The social media world was rocked last week by the shocking discovery that the popular I F*cking Love Science and Science is Awesome Facebook pages are run not run by an old man in a lab coat, or physicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson as often theorized, but by a beautiful young woman. The internet community acted accordingly to the news, of course– which is to say, like an immature twelve year-old boy.
“Elise Andrew, an English blogger living in Canada, posted a link promoting her Twitter feed on her I F*cking Love Science Facebook page, which has more than 4.2m fans,” The Guardian reported.
“I got Twitter! I figured it’s about time I started exploring other social media. If you’re on there, can you Tweet me some science people worth following?” Elise tweeted excitedly.
Elise’s gender, and looks, immediately became a topic of discussion, with actual replies reading:
“F**k me! This is a babe ?!!”
“holy hell, youre a HOTTIE!”
“you mean you’re a girl, AND you’re beautiful? wow, i just liked science a lil bit more today ”
“you mean you’re a girl, AND you’re beautiful? wow, i just liked science a lil bit more today “
An exasperated Elise tweeted in response: “EVERY COMMENT on that thread is about how shocking it is that I’m a woman! Is this really 2013?”
Is it naive of us to have expected better from the internet? Consider one of the most offensive modern misogynists, Chris Brown, for example: though he’s a perpetual topic of disgust and disdain, he has a staggering over twelve million followers on Twitter. Though sometimes the citizens of the web do pull together to revive our faith in humanity, like the outpouring of support for same-sex marriage on Facebook, the internet is not the place to try to forget that sexism and bigotry remain dominant forces. Did the Twitter-verse’s response to Elise’s identity surprise you or have you accepted that sexist remarks on social media are simply status quo? —Casandra Armour