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It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a woman expressing her opinions or acing her career—or lord forbid, both—should be dumbed down in order to soothe the male ego. Well, one astrophysicist has had enough.
Sophia Gad-Nasr, an astroparticle physicist and PhD student at UC Irvine, shared the screenshot of yet another dude who slid into her DMs to tell her how pretty she was while simultaneously shitting on her career.
One person summarized the interpretation accurately: “The way I perceive you should stand between you and your passion.”
"The way I precieve you should stand between you and your passion"— Oak (@Calybium) April 6, 2019
--literally this but rephrased
It inspired other women to share accounts of when their intellect and/or career choices were dismissed for their looks, which happens so often that it’s not so shocking.
"She doesn't look like a physicist! You do, though." - middle aged guy to me (tall, short hair, kinda butch-looking, in t-shirt) and my friend (petite, femme, in a dress) when I said we were physicists. #whyaremenlikethis— Georgina Carson (@GeorginaRCarson) April 6, 2019
Normal conversation in a grad school lab, softcore porn on screen: "No way is she a PhD. Where does she keep her brains, in her bra??"— Ampelios (@pelielios) April 7, 2019
Noooo tech doesn't have a misogyny problem it's a *meritocracy*
I've always been into the Geek Culture. It's started with Xena, Buffy, Power Rangers...Spawned into love for comics, sci-fi/fantasy novels, & movies. One time I was actually told by a guy "You're really into all that? But you're too hot to be into that nerdy sh*t"...Really, dude?— Diana Jean (@AGirlNamedDean) April 8, 2019
I feel ya- I got “what’s a pretty girl like you doing jazz history for?” recently...Sigh...— Dr Aleisha Ward (@nzjazzhistory) April 7, 2019
There also seems to be an odd obsession with strippers among these dudes, as if beautiful women can’t be in non-sex-related career fields.
I’ve had an unfortunate number of people telling me that contrary to my high school teacher’s opinion, I am pretty enough to be a stripper. pic.twitter.com/9IascsDiPh— Mika McKinnon (@mikamckinnon) April 6, 2019
1 of my colleagues was told she was unsuitable for a month of field work in South African nature reserves because she “looks like a stripper”, nevermind that she was one of the smartest and most capable people in the whole group - accepted for a PhD before submitting her Honours— Shaun Young (@voxael) April 7, 2019
But these aren’t merely eye-roll-worthy comments; they demonstrate how little women are taken seriously in STEM-related fields and the opportunities afforded them.
The comment goes much deeper. It is all about telling you that men are more important than women, who's main purpose is sex. It may look like just a relatively uninformed comment, but it is true misogyny and needs to end.— Alan Emery (@KIVUNature) April 7, 2019
See, that’s the problem with this. Opportunities are not given based on looks- did she still get to do the field work? That’s why it’s not just a harmless compliment.— Annie Ferguson (@annieferg3a) April 7, 2019
Research shows how implicit bias can affect women’s performance in STEM, and how prevalent implicit bias is in the sciences, with many considering it a “male” field. Beyond that, a woman’s success in STEM is deemed to be too “masculine,” which would render her “less likeable.” Seriously, can women ever win?
This isn’t even the first time women have been inspired (or ticked off enough) to share these accounts. In 2017, many shared similar stories with #PrettyInPhd. Though the hashtag included women in all of academia, a disproportionately large number of the tweets were about experiences of women in STEM, highlighting even further how targeted these attacks are specifically on women in the sciences.
Gad-Nasr did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment, but her website boasts beautiful analogies about astrophysics where she explains the universe with everyday relatable things. As is very obvious from her viral tweet thread, she absolutely loves what she does.
The universe can do her better.
Samira Sadeque is a New York-based journalist reporting on immigration, sexual violence, and mental health, and will sometimes write about memes and dinosaurs too. Her work also appears in Reuters, NPR, and NBC among other publications. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School, and her work has been nominated for SAJA awards. Follow: @Samideque