Female scientists post #distractinglysexy pictures to mock Tim Hunt's sexist comments

"It's just really hard working in a coed lab because I'm too distracting to the male scientists #distractinglysexy," tweets Danielle Spitzer. (Twitter: dspitzzz) Source: Twitter

Female scientists have posted tongue-in-cheek pictures of themselves at work, using the hashtag #distractinglysexy to mock Tim Hunt's comments that mixed-gender labs were 'trouble'.

British scientist Sir Tim Hunt sparked a social media furore when he implied that female colleagues were a distraction. But now, female scientists have hit back, posting tongue-in-cheek photos of themselves with the hashtag #distractinglysexy to mock Hunt's sexist comments. 

Sir Tim Hunt, who was awarded the Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 2001, on Wednesday apologised for any offence caused by his remarks at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea.

Hunt is reported to have told the conference: "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."

Hunt held the role of honorary professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences, but has since resigned from the position.

"UCL can confirm that Sir Tim Hunt, FRS, has resigned from his position as honorary professor with the UCL Faculty of Life Sciences following comments he made about women in science at the World Conference of Science Journalists on 9 June," a statement said.

"UCL was the first university in England to admit women students on equal terms to men and the university believes that this outcome is compatible with our commitment to gender equality."

The Royal Society, of which Hunt has been a fellow since 1991, has already distanced itself from the comments, which sparked a backlash online.

Speaking to the BBC on Wednesday, Hunt insisted his remarks were intended to be funny, but reflected that it had been a "very stupid thing to do" in the presence of many journalists.

"I did mean the part about having trouble with girls. It is true that people - I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it's very disruptive to the science because it's terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.

"I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.

"I'm really, really sorry I caused any offence, that's awful. I certainly didn't mean that. I just meant to be honest, actually."

In defending his remarks, Hunt said it was important to criticise people's ideas without criticising them, but if they burst into tears, it meant you tended to hold back from getting at the absolute truth.

 

Source SBS

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