Women scientists fight sexism with #distractinglysexy pictures on Twitter

Zoé Vincent-Mistiaen, a PhD student at The Francis Crick Institute in London, being #distractinglysexy
Zoé Vincent-Mistiaen, a PhD student at The Francis Crick Institute in London, being #distractinglysexy
Image: Courtesy of Zoé Vincent-Mistiaen
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Nobel Prize winner and scientist Tim Hunt spoke out earlier this week about how having women work in a lab can be problematic. Since, you know, those women scientists will probably fall in love with you, or vice versa. Or they’ll cry when you critique them.

Then Hunt defended those comments in a BBC interview, saying that such mistakes do happen and they can jeopardize the science. He told the station: “I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me, and it’s very disruptive to the science because it’s terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.”

As his comments drew international ire, Hunt resigned on June 10 from University College London, where he was an honorary professor.

Women on the internet have been calling out the absurdity of his statements all week. As the Guardian points out in a story today, Hunt’s groundbreaking research into cell cycles was largely facilitated by a number of scientists who were women. And on June 10, the folks behind the Vagenda Magazine called for women scientists to share lab photos with the hashtag #distractinglysexy.

And they have responded, garnering plenty of media attention the last few days.

Clever plays on words abounded.

Female scientists have been using the hashtag to show off their powers of distraction outside the lab as well.

Some suggested updated lab safety signage.

One lady boss said she’ll do whatever she pleases in her own lab.

Of course there were the shout outs to some of the most accomplished scientists in history, who happened to be women.

And let it be noted that men, too, can be #distractinglysexy