Rosetta Scientist Sparks #ShirtStorm With Scantily Clad Women On Shirt

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November 13, 2014 3:34 p.m.

Rosetta project scientist Matt Taylor happily showed off his tattoo of the Philae lander to the media on Wednesday, as the spacecraft approached what would be the first ever landing on a comet.

But it was Taylor’s colorful shirt adorned with images of scantily clad women, not his tattoo, that ended up drawing the most attention — and not in a positive way.

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Taylor’s shirt even spawned a hashtag, #ShirtStorm, and at least one feminist Photoshop correction:

Then at some point Wednesday, Taylor swapped out the colorful shirt for this plain black number:

It’s not clear why Taylor was wearing the colorful shirt in the first place, or why he changed out of it. A woman who said she made the shirt for Taylor as a birthday present tweeted that she never expected it to attract such attention:

Whether Taylor realized that the shirt could generate such a negative reception or not, it’s taken on a life of its own. The fact that he did wear it on air while representing the Rosetta mission is significant, too, as Chris Plante and Ariella Duhaime-Ross explain at The Verge:

What matters is the fact that no one at ESA saw fit to stop him from representing the Space community with clothing that demeans 50 percent of the world’s population. No one asked him to take it off, because presumably they didn’t think about it. It wasn’t worth worrying about.

This is the sort of casual misogyny that stops women from entering certain scientific fields. They see a guy like that on TV and they don’t feel welcome.

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