off the cover of a lad’s mag, there’s no way she can count past 10 without taking off her shoes and socks”. This is a stupid attitude, and it can be easily changed by exposure to smart women. Well done to the Science Cheerleaders for helping the process along.

    (If there are any female Brits reading this, have a look at the Girl Geeks movement for more of the same.)

  13. #13 Joshua Zelinsky
    November 27, 2010

    Azkyroth, er… essentially none?

  14. #14 Joshua Zelinsky
    November 27, 2010

    Sorry, making a more substantive comment. I don’t have evidence for it. And it seems unlikely. But it is something that could conceivably occur and without any data is one plausible worry.

  15. #15 David/Abel
    November 27, 2010

    C’mon, ERV, I’d think you’d be above being so hostile to Zuska in making your case. Why so much hate? You’re better than that.

  16. #16 Azkyroth
    November 27, 2010

    C’mon, ERV, I’d think you’d be above being so hostile to Zuska in making your case. Why so much hate? You’re better than that.

    Not THIS shit again….

  17. #17 emote_control
    November 27, 2010

    I think there’s an important point to be made that for a lot of young women, when they think of female scientists they think of sexless, frumpy, socially awkward women. Much in the way that male scientists are often portrayed as sexless, frumpy, and socially awkward. But if you don’t perceive yourself as fitting this sort of stereotype, you might think that science isn’t something you want to do, because you won’t relate to other people in the discipline.

    The science cheerleaders might just communicate to some of those young women that there are people doing science that resemble themselves, and that entering the study of science won’t alienate them. It’s widening the cultural stereotype of the sort of person who does science to include a broader range of people.

  18. #18 madder
    November 27, 2010

    @emote_control:
    It might also help to mention that the, erm… social behavior [ahem] at my own professional society meetings, at least, resemble an episode of Grey’s Anatomy.

  19. #19 kevinj
    November 27, 2010

    I really am struggling to see the purpose of this campaign. Having some scientists standing around looking awkward doesnt quite work for me (and since i appear to sit in the GQ general demographic…). If, and its a big if, i was going to try something on those lines surely getting some “rock star” who does genuinely have an interest in a particular field and have do an interview/tuition with some researchers in that field. Stick it into a documentary and see if people get interested that way.

  20. #20 Isabel
    November 28, 2010

    “But if you don’t perceive yourself as fitting this sort of stereotype, you might think that science isn’t something you want to do, because you won’t relate to other people in the discipline.”

    I think this is laughable. More than half of the students in the science undergrad classes I TA are attractive young women. Two close friends daughters have decided to study physics, both beautiful girls. If all this fear you all keep talking on and on about exists, I’ve never seen any evidence of it. It’s all anectdotal, and everyone seems to be getting off a little too enthusiastically here on calling feminists hags and bitches. What a great message for young girls!

    And where did Zuska say sex was bad anyway, or girls can’t be sexy and smart? How was her camp promoting stereotypes, or judging girls for their choices, as you imply? I don’t think it’s the ‘feminists’ who are freaking out and being hateful and frothing at the mouth here. A lot of good points are being made, but they are being completely ignored and replaced with the unsubstantiated accusation that all the critics are ugly and bitter. THAT is a stereotype and you don’t even seem to notice you are spreading yet another negative stereotype about women.

    And fighting sounds cool, but cheering is goofy, and kind of infantile, sorry.

  21. #21 Robert Bruce Thompson
    November 28, 2010

    Ironically, Abbie’s comments on Zuska reminded me of Fred Reed’s comments on radical feminists, here:

    < http://www.fredoneverything.net/COL1.shtml>

    FTA:

    “OK, I understand that the radical feminist ladies are a few french fries short of a Happy Meal. They can’t help themselves. What I can’t figure is why more-or-less grown-up editors publish all this clucking and scratching as if it made sense. And I also don’t understand how the rules got fixed so that a Dworkin can say anything at all about men and get away with it–but men can’t say anything back.

    Any loon feminist can accuse men of being rapists, killers, sadists, and Marines. These are pretty serious charges. A fellow could take exception to them. But if I say something comparatively innocuous in return, such as that I weary of being harried by a rat-pack of diesel-fired tarantulas who mostly look like Rin Tin Tin’s littermates–why, they get mad. (Yes, I know, that was a three-animal zoological-automotive metaphor. Patent applied for.)

