If Male Scientists Were Written About Like Female Scientists

By Kelly Oakes

“A devout husband and father, Darwin balanced his family duties with the study of the specimens he brought from his travels.”

I started to write small bios of famous (male) scientists as they’d be written had they been women.

They were originally tweeted in Spanish.

Pierre Curie

They highlight how biographies of female scientists often feature their marital status prominently.

«Pierre Curie, married and proud father of two, found time for love and family during his short scientific career.»

«A devout husband and father, Darwin balanced his family duties with the study of the specimes he brought from his travels.»

Richard Feynman

Oliver Sacks

 As well as their appearance.

«He had the body of an athlete and the face of a movie star. But Oliver Sacks chose science over glamour.»

«Sassy and carefree Feynmann challenged social mores as he worked on his research. He broke hearts all over USA.»

Isaac Newton

Erwin Schrodinger

 And thinly veiled surprise that anyone could be both a woman and a scientist.

«No one could imagine that behind Newton’s large eyes and frail appearance hid one of the most prodigious brains in the world.”

«His dour personality made everyone think he’d never marry. Even so, Schrödinger got a wife and a Nobel Prize.”

Daurmith, who wanted to remain anonymous, told BuzzFeed they wrote the bios because they were “a bit irked” by a piece about British poet Sarah Howes winning the TS Eliot Prize, which focused more on her looks than poetry.

“I got to thinking about that and about all the other times I’ve seen articles written about notable women in which their looks/makeup secrets/wardrobe advice were discussed, sometimes instead of – not besides – her 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, à la Hawkeye Project. I didn’t want to achieve anything special and honestly thought they would get quickly lost.

“I find it charming that, when I translated the tweets to English, many people thought they were lovely and wished men were described more often like that. This didn’t happen with the original tweets in Spanish and gave me food for thought. I could have been nastier writing the tweets; I’m very glad I wasn’t. It gave me a different perspective.”

If you ever find yourself writing about a female scientist and don’t want to be mocked on Twitter, just follow these seven rules.

And for god’s sake, don’t mention beef stroganoff.



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