Overt sexism

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Last month I described a study showing unconscious sexism in science. A couple of days ago I was reminded that we can't forget that overt sexism, though less prevalent than it was a few decades ago, still exists. My evidence?

original.jpgClick on the image to get a full-size pop-up. What you see there is a post on Facebook asking, among other things, "Are unattractive women particularly attracted to neuroscience?"

This image and the accompanying blog post on Jezebel.com were the first time I'd ever heard of Dario Maetripieri. I hope that these words were came from a temporary short-circuit in his neurons, not from a circuit that is often used. But even if this post uncharacteristic and unrepresentative of his character, it reminds us of two things:

  • The world is made poorer and meaner for all of us is when any of us treats other human beings as objects rather than as people.
  • Think twice before you post anything on Facebook. I don't know how Erin Gloria Ryan came across this post, but it's a safe bet that Dario never imagined it would be spread across the web.
Janet Stemwedel has additional thoughts on the point of calling out bad behavior. Here's her conclusion:

I'll level with you: while, in an ideal world, one would want the perpetrator of sexist behavior to Learn and Grow and Repent and make Sincere Apologies, I don't especially care if someone is still sexist in his heart as long as his behavior changes. It's the interactions with other people that make the climate that other people have to deal with. Once that part is fixed, we can talk strategy for saving souls.
Inside Higher Ed picked up on the story.

Maestripieri did not respond to e-mail messages or phone calls over the past two days. A spokesman for the University of Chicago said that he had decided not to comment.
Hat tip: Katie MacKinnon (@ktcapuchin)