Last week twitter user Daurmith started to write “small bios of famous male scientists as they’d be written had they been women.” You know… those genderized profiles of incredibly accomplished women that first mention their role has mother, wife, or other “feminine” trait before recognizing their profound professional achievements.
A perfect example of this comes from The New York Times when pioneering rocket scientist Yvonne Brill passed away in 2013. The paper began her obituary with “She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children.” Seriously… in 2013! After being called out as sexist by, um, everyone, the editors at the paper revised the lead to start with “She was a brilliant scientist,” but continued the sentence as it was previously published.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Daurmith says she was first inspired to write the bios after reading a piece about British poet Sarah Howes winning the TS Eliot Prize, which focused more on her appearance than her prolific and important work.
“I wrote the bios as an exercise ‘through the glass’, so to speak. I find it productive, and a bit cathartic to use women’s tropes on men…”
Ironically, or maybe not so ironically at all, we only came to know of Daurmith’s gender through a tweet she posted when a science blog who wrote about the small bios assumed they were written by a “he.”