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Saturday 7 May 2016

A Lady Wrote Men's Biographies As If They Were Women, And She NAILED It

A Lady Wrote Men's Biographies As If They Were Women, And She NAILED It

 In a world where women were discouraged from pursuing science, Marie Curie's twin Nobel Prizes for her discovery and study of radium more than a hundred years ago were a massive leap forward – and she rightly inspired many young scientists to follow in her footsteps. And yet, the story of great women in science neither begins nor ends with her.
For every Curie, there were plenty of other women like Lise Meitner or Rosalind Franklin who made great scientific contributions from relative obscurity. Meitner grew up in an era where women were outright barred from higher education, while Franklin received no official credit for her part in discovering the double helix structure of DNA.
And while the world more readily recognizes female scientists for their work today, it's still not unheard of for women to be pushed into the background when it comes to deciding the "face" for scientific discoveries.
And there's another, more subtly condescending aspect to the recognition women do get. And Twitter userDaurmith has thought of a fun way of pointing them out.
Namely, she chose to write mini-biographies of male scientists with tropes commonly used to describe their female peers.
Once you see what she came up with, why not try your own out and share them with us?

This is a good way to skewer the "that's a lot of big science for such a little lady" kind of nonsense.

Isaac Newton's looks never entered into his discoveries, so why should anyone else's?

Yeah, I couldn't tell you how many hearts Richard Feynman broke.

And that's because nobody ever wrote about him so breezily before – but it's something a lot of prominent women have to deal with. 

And yeah, here's a pretty tired trope.

It's not that there's never any talk about male scientists' family lives, but it's always secondary to their actual work. For women, it's often the opposite

Appropriately, this mini-bio doesn't get into what Oliver Sacks actually accomplished.

This runs parallel to the common mentality of "wow, she's so hot! Oh yeah, and I guess she's a scientist or something."

What's important here is that we know that he was married.

Otherwise, his contributions would totally mean nothing.

"...And a Nobel Prize." As if that's the least important thing here!

It's amazing how worried people used to be about women being unmarried "old maids." And it was just as silly as worrying about Schrödinger's marriageability

And of course, we've got to know what he was wearing.

One of Daurmith's followers was quick to remind us of this annoying question.

I think this follower just wanted to work "shrewish harridan" into a sentence.

It's not an opportunity that comes up a lot.

And of course, there must be something wrong if he doesn't have a lot of children.

This tweet also reminds us that scientists aren't beyond reproach, especially when they're like Dawkins.

That had to be why he won it, right?

Nothing like a lifetime pursuit of science to get over a bad divorce.

Because those things are entirely related.

Not only are these mini-bios fun, but they're good at illustrating their points. 

Oh good, we were worried for a second there.

I wouldn't mind being called a "wandering genius," though. Or an anything genius, really.

That's a phrase female scientists of the past probably heard a lot.

Although, this one doesn't really make sense since Bhabha never stopped being a nuclear physicist.

"Nikola Tesla, despite refusing his natural role as father and creator of a family, had some remarkable achievements "

Whenever people mention children, they make it sound like it's someone's only choice to have children, don't they?

His second marriage was childless? Oh wow!

The bottom line is that we all lose so much by not treating women of science as scientists first – or as scientists at all.

Share if you know some other smart women who'd love these sassy tweets as much as you!

Main image via Twitter / @Daurmith | Krishna Path
Collage image via Twitter / @Daurmith | Dujardin / Wikipedia

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