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Female Scientists Unleash Comedic Revenge At #Distractinglysexy

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

By now, you've probably heard of the dustup following Sir Tim Hunt, the Nobel prize-winning British scientist. Hunt volunteered some controversial comments at a conference last week about women. He said, quote, "You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry". The 72-year-old biochemist was roundly criticized for his remarks, and he ended up resigning his honorary university post in London.

OK, we know the subject of sexism and gender bias in science isn't funny. The field has struggled mightily with those issues, but, you know what is hilarious? The surprisingly light-hearted reaction from the female scientific community. Nope, they didn't cry. Instead, they post selfies from their work in the lab and in the field, often in giant hazmat suits or facemasks with the hashtag #distractinglysexy. And they posted old photos of female scientists like Marie Curie and Fausto Sterling. And by Thursday, #distractinglysexy exploded with more than 10,000 tweets in just a couple of hours. Of course, everyone has their favorites, but here are a few of mine. A photo of wildlife biologist Sarah Durant crouched in the grass with the caption (reading) nothing like a sample tube full of cheetah poop to make you #distractinglysexy.

An ecologist named Jennifer Pannell captioned a photo of herself outside, quote, "In the field because I'm too #distractinglysexy for the lab. Took ages to find a pic where I'm not crying."

And an archival photo of a famous British chemist titled Rosalind Franklin was so #distractinglysexy the boys forgot to credit her with helping discover the structure of DNA. Kudos internet. Sometimes it's just better to fight fire with humor in a hazmat suit. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.