    I figure if radical-feminist ladies can talk ugly about us, then we can talk ugly about them. And we’re probably better at it, which they might bear in mind.

    What I say is, if you have pool-hall manners, you ought to expect to play by pool-hall rules. Any guy who doesn’t work for the Washington Post knows this. Go into the wrong bar, and somebody will likely hit you over the head with a pool cue. Nothing wrong with that. But the assailant will grant you the right, while questioning your ability, to smack him on the head with your cue. Symmetry. Reciprocity. Conservation of parity.

    Not those feminist people. They want to swing cues. They don’t want to get swung at. I say let’s treat’em equal.”

  22. #22 Isabel
    November 28, 2010

    Ironic? How is that in any way ironic?

    “Go into the wrong bar, and somebody will likely hit you over the head with a pool cue. Nothing wrong with that”

    Where is the right bar for feminists? It sounds like you are saying (while greatly enjoying the vicarious indulgence in feminist-hate, nice one there Robert) that it’s a man’s world, so feminists should shut up. Men are in charge here so just shut up. No? Okay what are you saying? Can you try saying it in your own words maybe, minus the hate?

    And *you* can mercilessly mock every feminist that ever lived and you’re just hanging out at the pool hall, yet we can’t mock the science cheerleaders and their outfits and antics that are more suitable for toddlers without being called bitter and vengeful? That is the part I don’t get. Any way you look at it it just doesn’t add up.

    I also don’t see how you are being constructive at all. And after reading Abby’s last post, about scientists trying to be cool, I am more confused than ever. It’s no sillier when scientists want to be seen as ‘sexy’ and try to get that message across with cheesy outfits and pom poms? And then use that to sell s science to kids? *That* fits your high standards of cool?

    And the video here is disingenuous – the one that is promoting the science cheerleaders is nothing like this. It’s cheesily pornified and infantile (little baby-blue onesies and go-go boots) consisting of women waving pom-poms and spelling out words. Is it really so hard to see this as embarrassing? And it’s funny, many of the proponents are trying to say it’s all about sexual expression (just happens to be use to sell something totally unrelated-total coincidence I guess) and yet others say it’s not about sex at all, it’s a wholesome sport, you perverts and haters of beautiful, athletic woman.

    Well, this just sounds like people trying to get attention/win points by being cooler than all the hung-up, ugly feminists.

  23. #23 MadScientist
    November 28, 2010

    @Isabel: I certainly wouldn’t object to people going around telling the young women that they shouldn’t be afraid to do the things they may have been told was just for d00ds, but the cheerleader part seems irrelevant to me. Now if you’ve got a lot of women in a science class that’s great – I’ve known a few women who have never had problems through their school years and in their workplaces. I’ve known far more women who seem to have problems everywhere, and it’s no fault of theirs they just happen to be in places where there’s still a lot of gender discrimination. Even in the so-called ‘first world’ I often encounter women who had to leave home and work their butts off to get their college degrees because their families didn’t believe women should do anything but stay at home and have babies – and I’m not talking about non-white immigrants either. So there are huge problems out there, even if you have been so fortunate as to never experience it. Now back to the cheerleading – I’ve only looked at a few articles, but they do seem to concentrate on the “you can be a scientist/engineer too, despite being a cheerleader” rather than on “women can do great in the sciences and engineering too”, so I’m somewhat ambivalent about the campaign.

  24. #24 Robert Bruce Thompson
    November 28, 2010

    Ironic? How is that in any way ironic?

    Ironic because Fred Reed is a staunch conservative and periodically posts screeds against evolution, and yet he would have the same opinion of Zuska as Abbie apparently does.

    It sounds like you are saying (while greatly enjoying the vicarious indulgence in feminist-hate, nice one there Robert) that it’s a man’s world, so feminists should shut up. Men are in charge here so just shut up. No? Okay what are you saying? Can you try saying it in your own words maybe, minus the hate?

    Nothing vicarious about it. I mock PC feminists regularly. They give feminism a bad name. OTOH, I am in complete agreement with rational feminists like ZOMGitscriss, xxxThePeachxxx, and so on. Incidentally, I don’t hate PC feminists. They’re not worth that much effort. I despise them and hold them in contempt.

