#DistractinglySexy: Female scientists take to Twitter to mock Sir Tim Hunt's sexist remarks

Archaeologists, biochemists and mathematicians have been posting photographs of themselves at work

Victoria Richards
Friday 12 June 2015 14:22 BST
Danielle Spitzer is studying biology, women's and gender studies
Danielle Spitzer is studying biology, women's and gender studies (Danielle Spitzer/Twitter)

Female scientists have spearheaded an ironic Twitter campaign to mock Sir Tim Hunt's sexist comments about the need for single-sex laboratories.

The hashtag #DistractinglySexy is being used by women working in the fields of biology, archaeology, computer coding, chemistry and geology to show exactly what their jobs entail - and to demonstrate just how "distracting" they are while doing it.

The backlash follows remarks made by the eminent Nobel laureate at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea on 9 June, in which he reportedly said: “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls.

Under the microscope: Nobel Prize-winning researcher Sir Tim Hunt says he was being ironic (EPA)

"Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry.”

Sir Hunt has since resigned as a lecturer at University College London and apologised, telling the BBC it was “a very stupid thing to do in the presence of all those journalists”.

Scores of scientists have now posted photographs of themselves online in lab coats, glasses and in exotic locations - like ditches - to poke fun at the idea that they are "tempting" male colleagues.

Danielle Spitzer, who is at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) studying biology, women's studies and gender, posted a photo of herself covered in full, white lab attire, from her head to latex gloves and shoe-coverings.

She wrote: "It's just really hard working in a coed lab because I'm too distracting to the male scientists #distractinglysexy".

Lucie de Beauchamp, an engineer working in biotechnology, also tweeted an image of herself at work in a lab coat and latex gloves.

Alba Hierro shared a shot of herself in front of her computer screen, with the message: "The worst thing is being so #distractinglysexy when I code..."

Clementine Wallop shared an image of herself at work in a helmet, goggles and dayglo tabard.

Wildlife biologist and conservationist Sarah Durrant, tweeted an image of herself...holding animal droppings.

Some men got in on the act, too - with important changes to the workplace.

Others, such as virologist Elisabetta - and even the British Heart Foundation - had a more serious message, asking that women not be hit with criticism for daring to show their feelings.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in