13 November 2014

“Stop flirting, I’ve still got a job to do here,” heard at comet landing

A lot has been written about Matt Taylor’s shirt that he wore during the livestream of the Philae touchdown (links at bottom). I’d like to point out another moment from the P67 comet landing, starting at 6:15:14 in this YouTube video (click text link to go straight to the bit I’m talking about):

The speaker of the moment, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, chairman of the board of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), reveals a P67 polo shirt on stage after the landing.

The presenter, Monika Jones, says, “I want that polo shirt!” Something happens off screen that catches her attention, and she continues, apparently addressing Wörner offscreen, “Not now, we’ve got a few minutes. Change? Stop flirting, I’ve still got a job to do here.”

Now, she said it with a smile, so it’s hard to tell if the presenter was actually offended, or taking it in a spirit of fun. But I had a moment of, “Did she just have to say that?”

Maybe it would have slipped by me if I hadn’t been aware of the shirt issue. But after the shirt issue, and Matt Taylor also talking about Philae coming down for “the kiss,” (also not reported much) I cringed a bit.

Given that I’d seen a bunch of stuff about Matt Taylor’s shirt, I was also saddened when I saw the composition of the audience at the livestream.

I count about five women out of about 35 faces in this one screen grab.When it panned around, the proportion of women in the audience seemed even lower.

Such a stark contrast to the famous pictures of the Indian Mars mission not so long ago:

Update, 14 November 2014: Matt Taylor apologizes for the shirt. This is positive. I do wish he’d also have acknowledged that some of his comments were a bit cringe-worthy, too.

External links

New requirement for scientists: You cannot be a sexist pigdog
Sometimes, a shirt is not just a shirt
Confessions of a teenage dirtbag: Thoughts on shirtstorm
That shirt
Why women in science are annoyed at Rosetta mission scientist's clothing 
Shirtstorm reaction bingo card
Shirts, science communication, and why appearances can be important

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