  25. #25 Azkyroth
    November 28, 2010

    Ironic because Fred Reed is a staunch conservative and periodically posts screeds against evolution, and yet he would have the same opinion of Zuska as Abbie apparently does.

    ERV, so far as I can tell, objects to Zuska fundamentally because she’s an intellectually dishonest, hypocritical bully. While the same, from what I’ve read, was true of Dworkin, Fred Reed doesn’t seem to be objecting to that, he seems to be objecting to having unflattering but true things said about the social group and social hierarchy he belongs to and benefits from. The only thing the complaints have in common is you can GROSSLY oversimplify them to “x is mean.”

    Is that the level you work at? Just so we’re clear on this…

  26. #26 Azkyroth
    November 28, 2010

    “But if you don’t perceive yourself as fitting this sort of stereotype, you might think that science isn’t something you want to do, because you won’t relate to other people in the discipline.”

    I think this is laughable. More than half of the students in the science undergrad classes I TA are attractive young women. Two close friends daughters have decided to study physics, both beautiful girls. If all this fear you all keep talking on and on about exists, I’ve never seen any evidence of it. It’s all anectdotal, and everyone seems to be getting off a little too enthusiastically here on calling feminists hags and bitches. What a great message for young girls!

    And where did Zuska say sex was bad anyway, or girls can’t be sexy and smart? How was her camp promoting stereotypes, or judging girls for their choices, as you imply? I don’t think it’s the ‘feminists’ who are freaking out and being hateful and frothing at the mouth here. A lot of good points are being made, but they are being completely ignored and replaced with the unsubstantiated accusation that all the critics are ugly and bitter. THAT is a stereotype and you don’t even seem to notice you are spreading yet another negative stereotype about women.

    And fighting sounds cool, but cheering is goofy, and kind of infantile, sorry.

    Just so I understand, are you ACTUALLY attempting to communicate that the only “feminists” in this discussion are Zuska and the people who agree with her?

  27. #27 theshortearedowl
    November 28, 2010

    ‘As you understand it’? What? Cheerleaders as ‘supporting the team’ only hasnt been the case for decades. Decades. Cheerleaders are their own sport:

    Umm… except for at every football or basketball game from high school level up in the US?

    They are rocket-fueled gymnasts, of both genders.

    But only one gender is wearing ra-ra skirts and bikini tops.

    I agree that cheerleading taken entirely out of societal context is fucking cool. So is pole-dancing. But you can’t just make society go away like that.

    I like MarkCC’s take on it best. http://scientopia.org/blogs/goodmath/2010/11/25/gender-bias-sexism-and-the-science-cheerleaders/

  28. #28 Isabel
    November 28, 2010

    Actually, I am not the one who put the feminist label on anyone. Everyone else seems to be having a grand old time doing so without help from me. And yeah, breaking it down into ‘good feminists’ and ‘bad feminists’ (I can see where you’re going with this)is sooo helpful!

    It’s not even necessary to be labeled as a feminist to be assumed to be ugly and bitter (see the discussion on Sci’s thread). ALL women wanted to be cheerleaders in high school, and those that didn’t make the cut are to be pitied and derided.

    Anyone who is put off by this embarrassingly goofy, superficial campaign and the way it is presented is viewed automatically as a bitter old feminist hag who hates hot chicks. Anyone who finds the spectacle of grown women in sexed-up little-girl outfits jumping up and down and waving pom poms while spelling out simple words hates beautiful women! There is no other explanation! This opinion is even presented front and center on the official website. What a terrible message for young girls, who wouldn’t even have a chance at all if it were not for feminists. And are under steadily *increasing* pressure to be ‘hot’ at inappropriately young ages.

    It’s not necessary in the first place. The problems females are having as described by Madscientist (and I *have* faced huge issues myself btw-I’m from a traditional culture AND I used to be in the hyper-sexist animation industry) are not due to their fears of being seen as unattractive.

  29. #29 Azkyroth
    November 28, 2010

    Isabel, I don’t think anyone else is reading into this what you are and that entire post is orthogonal to the arguments actually being advanced.

    You’re also wrong. Look at the post I quoted again – you explicitly contrast “feminists” with people who are supportive of, or advocate tolerance of (you also don’t seem to distinguish between the two) the “Science Cheerleaders” project.

