“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.” -John F. Kennedy

No one likes being denied an opportunity — or told they shouldn’t do something they want to — solely because of the way they are. That’s especially true when it comes to something that’s an intrinsic part of one’s self, such as their race, gender, demeanor or personality. Which is why it surprised me to have my own legitimacy as a scientist questioned because of the way I choose to present myself to the world.

Image credit: J. Cummings, of Ethan Siegel in 2015.

Image credit: J. Cummings, of Ethan Siegel in 2015.

I think it’s important, in this world, not to conform to whatever stereotype people expect you to be, but rather to be yourself and express yourself as you truly are. In my experience, the people who matter most will not judge you negatively for that, but rather will appreciate your authenticity all that much more. Because not everyone needs to look like a majority (or even a plurality) of the people in your field do.

Dianne Feinstein and Bobak Ferdowsi (a.k.a. “NASA mohawk guy”), the activity lead for NASA’s Curiosity mission. Image credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes.

Dianne Feinstein and Bobak Ferdowsi (a.k.a. “NASA mohawk guy”), the activity lead for NASA’s Curiosity mission. Image credit: AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes.

There’s a lot more to be said about “looking like a scientist,” and I’ll take it on for this week’s Ask Ethan!

Comments

  1. #1 Chris Mannering
    April 16, 2016

    The way you look is fine but something that is curious is just that you never use your natural face. Your mouth is always wide open as the centrepiece of more or less the same facial contortion. I think you must be doing this for a reason. Years ago I used to have large puffy bags under my eyes and I got so hung up about it that trying to hide them began to dominate my life. It’s never a happy way to be. It is treatable.

  2. #2 Wow
    April 16, 2016

    Yeah, but being photographed isn’t the human’s normal status, so grinning or whatever isn’t non-normal in that non-normal situation.

    It’s entirely possible however for this to be a personnae, a front for public consumption, but that really just means that there’s a private face, but that’s meant for private use, and the public one is merely part of the entire person.

  3. #3 eTourist
    Arizona
    April 16, 2016

    Just stencil a pocket protector on that blue suit! THEN you’ll look like a scientist, Problem solved. Better science through conformity.

  4. #4 has
    April 16, 2016

    Rainbow Dash? Noooooo!!!

  5. #5 Stig O'Tracy
    Luckey, Ohio
    April 16, 2016

    I’m kind of curious as to what the person thinks a scientist should look like … Einstein? If so, what did scientists look like before there was an Einstein? Hawking? Nah, too many scientists communicate sans synthesizer. Personally, Ethan, I dig the look. It’s not easy growing and maintaining a beard and stash such as yours. (There’s got to be some science involve somehow.) As JRR would say, “May your beard grow ever longer.”

  6. #6 Denier
    United States
    April 16, 2016

    @Ethan wrote

    what you’re intellectually capable of has absolutely nothing to do with whether others judge you to be odd, non-serious, or in possession of any quirks or traits (physical, personality or otherwise) save for your actual aptitude itself. You are not obliged to like it when someone appears odd to you, or not serious, or unprofessional, among other things. But you are obliged, as a decent human being, to judge them based on the content of their output and the quality of what they produce, and not on whether you approve of their appearance or not.

    While I understand and even cheer your sentiment, it is unfortunately not the world many, if not most, live in. My scientist wife is a perfect example. She has wanted to dye her hair blue for as long as I’ve known her, but a big part of her job is testifying in court on criminal cases. Neither my wife or I have any social media footprint so as to keep her attack surface minimized. Lawyers and their investigators look for everything they can find to damage credibility. Not only is blue hair out, but even the color of her suits and style of shoes is dictated.

    While the particulars above are specific, the need for credibility through standard conformity is common to many. Although your answer isn’t bad I would suggest the addendum of “…and because I can.”

  7. #7 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 17, 2016

    @ Denier
    Interesting about your wife and court appearances.
    Take her to see the movie Gods not dead part 2.
    Not for the religious aspect of it’s premise but for the social perceptions aspect throughout the trial phase.
    It ties into exactly what you speak of and I think your wife would be able to relate.

  8. #8 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 17, 2016

    There is no better representation of what a scientist should look like than one Julius Sumner Miller.
    He was the best.. P.J. do you remember him? He was broadcast in Australia as well.

