Elise Andrews. Photo: The Daily Dot.
Dear Science Nerds,
I know we only discovered each other late in life (in high school I thought you were kind of lame), but nowadays I feel like you are my People.
But sometimes, even your closest friends can do pretty jerky things. This is one of those times.
One of the greatest science nerds around at the moment is the creator of the Facebook page "I F*cking Love Science". Basically what the site does is find AH–MAZING scientific facts and figures and put them online. I'm one of the 4.6 million people who like her page (which she only created a year or so ago) on Facebook.
But something happened last month when its creator, Elise Andrews, mentioned she had started a Twitter account. The internet discovered she was... well, a she.
As The Guardian reported, the page went crazy with dudes (and some ladies) who chose to respond to the news of her Twitter feed by saying things like ‘‘F*ck me! This is a babe ?!!" and "holy hell, you're a HOTTIE!’’
Elise hasn’t really said much about what happened next (she didn’t respond to Daily Life’s request for an interview), but she did Tweet that she was shocked by the overwhelming number of people who saw her Twitter profile as an excuse to comment on her gender and appearance.
EVERY COMMENT on that thread is about how shocking it is that I'm a woman! Is this really 2013? — Elise Andrew (@Elise_Andrew) March 20, 2013
I have to admit here that although I hadn’t really thought about it, I think I too had just assumed that I F*cking Love Science was run by a man.
I didn’t blame myself for that, but I felt pretty sad that our ingrained biases so strongly tell us that science/maths= male, and figured lots of people probably made the same assumption as me.
Until we can get rid of that bias, how are we ever going to improve the shockingly poor percentage of girls learning even the most basic maths and science?*
So everyone just felt a bit embarrassed and moved on, right? Well, this is the internet, so, sadly, no. Instead, people decided to be complete d1ckheads.
Some of the gross responses were on the mild side, like this pleasant young chap who decided the chastise Elise for not appreciating all the ‘‘compliments’’ she was getting.
‘‘I mean you are an attractive woman. Doesn't make it sexist, dear,’’ he Tweeted.
But now, things are getting even nastier. A Facebook page called ‘‘I F*cking Love Elise Andrew’’ has been set up, which seems to be part tribute, part trolling and part creepy sex attack.
So far the page has photoshopped a photo of her head onto softcore porn, taken photos from when she was a teenager and run lewd comments underneath them, tried to create memes with pictures of her that say things like ‘‘10/10. Would Bang’’, and run countless vicious, aggressive and untrue comments about her.
And despite Facebook’s willingness to take down photos of "offensive" things like women breastfeeding, it has removed some of the most offensive images but done little about the site, despite the fact Elise has said she feels it violates Facebook's harassment rules.
WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THE WORLD? Do we have to run over this basic ground again?
Women are just as capable of loving science as men. A woman does not have an obligation to be flattered when you tell her she is a ‘‘hottie’’. When you realise someone you assumed is a man because of their interests is actually a woman, you should feel a little surprised (perhaps even embarrassed) and move on ... Maybe throw in a bit of self-questioning about gender stereotypes? You don’t tell her she is hot, get angry when she doesn’t appreciate your ‘‘compliment’’. You certainly don’t create disgusting, rapey Facebook pages.
I don't know why this has happened, but really hope we can stop it.