Culture

‘March for Science’ Attempts ‘Female’ Outreach — Only to Offend People over Use of the Word ‘Female’

(Photo: Kiosea39/Dreamstime)
This is absurd — especially considering that the March for Science’s intent was very clearly a feminist one.

An environmentalist group, March for Science, posted a tweet asking “female[s]” who had changed their minds about engineering careers to offer suggestions for how to make the field more welcoming to women — only to end up having to apologize for using the word “female.”

“Are you a female who thought about doing engineering but decided against it?” the apparently offensive tweet, which was posted February 23, asked.

“Why?” it continued. “What can the science community do better? #ScienceMarch”

Although some women did respond with their earnest suggestions, the replies to the tweet were flooded with people who were upset about the use of the word “female.”

Some were upset for grammatical reasons, arguing that “female” was an adjective and not a noun.

(Note: Both Merriam-Webster Online and Dictionary.com state that the word can be used as both an an adjective and a noun.)

Others were upset because the use of the word “female” to mean “woman” reminded them of what a “Ferengi” would do:

(Note: I googled “Ferengi” and it apparently has something to do with Star Trek, which is apparently a show that some people actually watch.)

Others went so far as to say that the tweet’s use of the word “female” suggests that the folks at March for Science do not see women as actually being human beings:

Apparently, the outrage was so significant that it prompted the March for Science to issue a five-part apology, begging for forgiveness for its “problematic tweets” and any “harm [they] caused.”

Now — as I sit here typing this with both of my feet on my desk chair at the office — I can willingly admit that I’m not the best resource when it comes to manners. So, although nothing about March of Science’s tweet bothered me personally, I can recognize that the people who identified it as being “rude” probably had a point. After all, when it comes to “Victorian etiquette,” I know absolutely nothing other than that a situation where I’d be expected to adhere to it sounds terrifying to me.

But still, I kind of feel like making the jump from “rude” to “dehumanizing” is pretty absurd — especially considering that the March for Science’s intent was very clearly a feminist one. It’s almost (almost!) as if this falls under the category of “There’s just no pleasing these people.”

This story was previously reported on in an article on Heat Street.

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