  9. #9 Wow
    April 17, 2016

    “Not for the religious aspect of it’s premise but for the social perceptions aspect throughout the trial phase.”

    It may be here that you’re really actually thinking, though maybe not.

    Are you talking about the social perception that somehow faith trumps reality and that anyone without faith is AGAINST faith without contravention?

    Because what I see from the bits of GND/GND2 is that somehow the only reason people of faith think that people without faith can be so is because they know and willingly refuse out of some mulishness completely unexplained or faced.

    And that those without faith are somehow just inerrantly evil and nasty.

    Both of which really are a perception of the “public”, and ones that are seriously damaging to them opening their minds that faith means YOU DON’T KNOW, and if you don’t know, you can easily be wrong, so what will you do to find out?

  10. #10 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 17, 2016

    While I share the “spirit” in which Ethan’s statements that Denier quoted are made. I agree with Denier as well. But I would add something more.

    It’s not only about social norm and it’s not “obligation” to judge or not to, as Ethan says. It’s IMO much more tied to biology and instinct and is way more “natural” then I think Ethan is ready to accept.

    We are all animals at the end of the day, and our “view” of other animals around us is, psychologicaly, very much the same as in rest of the animal kingdom.

    More often than not (there are exceptions) the males will have larger build then females in animal world, have brightly colored feathers or mane or tusks or music or dance.. or something that will differentiate them as “prettier” to the opposite sex. Then there are mating fights between males etc. The pack or herd leader will be the dominant or alpha male or female (in case of elephants i.e.). It’s not necessarily the smartest or most productive individual. In other words, the “outside” is just as important as “inside”. You can be the smartest mouse in the basement, but if your fur is a mess and other males are nicer and stronger, your gene pool will die with you as all females will ignore you.

    And this applies to our psyche and humans in general as well. If you see a dirty or smelly person.. your natural reaction is to shun away. This is because we associate those conditions with illness or uncleanliness..which leads to disease. And we are really programed to act in a such a way. Same goes in other direction. Clean, well dressed etc.. person, just by appearance alone will project certain statements. They might not turn out to be correct ones of course (someone might dress nicely but still wash every other month). But it’s not some social norm that says nicely dressed people are good, it’s biology. So you might go and say.. ok, I challenge all this and will appear as I want, will try to go in pijamas into the opera, and why should it matter. And while the argument is ok, and it really shouldn’t matter what you wear to enjoy i.e. opera. On the other hand, it might be a sign that there is something deeper wrong with one’s psyche if he is indeed going to opera in pijamas. But the fact remains, that you can’t idealize this as you would do in physics and go with mathematical logic. How we present and are perceived by others is a result of millions of years of evolution both genetic and enviromental and is not something that 20th century came up with and is not a social quirk which should be changed just like that or can change just like that.

  11. #11 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    April 17, 2016

    @#8, RM

    Yes, all accolades to JSM. If I had a teacher as convivial as Mr. Miller, it would have been a great experience.
    🙂

  12. #12 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 17, 2016

    “Are you talking about the social perception that somehow faith trumps reality”

    Nope, in this instance (part of the film/courtroom) I am referencing faith trumps perceptions and stereotypes.

  13. #13 Wow
    April 17, 2016

    Well, you must have been watching a different movie, since that one has the faithful reinforce the perception they had already of atheists and the stereotype of them they have.

  14. #14 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 17, 2016

    ” that one has the faithful reinforce the perception they had already of atheists and the stereotype of them they have.”

    Ahh but you see it is a two way street, as the prosecution was delighted in the preacher becoming ill and no longer able to finish the trial. Surly the alternate “punk rock chicky” juror will save the day for the prosecution because the atheist perception also comes into play.

  15. #15 Wow
    April 17, 2016

    Ah, no, it wasn’t. Because it was a fiction. Made up by faithiests.

    Not based on real life.

    When the faithiests went and wrote the lines for the atheists, they were putting words in their mouth so as to make the atheists “act” like they did. You cannot therefore use their actions to draw actual real life conclusions about what atheists think, because atheists didn’t write (or think) those lines.

    However, since the faithiests wrote the play, they CAN be used to draw real life conclusions about what they think.

