Since today is International Women’s Day, let’s take a look at female contributions to science. While any writing on this topic should include events like #ShirtGate/#ShirtStorm, the unwarranted attacks on Dr. Matt Taylor, and the witch hunt against Dr. Tim Hunt, not to mention the feminist belief that Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica is a rape manual, I am going to focus on female attempts to “contribute” to the body of scientific knowledge.
Anna Catherine Hickey-Moody “contributed” to science how carbon fiber is sexist. Yes, there is actually an academic paper that carbon fiber oppresses women. Take a look at the abstract for the paper:
In this paper I am concerned with instances in which carbon fiber extends performances of masculinity that are attached to particular kinds of hegemonic male bodies. In examining carbon fiber as a prosthetic form of masculinity, I advance three main arguments. Firstly, carbon fiber can be a site of the supersession of disability that is affected through masculinized technology. Disability can be ‘overcome’ through carbon fiber. Disability is often culturally coded as feminine (Pedersen, 2001; Meeuf, 2009; Garland-Thompson 1997). Building on this cultural construction of disability as feminine, in and as a technology of masculine homosociality (Sedgwick, 1985), carbon fiber reproduced disability as feminine when carbon fiber prosthetic lower legs allowed Oscar Pistorius to compete in the non-disabled Olympic games. Secondly, I argue that carbon fiber can be a homosocial surface; that is, carbon fiber becomes both a surface extension of the self and a third party mediator in homosocial relationships, a surface that facilitates intimacy between men in ways that devalue femininity in both male and female bodies. I examine surfaces as material extensions of subjectivity, and carbon fiber surfaces as vectors of the cultural economies of masculine competition to which I refer. Thirdly, the case of Oscar Pistorius is exemplary of the masculinization of carbon fire, and the associated binding of a psychic attitude of misogyny and power to a form of violent and competitive masculine subjectivity. In this article I explore the affects, economies and surfaces of what I call ‘carbon fiber masculinity’ and discusses Pistorius’ use of carbon fiber, homosociality and misogyny as forms of protest masculinity through which he unconsciously attempted to recuperate his gendered identity from emasculating discourses of disability.
If carbon fiber oppresses women, then wait until we can become cyborgs. I anticipate feminists will start shrieking that cyborgs are a MRA army, if carbon fiber scares them this much.
Several authors (some of which were men, but without women’s contributions this paper wouldn’t exist) “contributed” to science how men use glaciers to oppress women. At least that’s what I think the paper says. It’s hard to tell since it is filled will gibberish if it’s abstract is anything to go by:
Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.
None of this compares to the “contributions” to science of French philosopher, Luce Irigaray. Irigaray has seriously said that E=mc2 is a sexed (aka sexist) equation that privileges the speed of light over other speeds. She also said that “masculine physics” privileges rigid, solid things and that men are incapable of understanding fluid mechanics:
The privileging of solid over fluid mechanics, and indeed the inability of science to deal with turbulent flow at all, she attributes to the association of fluidity with femininity. Whereas men have sex organs that protrude and become rigid, women have openings that leak menstrual blood and vaginal fluids… From this perspective it is no wonder that science has not been able to arrive at a successful model for turbulence. The problem of turbulent flow cannot be solved because the conceptions of fluids (and of women) have been formulated so as necessarily to leave unarticulated remainders.
I guess all of those male physics professors and scientists who study fluid mechanics should just give up. For International Women’s Day, celebrate these female contributions to science.