5 Things More Distracting than Female Scientists

by Alexa Salvato

We were just as disappointed as the rest of the Internet to hear Nobel Prize-winning biochemist Tim Hunt’s shitty sexist remarks earlier this week.

“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 criticize them, they cry,” he said in front of the World Conference of Science Journalists. Yes, he said this in front of journalists—it’s no surprise the story immediately took flight. Hunt has since half-apologized and then resigned from his honorary position at University College London.

However, Hunt’s comments about how distracting women in the lab are to their male cohorts led us to contemplate a few things even more distracting than female scientists:

1. When your boss keeps hitting on you

As Hunt said, if girls didn’t fall in love with him, he fell in love with them. And if a man like Hunt was in charge of the lab, chances are good nothing stopped him from saying whatever he wanted to the women working there. Ew—both distracting and unprofessional.

2. When everyone is so surprised that you’re a woman in a lab, they can’t stop staring

And staring. And staring. And staring. How the hell are you supposed to get anything done?! Or they treat you with kid gloves, because how could you understand the ~mysteries of science~ with these ovaries getting in the way?

3. When your male colleagues fashion a sex-segregated lab just for you

Hunt also said that he favors sex-segregated labs. Lots of universities just don’t have the resources for building a brand-new girls-only laboratory, so it’s likely that you’d have to go old school and just stack up a few dozen manila folders between yourself and your colleagues. Goodbye, collaboration that leads to incredible discoveries.

4. If/when you do cry, everyone blames it on you being a woman

A frequent problem Hunt had with girls is that “when you criticize them, they cry.” Cell biologist/lady scientist Jennifer Rohn wrote a perfect rebuttal to Hunt, in which she was honest about her experiences: “In labs, women do cry. I have cried. Yes, I’ve had a bit of a weep, gone to the loo and washed my face, and then got back on with my job. But equally I’ve seen men sobbing over their test tubes.” Doing high-stakes work is stressful and scary! Humans cry! As a biologist, Hunt should know that much about the human experience.

5. Whenever you talk about your awesome female scientist role models, straight male colleagues get so aroused that they can’t even concentrate anymore

The Vagenda started the #distractinglysexy hashtag on Twitter to post pictures of both current and historical women scientists in response to Tim Hunt. We can’t argue with the fact that Ada Lovelace might just be too hot to allow today’s men scientists to do any new work themselves. 

Images via @EmsyRemsy, @lenofi, & flygirlNMH on Twitter

Read more at Bust.com

Abuse in the Field Is Far Too Common Among Female Scientists 

Ladies Who Blinded Us with Science

#HackGirlsRights: Não Me Calo Is The Coolest New Project By Girl Hackers 

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.