    Fiction.

    Not everything you see on TV or in the movies is a real life documentary.

  16. #16 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 17, 2016

    “Fiction.
    Not everything you see on TV or in the movies is a real life documentary.”

    As usual lost boy you start wandering off to Neverland
    Denier already stated about is wife wanting to have blue hair but because of “stereotypes”….
    He didn’t say Well only the Bible thumpers would judge her as an unfit witness or what ever..
    Truth is often stranger than fiction ya know.

    But I digress, with the concepts of Life imitating art as I am more an Aristotelian mimesis mindset.

    But anyways, I suppose we can look at this from a sorta hyper Calvinist point that God predestines everything and everyone’s actions so what’s the point.

  17. #17 Ragtag Media
    April 17, 2016

    Oh! and Denier, tell your Wife that God has heard her plea and will soon enough with the passage of time grant he,r her “Blue hair”. 🙂

  18. #18 Ragtag Media
    United States
    April 17, 2016

    Run Wow run.. Get that pixie dust sprinkled on ya:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3m_V1XNPxA
    Wow is a lost boy (or girl) hanging out with Peter Pan.

    Oh so fitting..
    Say hi to Wendy an Tink for me.. LOL..

  19. #19 Wow
    April 18, 2016

    “Denier already stated about is wife wanting to have blue hair but because of “stereotypes”….”

    Well, yes. But what does GND/GND2 and it’s caricature of what the faithiest stereotype of atheists (or scientists) are have to do with how “both sides” have that????

    Is there anything connecting together in that grey mush in your noggin?

  20. #20 Wow
    April 18, 2016

    Keep being irrelevant, teabaggie.

    It’s the closest thing to “strength” you have.

  21. #21 Double Shelix
    April 18, 2016

    This is what a scientist looks like. Of course, there are variations on the theme. But still, get with the program, anyone who doubts us 🙂

  22. #22 G
    April 18, 2016

    The only thing that’s required to “look like a scientist” is, if you work in a lab with hazardous equipment or materials, wear everything that’s required for lab safety.

    And the only thing that is (or should be) required to “look like a civilized person” is to maintain personal hygiene to the degree needed to not be a health hazard to innocent others.

    Aside from those two points, the idea that anyone has to look a certain way in order to comport with various social stereotypes, or arbitrary & empirically groundless conventions, is absurd.

    (The exception for scientists or others appearing in court, is specifically because the purpose of being there is to do everything possible to ensure that justice is done. Some day it should become possible to overturn, by force of law, the ability of opposing trial lawyers to make a stink about blue hair or styles of shoes, but the context for doing that shouldn’t involve putting someone else’s case at risk.)

    So yeah, dude, keep it up with the wild costumes if they express your natural way of being, and don’t let anyone tell you No.

  23. #23 CFT
    April 18, 2016

    Ethan,
    I don’t think JFK was even remotely talking about light blue skin tights and fairy wings when he spoke of diversity. It is insulting to his memory that you confuse a diversity of skin color, thought, and opinion with outlandishly bad wardrobe choices that make you look like an insane asylum escapee in a movie…then complain about how you weren’t taken seriously as a scientist. You do look closer to a scary Ronald McDonald than a serious scientist to me when you dress that way.

    Having seen Ethan in his various costumes, I had at first assumed he was a themepark/videogame spokesman or mascot entertainer, or possibly an exhibitionist about to be arrested before I learned he was connected in any way to astronomy or science. In any case, If Ethan wants to distinguish himself, perhaps he should do so with the quality of his work, rather than the eccentricity his cosplay wardrobe.

    What a person wears says a lot about their profession, what their attitude is and what they are trying to do. When your clothing is saying “I’m goofing off and trying to be distracting”, expect to be treated accordingly.

    Having been forced to sit through many long, tiring, group employee lectures about what is NOT appropriate office, work, and lab wear (because of people who like Ethan who pushed the fashion envelope ‘to absurdity and beyond’) I am not amused by overgrown children who think their primary function at work or school is texting, websurfing, and visual ‘self expression’.

