It's no secret that there's still a difference between men and women are perceived in the science world. Sure, it's a lot easier for a woman to become a scientist or an engineer now than it was 50 years ago, but despite all our progress, there's still the very real issue of subtle, systemic sexism.
Case in point: the way that people talk and write about female scientists (who are actually just scientists). You know, all the long hours and child care issues they've had to overcome to achieve their dreams, as opposed to male scientists (also just scientists), who are simply congratulated for working hard and doing a good job.
That might not sound like a huge deal, until you see how it looks when you reverse the situation - which is exactly why Spanish Twitter user Daurmith started writing short biographies of famous historical male scientists as if they were women. The results are damn hilarious, and incredibly eye-opening.
The tweets were originally written in Spanish, but after stirring up what she calls "a small brouhaha", Daurmith decided to translate them into English, and we're so glad she did. It's for precisely this reason we've always made an effort at ScienceAlert to never talk about the family lives of the scientists we write about (of either gender). And it just shows how not-so-subtle 'subtle' discrimination is when it's reframed.
Check out Daurmith's tweets below, which we first saw over on Buzzfeed, and check out these tips on how to avoid the wrath of Twitter next time you're writing about scientists who also happen to be women.
So, I made a small brouhaha recently in Twitter and I thought I'd share it in English.— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
I started to write small bios of famous (male) scientists as they'd be written had they been women.— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
«A devout husband and father, Darwin balanced his family duties with the study of the specimes he brought from his travels.»— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
«Pierre Curie, married and proud father of two, found time for love and family during his short scientific career.»— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
«No one could imagine that behind Newton's large eyes and frail appearance hid one of the most prodigious brains in the world."— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
«Sassy and carefree Feynmann challenged social mores as he worked on his research. He broke hearts all over USA.»— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
«He had the body of an athlete and the face of a movie star. But Oliver Sacks chose science over glamour.»— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
«His dour personality made everyone think he'd never marry. Even so, Schrödinger got a wife and a Nobel Prize."— Daurmith (@Daurmith) January 30, 2016
Some of her followers started to get in on the action too…
.@Daurmith Surviving the tragic death of his first wife, the creative and wandering genius Thomas Edison would find love and marry again.— Ali Branscombe (@alibranscombe) February 1, 2016