  30. #30 Azkyroth
    November 28, 2010

    Additionally, while I’m not terribly fond of cheerleaders or cheerleading (or any sport), neither doing vigorous, high-precision gymnastics moves and stunts nor wearing outfits designed to emphasize and allow the free movement of the body during these stunts, particularly in a larger pattern coordinated across an entire team, are NOT behaviors I associate with small children.

    Stamping one’s foot and screaming that everyone who doesn’t want to do things MY way is horrible, on the other hand…

  31. #31 Isabel
    November 28, 2010

    “nor wearing outfits designed to emphasize and allow the free movement of the body during these stunts”

    hahaha so *that’s* why they wear the go-go boots and bare their midriffs, sure….that also explains why the males wear long pants and the females wear short shorts. Haha

    “doing vigorous, high-precision gymnastics moves and stunts”

    you are mixing up their video and website with the *completely different* video Abby posted, which looked like straightforward gymnastics, yes, and no one was holding any pom poms or giant letters or spelling out any simple words or inane chants. Those are the behaviors I was pretty clearly associating with children.

    And I am not the one stamping my foot, I am the one pointing out that arguments are being ignored and simplistic name-calling is going on in its place. (and once again, I did not start the ‘feminist’ bashing, I’m just commenting on it). Maybe you need to read the comments more carefully.

    I also asked where in Zuska’s post, all hate aside if that’s possible, she said any of the things Abby is claiming, like girls can’t be beautiful and smart, etc. It sounds like Abby just took a lot of sarcasm literally. I am not a major fan of Zuska’s but it has nothing to do with her being a feminist. We need all the feminists we can get.

    btw, can you imagine any male waving pom poms or giant letters or spelling any simple words or inane chants in cutesy little outfits unless it was 1) for laughs or 2) for a kids show? But we consider this normal behavior for women.

    Oh well. enjoy your hating.

  32. #32 Azkyroth
    November 28, 2010

    I also asked where in Zuska’s post, all hate aside if that’s possible, she said any of the things Abby is claiming, like girls can’t be beautiful and smart, etc. It sounds like Abby just took a lot of sarcasm literally. I am not a major fan of Zuska’s but it has nothing to do with her being a feminist. We need all the feminists we can get.

    Where is anyone objecting to Zuska being a feminist or arguing against anyone else being one?

    You have no intention of engaging my charge that you’re trying to pretend “feminist” only applies to people who agree with you on this issue, do you?

  33. #33 daedalus2u
    November 28, 2010

    What about people doing interpretive dance about their research?

    http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2008/11/20-02.html

    Is that cheerleading or self-promotion, or both?

    and what about us straight d00ds who can’t dance waaannnhh waaaannhhh waaaannnnhhh.

  34. #34 Isabel
    November 29, 2010

    Azkyroth, obviously you are not 100% functioning – I don’t know you so how was I to know this;)

    Why do you keep saying I am making claims about who is a feminist? It is everybody else in this whole discussion who is using the term, and using it pejoratively I might add. That is what I am complaining about. Are you trying to co-opt my complaint? Did you read the OP for example? Or read the cheerleaders site?

    Daedalus, everyone can dance. If you can feel the rhythm you can dance. Just do it! Get into the groove man. We won’t laugh. Unless you start waving pom poms around or spelling out 5-letter words;) If you are going to do something weirdly interpretive it should at least be clever then we will laugh with you, not at you.

  35. #35 Azkyroth
    November 29, 2010

    But if you don’t perceive yourself as fitting this sort of stereotype, you might think that science isn’t something you want to do, because you won’t relate to other people in the discipline.”

    I think this is laughable. More than half of the students in the science undergrad classes I TA are attractive young women. Two close friends daughters have decided to study physics, both beautiful girls. If all this fear you all keep talking on and on about exists, I’ve never seen any evidence of it. It’s all anectdotal, and everyone seems to be getting off a little too enthusiastically here on calling feminists hags and bitches. What a great message for young girls!

    And where did Zuska say sex was bad anyway, or girls can’t be sexy and smart? How was her camp promoting stereotypes, or judging girls for their choices, as you imply? I don’t think it’s the ‘feminists’ who are freaking out and being hateful and frothing at the mouth here. A lot of good points are being made, but they are being completely ignored and replaced with the unsubstantiated accusation that all the critics are ugly and bitter. THAT is a stereotype and you don’t even seem to notice you are spreading yet another negative stereotype about women.