    “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” – Mark Twain

  24. #24 Wow
    April 18, 2016

    “I don’t think JFK was even remotely talking about light blue skin tights and fairy wings when he spoke of diversity”

    He also never talked about Hawaiian shirts or mullets or t-shirts or jeans, sneakers, running shoes, goatees, van dykes or titanium rims on coloured glasses.

    Mostly because he wasn’t giving an exhaustive list and nobody else thought he was.

  25. #25 Wow
    April 18, 2016

    “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”

    Can I ask how someone can be wearing blue skintights AND be naked at the same time?

    Blue skintight skin???

    Well, I point you to Dr Manhattan.

  26. #26 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016

    I think there are two layers to this discussion, and I feel there are some misunderstandings, especially in terms of social freedoms and law. What I don’t agree with, is equating one’s choice in wardrobe and criticism or support of it, to a fight for racial or sexual or social justice and equality. I really feel that is unjust.

    On one hand, you have someone (who can be any color, race, sex or creed) who made a wardrobe malfunction in eyes of other people (again, race sex etc.. mixed/uninportant). None of your social rights were hurt or broken by that, only your ego. On the other hand you have real social injustices in the world, like i.e. not being to be employed if you’re a woman. To put these two in same basket and somehow argue that it’s the same “fight” is wrong IMO.

    Namely (and let’s stick to western society for simplicity sake), anyone can dress or not dress however one chooses and pleases in their own home or residence. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion. And you have all the freedom within social laws to create “organizations” and “institutions” with or without dress codes, or even without clothes altogether. So i.e. Wimbledon (as a legal entity) can say that only players wearing white traditional tennis attire can play in their tournament. And you as a player have a right not play at Wimbledon. A school can say we’ll have school uniforms, and you can choose a different school if you don’t want to wear them. and you have every right to start your own school etc.. As long as this applies to all people, to me, this is equality and justice.

    The purpose of clothing is not only to keep you warm, and we all know this. Everyone has a right to make a statement with their clothing or haircut or tattoos or whatever. And everyone else has a right to their opinion of that statement. If a group didn’t like your clothing statement, that has nothing to do with social justice and all to do with taste. And making a fuss about people’s taste is pointless, because that’s what makes us individuals. If you want to appeal to a certain crowd, try not to annoy them. Or choose a different crowd.

  27. #27 Narad
    April 19, 2016

    If a group didn’t like your clothing statement, that has nothing to do with social justice and all to do with taste.

    And more:* In the U.S., an employee at will (nearly everyone in the workforce) can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.**

    I regret to report that my take on this piece is that reeks of privilege, with some vague Maslow allusions tossed in. Thoreau, after all, had a patron – although not one of unlimited patience. A similar, albeit harsher, analogy could be drawn to Tim Leary and the Hitchcock twins.

    * The majority of the comments here appear to have been captured by my killfile.
    ** Aside from protected classes; the legal details are irrelevant here.

  28. #28 Narad
    April 19, 2016

    ^ Although wearing IWW T-shirts seems to be a great way to get ladies ~20 years’ my senior to strike up what prove to be enjoyable conversations. Doesn’t pay the rent, though.

  29. #29 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “And more:* In the U.S., an employee at will (nearly everyone in the workforce) can be fired for any reason or no reason at all.**”

    Though all this really does is indicate a psychsis of the USA when it comes to “rights” for the powerful. Has bugger all to do with dress sense, social mores or personal opinion.

    So when it comes to nonsequiturs, this one is one of the greats. At least to it being “And more.”.

    I think where you need to rethink here, Narad, is that Ethan isn’t wearing his blue stretchpantsuit when he’s a lecturer or representing his employee.

    So this “Why don’t you look like a scientist?” is REALLY “Why don’t you ALWAYS dress like a scientist?”. To which the answer is “I’m a human being 100% of the time, and I’m acting as my position for much less than 100% of the time. So why make the tail of scientist wag the dog of my humanity?”.

    TBH, I feel that employees should just tell the employers if there’s so little importance to my job, YOU F’IN DO IT.

    I doubt the production of Ford Motor Cars will continue at a pace when only the executive board is left to operate the machines. I even wonder if one single car will be made.

    But if their job is soooooo important, it must be that car production isn’t the metric to measure Ford against.

    Right?

