In spite of many believing that the two genders have achieved equality, once in a while, a story comes along that proves how far we have still to go in terms of feminism. Because, while we can now vote, own property, and even take contraception (gee, thanks guys!), there are some areas which truly highlight how different the female and male experience still is. And one place wherein women are consistently treated more poorly than their male counterparts? The workplace.
One woman decided that enough was enough this month, though. Stephanie Suarez, an isotope geochemist from Texas, highlighted the sort of interactions that female scientists are regularly subjected to - and the internet came out in massive support.
Being a woman is not easy.It seems like many of us out there are constantly under pressure to "have it all." We're required to be perfect partners, mothers, and employees, all at the same time - it's no wonder we're all so tired.
And to make matters even worse?Women seem to be almost constantly underestimated by society as some sort of weaker, more delicate type of human.
Because, on top of all of the stuff we have to do?We're also expected to look flawless and perfect while doing it. But, like, not try too hard, either. Got it?
And there's one industry in which female appearance is under particular scrutiny.In academia - and the sciences, in particular - the way that a woman looks seems to be nearly always a topic for discussion. These are industries typically dominated by men, after all.
Which can often lead to a pretty uneven power dynamic.And, depressingly enough, this can sometimes lead to one particular reaction from the men. They seem powerless to resist getting their flirt on - in spite of the totally inappropriate setting.
And we all know how men get when they're told not to do something.Absolutely (and totally unnecessarily) furious, of course. And this story is a total microcosm of this phenomenon. Curious? Read on.
Our story concerns isotope geochemist, Stephanie Suarez.She's obviously way more than a pretty face - and is totally fed up with being referred to by her appearance. She posted this image with the caption: "From running the mass spectrometer, to performing ion-exchange chromatography in the clean lab and finding zircons with a needle. #Geochronology and #geochemistry gave me my confidence back after dropping 'intro to chemistry' as a freshmen. #ScientistsWhoSelfie."
Because, alongside being a scientist, Suarez is so much more.And one man on LinkedIn couldn't seem to get his head around this. Suarez posted a screenshot of her conversation and tweeted: "I just made my appointment for my second tattoo and gonna redye my fire engine red hair this weekend. Got yelled at by an engineer at Chevron via LinkedIn for it. In my opinion, commenting on someone's appearance is more unprofessional than what I have on my arms or hair."
People were shocked by the rude nature of the exchange.
@geologiststephy @JoleahLamb Wow. Who opens a conversation with a statement “you look like a waitress”?— Eleanour Snow (@Eleanour Snow)1564190251.0
But Suarez was quick to follow up with the tea.
@docsnowtx @JoleahLamb Engineers at Chevron apparently. Him hitting on me is what started it. When I posted it on a… https://t.co/1yo7eDHleg— Stephanie E Suarez (@Stephanie E Suarez)1564190509.0
Suarez was also quick to stand up for herself.
*Ahem* you can choose to not hire me because of my hair or tattoo. However, I doubt you gotta long line of people t… https://t.co/xqhLgI2l9w— Stephanie E Suarez (@Stephanie E Suarez)1564190264.0
And, quickly, the whole of Twitter stepped in.
@geologiststephy #1- Your hair looks fabulous and I wouldn't classify it in the unprofessional look. #2- Anyone who… https://t.co/bW68Iuzy9Q— Carly Lee (@Carly Lee)1564238045.0
Others shared stories of solidarity.
@geologiststephy I got sacked for having tattoos once. I have more tattoos and a better job...— Ken Hamilton (@Ken Hamilton)1564255108.0
Others pointed out something obvious.
@geologiststephy @BarghestBlack What a foul person. Your hair looks gorgeous btw!— NazFX (@NazFX)1564265293.0
But, sadly, he's not exactly an anomaly.In fact, it seems that men treating LinkedIn as their own personal dating app and trolling platform is basically an epidemic at this point.
And others made this observation.
@geologiststephy Aside from anything else, that’s a pretty standard hair colour. You’d get away with it under most… https://t.co/ckWXVHRUkV— big sick energy (@big sick energy)1564276035.0
And another Twitter user quipped ...
@geologiststephy @JoleahLamb Funny... I think you look exactly like an isotope geochemist!— Dr. Mary Leech 🔬🏔⚒ (@Dr. Mary Leech 🔬🏔⚒)1564253758.0
There was a distinct flavor of a double standard.
@geologiststephy @JoleahLamb I love that you were called rude for telling him where you work and what you do but he… https://t.co/CzfV96adHX— Jen Greenwich (@Jen Greenwich)1564231595.0
And using honesty as an excuse doesn't make it ok.
@geologiststephy @JoleahLamb Unless you asked this person point blank what they thought if your appearance, they ab… https://t.co/jQtNW8tjU2— Becca, Murder Hornet (@Becca, Murder Hornet)1564276158.0
Others were simply shocked at the audacity.
@geologiststephy @JoleahLamb My favorite part is when he tells YOU not to be rude 🤣🤣🙄— YulesVerne 🎄 (@YulesVerne 🎄)1564325676.0
Many shared similar experiences.In an industry that relies on innovation and finding new ways of thinking, there really shouldn't be a place for these sort of archaic viewpoints.
Although someone made this valuable point.We are feeling just a little bit jealous of Suarez.
And this is worth thinking about.Let's consider for a moment all of the potential scientific innovation that we may have missed out on thanks to the old-fashioned barriers preventing certain "types" of people from entering the industry.
Oh, and let's not forget this.The very idea that Suarez has made any decisions regarding her appearance in the hopes of attracting men is, simply, incorrect.
Small-mindedness will only end up hurting the world.If the way anyone looks would cause you to make assumptions about them, then perhaps you should, in fact, be taking a closer look at yourself.
The world is exceptionally varied.And that's a good thing! If we all looked like one another or thought like one another, that would be pretty terrible for the planet.
The privilege is rife.Listen, it's a cliche for a reason: if you haven't got anything nice to say, just don't say anything at all!
Many were curious as to whether the man faced any repercussions.
I went through some very very old messages to find his name. Even though it's been a year, I'm still too scared to… https://t.co/Ljqe18PSc5— Stephanie E Suarez (@Stephanie E Suarez)1564288129.0
She also claims that the story is ongoing.
Also omg, my updates have not stopped. I wish I woulda saved the names of every creep that threatened me when I ini… https://t.co/j5gA9CN9Zr— Stephanie E Suarez (@Stephanie E Suarez)1564288242.0
Although there is something of a happy ending.
Also just thank you all for the overwhelming amount of support. Sadly, I'm not used to this. https://t.co/Hk6yGGto04— Stephanie E Suarez (@Stephanie E Suarez)1564292571.0