    And fighting sounds cool, but cheering is goofy, and kind of infantile, sorry.

    Emphasis mine. One example of many.

    Did you, or did you not, make that post?

    Are you seriously going to dispute that under the straightforward rules of English semantics the bolded statements set up a dichotomy between “‘feminists’ who are being criticized for their statements in opposition to the Science Cheerleader project” and “people here who are criticizing them?”

  36. #36 Azkyroth
    November 29, 2010

    …or am I straight-up being trolled?

  37. #37 Phoenix Woman
    November 29, 2010

    Wonder what the Anti-Sex League thinks of sex-positive feminists like Susie Bright?

  38. #38 Phoenix Woman
    November 29, 2010

    Curious about the posting that Z. found too offensive to link, I had braced myself for something horribly grotesque in a “Family Guy” sort of way — and instead found a sensible post by a person who, in addition to being conventionally attractive and a scientist, is also a very good therapist:

    Let me frame this in the context of a true story, a situation where I was training a new therapist to work with a young child with Asperger’s and OCD. This child had an obsession with peach crayons. Of all the hundreds of colors in the crayola box, the peach crayon was the color extraordinaire. So I asked the newbie therapist what her course of action would be to handle his inappropriate obsession with the peach crayon, given it was interfering with therapy.

    Her answer: Since he is obsessed with the peach crayon, and it is resulting in maladaptive behavior that is unreasonable and interfering with therapeutic goals, we should just remove the peach crayon from the box so it is unavailable. That way, he won’t be able to engage in inappropriate behaviors surrounding the crayon, and we can continue on with therapy.

    Wroooong answer. (However, a typical rookie error)

    Removing the crayon from the box (a.k.a removing the object of obsession) is exactly the opposite of what you should do. The peach crayon shouldn’t be hidden from view, it should be the new target item. Let me explain.

    Removing the peach crayon is not helping him deal with his unrealistic expectations of the peach crayon, or change his maladaptive behaviors surrounding the peach crayon. By hiding it, he is only suppressing those behaviors because the antecedent to the behavior isn’t visible. The urge to engage in those behaviors will reemerge as soon as that crayon reappears. Some day, somehow, in the course of that child’s life, he will come into contact with a peach crayon, and all hell will break loose. Not an effective method of therapy.

    Instead, you need to expose the child to that peach crayon more often, and when he engages in those inappropriate behaviors, you teach him to change that behavior, show him what is appropriate, and shape his behavior from there. You force him to deal with the discomfort of changing his maladaptive ways surrounding that peach crayon, because really—life is full of peach crayons, and he’d better learn to deal with the reality of those crayons now, because the world will not stop producing peach crayons just to keep his behavior in check.

    How does this relate to cheerleaders and sexuality and science? In short, the people that have a problem with women displaying their sexuality or scientists showing their fun, flirty side need to just get over it. As humans, we are sexual beings. Just because we may be serious as hell about the science we study, does not mean we gave up our sexuality and traded it in for a “license to practice science” badge.

    Suppressing our sexual nature just because some people engage in maladaptive behaviors and have unrealistic expectations surrounding our sexuality is the exact wrong way to handle this issue. We need to keep on being who we are, sexual beings and all, and make those people deal with the fact that it isn’t going away. They are the ones being maladaptive in their thinking, so they are the ones who need to change.

    I am not going to tip-toe around the haters and pretend to be someone I’m not (and neither should you), living an unauthentic life, just because they don’t know how to act around the peach crayon. They need to be taught how to act around that peach crayon, because the peach crayon isn’t going anywhere. The rehabilitation of the messed-up thinking about human sexuality and feminism begins by coming out of the closet—as human beings, sexual and all.

    But of course, simply hiding the peach crayon is a lot less effort than actively working with the child, y’know?

  39. #39 Kemanorel
    November 29, 2010

    It seems like Zuska’s argument boils down to this: women scientists are already treated like objects and women cheerleader scientists are just making it worse, therefore, these women cheerleader scientists should stop.

    It’s placing the blame on the wrong people. The women aren’t the problem. The MEN are the problem. Don’t stop the cheerleaders; Teach men to behave appropriately.

  40. #40 Prometheus
    November 29, 2010

    Phoenix Woman@#37

    “Wonder what the Anti-Sex League thinks of sex-positive feminists like Susie Bright?”