  30. #30 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “A school can say we’ll have school uniforms, and you can choose a different school if you don’t want to wear them. and you have every right to start your own school etc.. As long as this applies to all people, to me, this is equality and justice. ”

    No, that isn’t justice. Hell, it’s not even equality. Does the Principal get sacked for wearing sneakers once? No? Then it’s not equality.

    It’s “equality” that everyone without power is treated like shit.

    But even that tight definition of equality merely indicates that it’s DEFINITELY NOT justice.

    Being fucked up the ass as a requirement for all employees may be equality, but it doesn’t make the assfucking justice.

  31. #31 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016

    @Wow #30

    What does wearing a school uniform and how is a principal sanctioned have in common. Dress code in schools was /is present in school for leveling the economic field for children. At least to an extent. Equality means same rights/laws for all. Weather those laws are just is another issue. But if people have a choice and same law applies to all, then yes.. that’s equality.

    And the famous slogan says “justice for all”.. it doesn’t say fairness to all. Meaning the law is equal to all. Weather the law is fair or not.. that’s a deeper debate.

  32. #32 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    Uh, if you’re trying that line, then fair enough: when does a principal get sacked for not wearing a school uniform to work?

    NEVER.

    Ergo, bugger all equality, never mind the claimed justice.

  33. #33 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “Equality means same rights/laws for all.”

    Yeah, right. So what’s the right of a schoolchild to wear the school uniform????

    There isn’t one, is there.

    So the school uniform thing isn’t anything to do with equality is what you’re saying.

    What’s the right about being employed at will? The right to be sacked for no reason at all?

    There isn’t one, is there.

    Therefore at will employment has bugger all to do with equality is what you’re saying.

    Do you comprehend what you’re ACTUALLY saying with your words, as opposed to what you THINK you’re saying with them?

  34. #34 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “And the famous slogan says “justice for all”.. it doesn’t say fairness to all.”

    And if the slogan were “Fairness to all” it wouldn’t be “justice for all”.

    What are you intending to say? Do you know what synonym is?

  35. #35 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016

    @ Wow

    I’m not sure if you’re mixing things on purpose or for some other reason. IF i.e. a dress code/uniforms applies to STUDENTS then it doesn’t apply to staff. And it can satisfy “equality” just fine as along as it applies to all students regardless if they are children of a banker or a factory worker. What a principal of the school wears is unimportant for the example I gave. If school thinks ALL should wear uniforms (staff and students).. then so be it.

    Just because you have different rules for different groups doesn’t mean there is no equality. Example.. children are not allowed to drink alcohol. This doesn’t mean children are somehow oppressed because their drinking rights are in danger. It means that society agrees on certain things. Inequality would be if some children (depending on race or birth or something) were allowed to drink while others are denied that.

    “What’s the right about being employed at will? The right to be sacked for no reason at all?There isn’t one, is there.
    Therefore at will employment has bugger all to do with equality is what you’re saying.”

    – don’t know about this one. I haven’t written anything about employment, nor do I understand what point you’re trying to get at. I was talking about clothing, not worker/union rights.

    “And the famous slogan says “justice for all”.. it doesn’t say fairness to all.”

    And if the slogan were “Fairness to all” it wouldn’t be “justice for all”.
    What are you intending to say? Do you know what synonym is?”

    Yes I do, do you know what you’re arguing against? Justice for all means everyone is judged by the same standard. That “standard” however may or may not be fair or just. Example… we may disagree if a court ruling is fair, or we can disagree if a ruling is just. Courts deal with letter of law. Justice is a personal matter. Hence the layer’s sayings… “don’t seek justice in Court of Law, you won’t find it”.

  36. #36 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “IF i.e. a dress code/uniforms applies to STUDENTS then it doesn’t apply to staff.”

    And if it applies to X but not Y, IT IS NOT EQUALITY.

    What, precisely, is the thing you’re not getting here?

    You might as well say that North Korea is fair and equal because everyone is under Kim Jong Un’s despotic rule. Which applies to people in NK, but not Kim himself.

  37. #37 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “Justice for all means everyone is judged by the same standard. ”

    And fairness is ALSO when everyone is judged by the same standard. Or are you saying that that would be unfair???

  38. #38 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “I’m not sure if you’re mixing things on purpose or for some other reason.”

    I’m not sure what the hell you think you’re saying then.

