Science

Emily Graslie of “The Brain Scoop” on the Objectification of Women

female scientist STEM
Women should be recognized for their accomplishments, not just their looks.
Image: Shutterstock

Why, oh why do people think they can just post any kind of inexcusable, sexist, racist comments they want anonymously on the net?  Well, because they can… but the fact that it’s happening with such frequency is frankly disturbing.  The further removed a person is from the one who’s posting, the more vitriolic the comments often get.  The claws come out.  It’s sad to think that anonymity so often brings out such cruelty in people.  What does that say about us a people?

Are we all just pent up, full of anger on all kinds of issues, just waiting to rip into anyone we want…as long as nobody has to know it was us?  The things people will say on the Internet are things they would probably never say in person.  The veil of anonymity does bring out the racists and sexists much more than you would ever hear in a live discussion, because there is little fear of repercussion.

So, it’s not a huge surprise that female scientists bear the brunt of many of these types of emails.  Emily Graslie, said she receives comments about her body and appearance from men on a daily basis in her inbox.  She is sure the men do not face the same type of scrutiny, and that is guess is collaborated by the male guest on her show.

Graslie is the writer, producer and host of “The Brain Scoop,” an Internet program about science news and education.  She is one of the most famous women with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) web shows.  She questions why most viewers of her show only know of two women with shows such as hers while many male hosts have viewers and subscribers in the thousands.

She is betting none of the men have to put up with comments such as, “But I’d still do her” or “Finally I saw her body.  Oh my god.  How can a woman be hotter than Emily? If you ever need a safe place to stay while you study the Pategonia in Argentina, please, feel free to get in touch with me. I will sponsor your whole journey just to stare at you.”

Some men don’t get it that compliments that are all about a woman’s body will make her feel uncomfortable.  Women want to be complimented for the work they do in the workplace—not reduced to an object for someone else’s viewing pleasure.  Comments like those above will not be taken as compliments because they aren’t flattering—they are objectification.  It’s ogling and it’s not acceptable.  You’re not going on a date with this person.

Graslie is not saying that it’s all bad.  In fact, she said the majority of the emails she gets are positive and encouraging.  There is more support for women in STEM fields than ever before.  She says her colleagues are very supportive and she enjoys working with them.  It’s just those 10 minutes of email that put her off her work.

Emily Graslie left us with a simple message.  She said, “It gets better.”

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