    Zusdamort would probably accuse Bright of being complicit in her own exploitation (one of Z’s favorites).
    She tried to silence ERV once by accusing her of insufficient victimization (WTF).

    I picture Freaky Z sitting on a front porch in with MacKinnon and Nikki Craft toplessly tonelessly talking about the sex positive war of aggression and invoking the ghost of Dworkin like some morbidly obese secretly heterosexual wymyn’s version of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

    “Yep, Ol’ Andrea would have given them hetero-normative default-body-type gender traitors the wut fer.”

    My problem with this crap is that nobody gets to decide for someone else what is and is not a feminist position.

    Sure, offer a critique but the minute you start peddling the violation of legalistic dogma you might as well start binding feet.

    The Feminism I grew up with offers the promise of freedom from AND freedom to. It makes that promise to everybody.

    It isn’t some elaborate rationalization intellectual laziness/dishonesty, chronic indolence and a snide resentment of youth’s potential.

    When Freaky Z describes herself as a mentor, makes me physically ill.

    I would no more entrust an open mind to her ichor than I would hire Grady Stiles to teach a parenting class.

  41. #41 Isabel
    November 29, 2010

    So using your ‘flirty sexual side’ to excite children about science is just a way of expressing your sexuality, (so it would be an appropriate technique for men too, oh okay) and jumping up and down spelling out words in support of male activities (sorry what cheerleaders usually do and what they are famous for doing) is a healthy way to ‘express one’s sexuality’ and not at all reflective of a sexist society. And anyone who dares to mock this is a prude and anti-sex! And obviously a devout follower of a troubled woman who died years ago who you are all apparently obsessed with. Got it.

  42. #42 Dave
    November 29, 2010

    Im a guy — I want it all: I want a sucessful career, a high-paying job, a family and rock-hard abs that make women swoon. Ive been fairly successful at these endeavors and usually get respect for it.

    She Who Must Be Obeyed wants it all: She wants a sucessful career, a high-paying job, a family and body that makes men drool. She has been fairly sucessful at these endeavors and usually gets shit for it.

    It can suck to be a woman. The moss-backed dinosaurs assume that since she has a carrer and a good job that shes not spending enough time with the family. The crazy cat ladies assume that since she has a family, works out and can dress-to-kill, shes aiding and abetting her own victimization.

    The former need to realize that in the 21st century, we dont need 19th century divisions of labor. The latter need to realize that feminism doesnt require mandatory leg-hair checks.

    If you want women to be treated the same as men, that should mean that they get the same respect for doing it all that men get.

  43. #43 DPSisler
    November 29, 2010

    Do I smell internet drama? Can you wait for 5 minutes while I pop some popcorn? Zuska left???? never knew she was gone…oh well…..

  44. #44 Rich Hendricks
    November 29, 2010

    I don’t really understand the need for rock stars to begin with, but then again, maybe we’re not really the target audience.

    Some of my ad ideas;

    This scientist fights cancer
    (insert pic of scientist)
    He/She develops drugs that cause cancers cells to explode.
    (or whatever)
    Cool? You bet.

    This engineer develops prosthetics
    (insert pic of engineer)
    She/He has invented a new robot arm that can pick up an egg.
    Cool? You bet.

    This astronomer searches for galaxies colliding
    (insert pic of astronomer)
    He/She has captured stars being born.
    Cool? You bet.

    And you can also extend the theme a little…

    This virologist is working to cure HIV
    (insert pic of virologist)
    She/He has discovered how AIDS destroys our immune system.
    Cool? You bet.
    And she/he’s looking for help from you.

    Basically, take the rock stars out of the picture, and tighten up the words, and you’ll have a much better impact.

  45. #45 Prometheus
    November 29, 2010

    Isabel@#41

    The question was, “What would the anti-sex (Brownmilleresque second wave radical feminism) crowd think about Bright?” That was the question I was answering with quote and reference attribution.

    I don’t know who or what you are addressing but your opinion of cheerleaders is pretty dumb and weirdly prurient. It seems to have more to do with the fetish than the activity.

    “jumping up and down spelling out words in support of male activities”

    This is a direct descendant of flag semaphore, a 1906 Girl Guide Badge and an outdoor activity popular with the suffragettes. It is why early cheerleader uniforms had a nautical theme. Drill team/army auxiliary, Cheerleaders/Navy auxiliary.