    If Schoolchildren being equally required to dress specifically but the teachers aren’t is supposed to be justice, what judgement is supposed to be done here? Surely they should be being judged on the work they do, not the clothes on their back.

    But I would then demand why is it teachers can judge students in school but we are supposed to not judge teachers in school.

    After all, one of those two groups is being employed to be there, the other one is not.

    You see your problem here is you have blinkered your privileged position. You can’t even see that the adults are included in any discussion of equality in schools BECAUSE THEY TOO ARE IN SCHOOLS. And why? Because you’re an adult. You don’t see yourself as included. YOU get to judge, children GET judged.

    It may be what we do, it may be right, but what it ISN’T is equality.

    And if you judge people on irrelevancies, then the problem isn’t their work or clothing, it’s your capability to judge.

  39. #39 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “Example.. children are not allowed to drink alcohol. This doesn’t mean children are somehow oppressed because their drinking rights are in danger”

    This doesn’t mean that it’s equality, though.

    If one group is not able to do as another group, then that is inequality.

    And just because it’s not equality does not mean they must therefore be oppressed. It just means THEY ARE NOT EQUAL.

  40. #40 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016

    It sucks when you purposefully omit the sentences in your quotes that answer the questions you ask.

    ” Inequality would be if some children (depending on race or birth or something) were allowed to drink while others are denied that. ”

    and

    “Justice for all means everyone is judged by the same standard. That “standard” however may or may not be fair or just.”

  41. #41 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016

    I mean, if your position is that there is no equality unless absolutely everyone on the planet has absolutely the same rights regardless where they are and no matter who they are. And you are not talking about general human rights, but all rights period..Then ok, but I don’t share that view because it’s unrealistic IMO and simply doesn’t work.

    There are subsets and there are local laws. Hence someone who is 7 years old is not allowed to drive, or that I can’t be a president of USA simply because.. well.. I’m not a citizen of US. If you think about those.. then yes, there is no equality.

    But like I said in the beginning. I’m talking about realistic equalities.. as in all children are equal within one nation’s laws.. or citizens.. equal as long as that equality is not violating local laws but respects human rights at the same time.

  42. #42 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “It sucks when you purposefully omit the sentences in your quotes that answer the questions you ask. ”

    It sucks when you propose a sentence as being an answer to my questions WHEN THEY AREN’T ANSWERS!

    ” Inequality would be if some children (depending on race or birth or something) were allowed to drink while others are denied that. ”

    STILL DOESN’T MAKE SCHOOL UNIFORM DEMANDS EQUALITY.

    You know, the frigging claim I’m refuting you moron. You want to try actually answering that?

  43. #43 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “I mean, if your position is that there is no equality unless absolutely everyone on the planet has absolutely…”

    I mean that claiming that something that isn’t equal as being equal if you only select a group that all have the same restriction DOES NOT MAKE THE RESTRICTION EQUALITY.

    It merely makes it a tautology.

    All odd numbers are equal if you only count ones between 0 and 2.

    That’s you that is.

  44. #44 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    And wasn’t it you whining earlier that this was about justice, not equality? Did you drop that because when I took your definition for the sake of progressing the argument forward, it was patent that it didn’t apply to school uniform demands on pupils?

    Because you’re blathing on about equality now as if you never decided to elide equality.

  45. #45 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016

    “It merely makes it a tautology.
    All odd numbers are equal if you only count ones between 0 and 2.”

    If only social interactions and human nature was as easy as odd and even numbers, and the word “equality” applying only that case.

    “And wasn’t it you whining earlier that this was about justice, not equality? ..”

    My argument was that the way someone dresses and people’s reaction to him for it, doesn’t constitute any breaking of social equality and rights. Since there are no laws prohibiting him to dress however he chooses, and rightly so. It was Ethan in the article who has put his dressing in the same context as human rights, which I objected to because of the above.

    To put it back in context. The image we project is a powerful thing. One may like it or not, but it’s there. And I’m more inclined to think that Ethan is fully aware of the visual impact his self portraits can produce in other people and that he is making a statement rather than just dressing casually and not being aware of the visual message it conveys.

