Sunday, November 16, 2014

And A Little More About That Shirt Debacle: Glenn Reynolds Chips In.

In some ways it really began as a storm in a teacup, and I missed the ball on something important when writing my previous post, though Crissa in the comments pointed the omission out:  There was no big feminist uproar about the shirt-with-the-leather-corseted-women, if by "big" we mean something written out on very large numbers of feminist blogs and/or talked about on various list-serves.

Indeed, after I checked all this, I found nothing about the shirt on those list-serves.  Glenn Reynolds (newly come to his full blossoming as an MRA (Men's Rights Activist)) also tells us is that there really wasn't much of a storm in the first place.  He states that two women whose jobs are linked to science commented on the shirt:

The Atlantic's Rose Eveleth tweeted, "No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt." Astrophysicist Katie Mack commented: "I don't care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn't appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM." And from there, the online feminist lynch mob took off until Taylor was forced to deliver a tearful apology on camera.
I'm not sure what this online feminist lynch mob looks like.  It couldn't have been enormous, because I missed it for quite a time. But sure, there were a few blog posts on the shirt.

What Glenn Reynolds seems to have missed is the responses Rose Eveleth, for instance, received.  They are not mentioned in his article so I'm going to put a few of them here:

Those are good to keep in mind when thinking about this bit from Glenn:

"Mean girls" online mobbing may be fun for some, but it's not likely to appeal for long. If self-proclaimed feminists have nothing more to offer than that sort of bullying, then their obsolescence is well deserved.
Added later:  It's almost impossible to measure various "mobs" on Twitter.  They could be a handful of people in some cases and a large group in other cases.  So we should be careful when using words like a "Twitter mob".  What can be measured, to some extent, is the number of responses individual tweeters get.