    “{sarcasm}…is a healthy way to ‘express one’s sexuality’ and not at all reflective of a sexist society.”

    The cheerleader as sexual object theme is a direct result of the sexual liberation movement of the 1970s. The second wave was at the apex of its political power. Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, Playgirl, Dolemite…. that sort of baby boomer crap.

    When Ruth Bader and Gloria Steinem were doing it, it was an ankle length felt skirt and turtle neck activity.

    I don’t know what Roosevelt and Eisenhower wore.

    Only creepy baby boomers have this fetish BTW.

    Everybody GenX and beyond just sees it as another athletic activity. It is rehearsed at sporting events (Men’s and Women’s) and then staged against other teams competitively.

    The majority of the world has had competitive acrobatic dance troupes for a couple thousand years.

    Look, we all have baggage but Z is so intellectually lazy she insists others carry her bag until she can throw it around like the Samsonite gorilla.

    Somebody is going to lose an eye.

  46. #46 Isabel
    November 29, 2010

    “If you want women to be treated the same as men, that should mean that they get the same respect for doing it all that men get. ”

    Okay I want you to dance around in a speedo while waving pom poms and spelling out 5-letter words and we’ll see how much respect you get. Or how about wearing lowcut sleeveless shirts that show your chest (maybe add some bling haha) and shorts to work. Men only do things like this for a laugh.

    For the rest of you: cheerleading as depicted on the official website and video is the ‘hot chick’ kind, not what you are disingenuously describing, which I would not find that objectionable. I don’t like marketing sexiness to little girls.

    Haha oddly prurient, I’m beginning to think you all are weirdly asexual!

    Honestly, you guys are the ones reading way way more into this. No one is hating beautiful women, or saying women shouldn’t express their sexuality. I do find it a little odd that ‘expressing female sexuality’ seems equated here with little else besides looking hot though. It’s like female sexuality=narcissism in your minds.

    “The majority of the world has had competitive acrobatic dance troupes for a couple thousand years.”

    with an obvious erotic slant? I’ve seen the latest American versions and they can be super-sexualized (for the women).

  47. #47 Azkyroth
    November 30, 2010

    No one is hating beautiful women, or saying women shouldn’t express their sexuality.

    As long as the women present themselves, and the sexuality is expressed, in the narrow range of ways you approve of.

  48. #48 Isabel
    November 30, 2010

    Actually I pointed out that *your* ideas of female sexual ‘expression’ were strangely narrow. There you go co-opting my arguments again.

    And the only thing I have disapproved of is ‘expressing female sexuality’ as a way to get little kids interested in science, and encouraging and pressuring young girls to be ‘hot’ (in all the ways this is increasingly done in our society).

    Look, you obviously have some huge chip on your shoulder, that is leading to some pretty irrational arguments, so I will bow out now, a little overdue I realize. I was just curious about all the fuss over here, but I think it’s way too weird for me to delve into at this time.

    All the best to you.

  49. #49 Azkyroth
    December 1, 2010

    Oh-kay, that’s a “yes” to my question at #36.

  50. #50 Katharine
    December 9, 2010

    Funny, ERV, how you seem to juxtapose ‘brains’ and ‘cool’ in your post, as if they’re somehow not synonymous, and come off as saying ‘OH WELL IT’S IMPORTANT FOR LADEEZ TO LOOK TEH SEX’. I think Zuska has a good point here. I don’t feel like making myself look like a sex object, and cheerleading, really, is mostly about sex-objecty-crap in the context of society no matter how much one tries to call it some kind of sport – you never see cheerleading done independent of, say, football, and even dude cheerleaders are obviously just there as supports for the female cheerleaders who are putting themselves out there on ogle subject duty.

    I prefer to be who I am. I have a brain; I don’t NEED to use my body.

    The solution is not to capitulate to the gibbering masses. The solution is to tell society they are Doing It Wrong.

  51. #51 Spartan
    December 9, 2010

    you never see cheerleading done independent of, say, football,

    Uh, yea, you might think that, Katharine, if you’re too lazy to even look at the youtube video that was provided in the post… see any football players there?

    The solution is to tell society they are Doing It Wrong.

    Your solution also seems to be to tell the cheerleaders that they aren’t allowed to be who they are. But by all means, insult them by juxtaposing using their brain and using their body as if they can’t do both.

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