Thursday, September 30, 2010

Polling For The Most Attractive Male Physicists Is Not As Controversial

By this time last week, I was already getting hate mail and comments about the poll I created (using nominations that you submitted) to find the most attractive female physicist. I think that controversy also generated a lot of interest in the poll.

Yet, this week, there's barely a squeak when the same poll is done by male physicist. I don't hear people criticizing me for "objectifying" these people, and that this poll is wrong. Or maybe those have already been said in the women's poll and no one wants to repeat those here? As men, should we find it offensive that no one finds this poll offensive? :)

Whatever the case is, as a scientist, I find it fascinating and curious of the different nature of reaction. By all accounts, the men's poll is downright boring. Is it because as men, we really don't care if someone likes us not for our brains, but for our looks? Is it because we really don't have time to be bothered by something as trivial as this and that means nothing in the long run? Or is it because we really never had to struggle, like the women, to be seriously accepted for our accomplishments rather than our looks? I think that, more than anything, it is a case of self-reflectance on how we view and treat men and women who are in the same profession and having the same stature, but with varying numbers. One encounters significantly more men than women in physics.

Whatever the reason may be, I will say that I'm completely not surprised by the nature of the reaction. I anticipated being reamed for the women's poll (which was why I ran it first), and not creating a stir with the men's poll. But I did it anyway. :)

And speaking of the female physicist poll, by a huge margin, you voted for Amy Mainzer.



David said...

The situation is different this time because you already did the other poll.

Craig said...

I believe the nature of the offense is cultural and not in any way related to academic ability or the order of the poll.

I consider those that took offense and sent hate mail as a form of bullying in an effort to ostracize you and your actions.

If their not thinking of the children, it's the women, the disabled, people that culture stereotypes as the lower casts of societies within different contexts they then deem in need of their protection in order to strengthen their group.

There was a study recently about peer vicitmization that probably relates. You could probably consider yourself a renegade ZapperZ. :)

BillyH said...

The male poll is not controversial because men don't care. Men don't care because women don't care. Mature women are more interested in the sum of characteristics in which looks are at best roughly equally weighted.

The female poll is controversial because women know men do care. Women know that for men, looks are not equally weighted in the sum of characteristics, especially early in a relationship.