    And yes, you can challenge people’s visual perception of the world… or at least try to, but you need to be at peak of the pyramid in order to have a chance. The flipside is that with millions of fans comes thousands of haters as well.

  46. #46 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “If only social interactions and human nature was as easy as odd and even numbers”

    And if only you knew what an analogy was…

    “And yes, you can challenge people’s visual perception of the world… or at least try to, but you need to be at peak of the pyramid in order to have a chance. ”

    Says someone who doesn’t want to be blamed for failing, so wants to pretend that not trying is the only course of action…

    Listen, if you only take on fights you know you can win before you start them, then you’re a coward.

  47. #47 Wow
    April 19, 2016

    “My argument was that the way someone dresses and people’s reaction to him for it, doesn’t constitute any breaking of social equality and rights”

    Then why are you arguing that schoolkids being forced to obey school uniform policies is equality or justice?

    Surely all you needed to do was point out that it is expected for kids to dress in school uniform and if they don’t, their work will be presumed poor quality or undervalued.

    Why the hell pretend it is equality if your “argument” had bugger all to do with equality???

  48. #48 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 20, 2016

    “I mean that claiming that something that isn’t equal as being equal if you only select a group that all have the same restriction DOES NOT MAKE THE RESTRICTION EQUALITY.”

    why are you only mentioning restrictions? They include all rights, both do’s and dont’s. Why am I claiming that about groups? because it’s not my imagination but the state of affairs. i.e. take a look at

    http://www.ed.ac.uk/equality-diversity/about/equality-diversity

    notice the first sentence.. “Equality is ensuring individuals or groups of individuals are treated fairly….”
    and down the page as well..
    We can promote equality and diversity by:
    – treating all staff and students fairly

    Fairly.. not equally. because students and staff are not equal in their rights or privilages. For one, students don’t get paid to come to class.. lol. But they are equal WITHIN their GROUP, and all GROUPS are treated fairly.

    Again, I emphasize that mathematical meaning of equal or equality and social are not the same.

  49. #49 Wow
    April 20, 2016

    “why are you only mentioning restrictions”

    Uh, because of this?

    #26 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 19, 2016


    A school can say we’ll have school uniforms, and you can choose a different school if you don’t want to wear them. and you have every right to start your own school etc.. As long as this applies to all people, to me, this is equality and justice.

  50. #50 Sinisa Lazarek
    April 20, 2016

    Yes, a school (if allowed by law) can say that, and as long as you are not forced to go to that school and have a choice of other schools, there is no problem. Since the whole point of introducing uniforms is to shorten the gap in economic inequality of kids and promote team structure.

  51. #51 Wow
    April 20, 2016

    “Yes, a school (if allowed by law) can say that”

    No, they can’t say it’s equality and justice either.

    When you whined about how I missed stuff, did you not care to ensure you don’t fall for that “error” too?

    Here again:

    A school can say we’ll have school uniforms, and you can choose a different school if you don’t want to wear them. and you have every right to start your own school etc.. As long as this applies to all people, to me, this is equality and justice.

  52. #52 Wow
    April 20, 2016

    Remember you’re current whinge is “why are you only mentioning restrictions”.

    When I answer that question, WHAT THE FUCK makes you pretend that it’s part of a different frigging conversation????

  53. #53 dave
    Kansas
    April 25, 2016

    I think Ethan looks just fine. I like the costumes, and he has truly gotten me (re)interested in science. He makes it understandable, and a little bit fun. Life can be drudgery, why not dress up and have fun? I’m 60 and getting a tattoo. Wasn’t going to get it in a place that was normally visible. My son, who is getting the same tattoo said, “Dad, what do you have to hide? You’re 60 who’s going to care?” I assume lots of people will care, but those who care “adversely” can jump in a big black hole! So the tattoo is going on my arm where anyone can see it Keep up the good work, Professor, no one rocks a kilt like you!.

  54. #54 Edgar
    United States
    April 30, 2016

    Ethan sure looks like a scientist to me. But then, I’ve known quite a few scientists.

    A couple of them who definitely didn’t look like 50’s movie scientists hit on a useful technique independently – they each bought a white lab coat (neither needed them for work) and kept it at the office, so that if they needed to look sciency they could put on the lab coat. It seemed to work.

    The blue angel wings might make it look bumpy, though.

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