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Back again to sexy science…

09/30/2009

I’m always a little curious about why one of the top searches that leads people to this blog is “sexy scientists.” (I’m sure those folks are disappointed when they get here, and this post will no doubt make that misunderstanding worse.) So I searched “sexy scientists” and came up with this blog (“Sexy Science”). It features men and women, which is somewhat refreshing, but the tone is dissatisfying.

First of all, let me say that there are absolutely sexy scientists. I’m not denying that I know plenty! And I don’t want people, especially young people, to have this view of scientists:

He would look a lot less menacing standing behind a telescope.

By the way, he would look a lot less menacing standing behind a telescope.

It’s awesome to point out that scientists, much like humans (indeed, some do classify us as humans – but they are also scientists) can be attractive/outgoing/cool/well-dressed/socially adept.

But I don’t think it’s right, as the aforementioned blog does, to “hope these [attractive] women continue to be good examples for all the girls out there who want to join one of the STEM fields.” Can’t an ugly scientist encourage girls to join STEM? Or do ugly scientists discourage girls from joining the ranks? (If this is somehow the case for females, I can’t see how it can be the case for males given how many there are and the above stereotyped image.) Shouldn’t the best scientists, not the sexiest ones, be held up as the best role models? And yes, this occurs just about everywhere in society, but that doesn’t make it excusable.

If one wanted to honor scientists for their “extracurriculars,” so to speak, look to their service activities, hobbies, interests, and conduct at the work place. Don’t look to their junk – please.

Now, in case anyone is deeply disappointed at not having seen a sexy scientist, a REAL one – my husband. (OK, he’s an engineer… don’t tell.) He plays ultimate frisbee, enjoys reading, and rocks at science.

On our Fiji honeymoon

On our Fiji honeymoon

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