Space science is one of the few areas where a lot of nations work together peacefully. For me, and probaly a lot of other kids, one of the first dream jobs was of course astronaut. Later I thought being an astrophysicist would be nice, but then.. well. I studied economics.
Now a major achievement has been made. Humanity landed a probe on a comet. It had a lot of media coverage, a lot of people got enthused about science again.
I had to tell my little daughters (6 and 8) a lot about the mission. When they woke up they ask me if Philae is still transmitting. Even though becoming a teacher is still the first choice for the older one, she thinks that space and physics are awesome too. We even built a Lego model roughly resembling Rosetta.
Now shirtgate. We are German, so I had to translate a lot, but we watched the video. Their reaction was not „what a sexist shirt“ it was “ „what a colorful shirt“, his tatoos were way more interesting. They were not at all offended by the shirt. For my wife the shirt was plain ugly, it would have been horrible for her as well if there were no women but say Philae Landers on it. Also no offense taken.
To take offense there, one needs to be taught that this is wrong. Once you learned that women displayed in say underwear is an offense, you will be offended and one who wears such stuff must be a woman hater. Now feminism has achieved one thing: Scientist will be more watchful what they wear in front of a camera. That’s ok. The other thing: A lot of girls will think that there is a hostility against women in space science. Not because of a shirt, but because some feminist told them so.
Seriously feminism. I work hard to teach my daughters that they can be anything they want to be. But people tend not to want to go somewhere where other people say they might be unwanted. And if a stupid shirt with female cartoon characters carrying weapons can be construed as a sign that women are unwanted…
Matt made one mistake. He underestimated some Feminist need to be involved everywhere.
Even for them would have been too farfetched to reframe the mission itself as your fantasy of raping women made come true by Philae. I mean, first you stalked a comet for months, did not abandon the approach the when it did not let you land the first, nor the second time, grabbed it without its consent and DRILLED into it. The nerve!