Pharyngula

I have been objectified!

Here is a list, with photos, of 15 sexy scientists. It has a little excuse for some obvious bias in the choices:

(Why no men? Because I unavoidably find women more sexy, of course!)

Which is forthright and honest and all that…but then I got a look at #15. I’m very disturbed now. I had no idea that my awesome sexual charisma was overwhelming even heterosexual men nowadays.

I’m also bothered by the premise. I think it’s an excellent idea to promote the idea that scientists can be sexy, and women who are comfortable with that should be able to proudly present themselves as sexual beings. But the important concept is that women should have the choice, and their decisions should be respected. Men do not get the privilege of having the roving eye, of being able to pick individual women out of the crowd to tell them that here, they get to be object of sexual interest, especially not if they’re going to then publicly display them as clever eye candy.

The worst possible way to handle this is to search the internet for photos of women scientists and make superficial decisions about who the male eye would find sexy. There’s a process of judgment that went on behind the scenes, where many women scientists had to have been rejected because they were insufficiently ‘hot’, and then many of the women dragged into the spotlight had their “scientist” qualifications completely ignored for their literally biological qualifications. It’s a reiteration of the same inappropriate judgmental attitude that pretty much every woman scientist suffers through.

Promoting 15 sexy scientists is a fine idea, if the choices are entirely voluntary, and if the qualifications are more than a photo. Common Sense Atheism should have asked first, and found something a little more interesting than appearances to explain why they’re sexy. Or better yet, have the women explain what it means to be sexy, because men tend to be very poor judges of such phenomena.

I know, it would have been harder for me to make the cut if I’d had to qualify for my mind instead of my smokin’ hot body, but I can make that sacrifice.