The AnswersThatWork Blog

Sunday 15th June 2015

Let me tell you !!!!

Most of you will have by now read about the Nobel Prize Winner Tim Hunt's sexist comment which cost him a variety of jobs and honorary positions.

If you have not read about it, you can read about it here.

What is interesting about an article like this is that it can become very easy to think that, somehow, he paid too heavy a price for his words.  And indeed that is what a great majority of The Guardian readers, men and women, seem to argue.

And, this, for me, shows why it is so hard to rid our World of prejudice — when too many people think that nothing wrong really happened, when too many people think that ..... it wasn't that bad and did not warrant such a Twitter furore.

Let's start where it all started, Tim Hunt's actual words : “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab.  You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them, they cry.".

Did you spot the outrageous words ?

Did you spot the most irritating part, the most cringy part of what Tim Hunt actually said

It is that first sentence !

"Let me tell you about my trouble with girls".  That's the most out of order part of Tim Hunt's gaffe.

That first sentence is an "ism" !  The moment someone starts an address to a gathering of people with a sentence like that, everyone present will expect the worst.  At that very moment all you wonder, with absolute dread, is what that last word will be :  Girls, Women, Blacks, Asians, Jews, Muslims, Immigrants, Latinos ????

That first sentence shows the subconscious prejudice that Tim Hunt has, even more than what he continues on to say.  And, as for what he says in the second part :  is he saying that only women cry, that men never cry ?  Is he saying that if a woman cries after being criticised, you cannot continue your criticism if it is justified ?  Is he saying that women are incapable of both crying but also eventually accepting justified criticism and learning from it ?

And, again for the benefit of Tim Hunt apologists :  in his own long influential career, do we know how many women's careers have been slowed, stopped, or prevented from blossoming further because of his subconscious prejudice despite he and his wife believing he is not prejudiced ?  Exactly — that is how insidiously destructive such subconscious prejudice can be, without anyone ever realising what has happened !

So, the Tim Hunt apologists should not be fooled :  what Tim Hunt said was beyond belief and patronising and he deserves the whole furore his comments have generated, and if they cannot see it, then it's time they start looking at their very own prejudices !

It  is  that first sentence — it speaks volumes !


—— (TUT) SpaceMan



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