Science

Strippers and Science!

Who doesn’t love strippers? A few climatologists, for starters. The entertainment for the Australia-New Zealand Climate Forum included a burlesque act — hardly a strip show — during which attending scientists were invited to pop the balloons off a progressively nuder woman wearing stockings, hot pants, and a corset.

Apparently, the conference-goers were not forewarned about the nature of the act, and a number of people marched off in a huff and the 45-minute show was cut short after 10 minutes. Of course, it’s not really fair to spring something like this on an unsuspecting adult, who could be scarred for life after seeing a bare ankle or thigh. I hope the victimized scientists can get monetary compensation, or at least some kind of justice from the ongoing “investigation” into who authorized this immoral sin fest.

So admittedly, I’m rolling my eyes a bit. Just a bit. I could understand people taking offense at a strip show at a science conference. I mean, one second you’re passing the butter while discussing the net effect of methane on global climate change, when suddenly a woman in a hot pink string bikini and twirling pasties begins gyrating in your lap to Sir Mix-a-Lot.

Sorry, I need to take a moment.

. . .

Okay.

But come on, a burlesque show in which none of the dancers gets remotely naked or performs any kind of nipple manipulation or hold on again . . .

. . .

Sorry.

Look, my point is, it’s just entertainment. Don’t get your ascot in a twist.

Now to answer the opposite question: who does love strippers? Well, me obviously (hey Moe!), and let’s not forget Richard Feynman. Argument from authority? Perhaps, but what do you want? It’s Friday and I’m talking about strippers.

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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11 Comments

  1. Oh, sure, you don't think there was anything overtly sexual about the performance, but that's just because you don't have a balloon fetish.

    Please, for once, won't somebody think of the balloon fetishists?

  2. I know this is really cheezy before I type it, but it can't be helped.

    I for one welcome our new clothes removing overlords.

    Richard Feynman is one of my scientific heroes, and in honor of him (and also because it's Friday and i'm not doing anything better) I believe I will go visit some of my favorite strippers today. Though I'll probably have to skip the whole making tasteful nude sketches thing because my best attempts at drawing would be a real insult to beautiful women.. or even ugly women.. and probably even insult vaguely unattractive rocks.

  3. Maybe if they had strippers in my science class in Jr. High(sorry middle school) I would have payed more attetion in class. Not of nessesary on science but I would have payed more attention in class.

  4. Once again, I disagree. I work in a field that is about 90% male, especially at our national meetings. It wasn't that long ago that there would be exhibits at our meetings with beautiful women in bikinis…..demonstrating pesticide sprayers.

    It pisses me off. A lot. Had I been at this meeting, I would have been furious at this meeting and stormed out.

    It is totally innapropriate.

    The men think of all women at the conference as potential sexual conquests, not as colleagues.

    I have completely stopped going to our national meeting any year it is scheduled in vegas. All women are assumed to be hookers.

    Again, pisses me off that I'm trying to learn and make professional alliances, and the guys are trolling to T and A.

    I Loves me some good strippin'–just NOT at my professional scientific meetings.

  5. Reading through the various news reports on the "scandal" I think it is less prudishness and more the kind of annoyance bug_girl is talking about.

    Most of the people that walked out where women.

    It is also interesting to note the entertainment (at least as far as it was mentioned) was made up of female performers. I feel weird coming down on the prudish side of this argument but it just seems like odd, inappropriate and kind of sexist entertainment.

  6. there is a big difference between what is appropriate in a work environment, and what is appropriate at home or in a bar.

    So, while I happily purchase porn (or lap dances) in my private life, I find them and similar activities unacceptable at WORK.

    Which is what a scientific conference is.

    Also, the dancers were students at the university hosting the conference–which sets up an interesting power dynamic.

  7. I suppose that is probably the same reason a lot of people don't (didn't?) approve of the skepchick calendar. To them, skepticism is a serious matter, not to be taken so lightly and jokingly as the calendar did. I'm sure quite a number of them simply did react the way they did because they were a bit prudish, but a few of them simply think it was a bad move for women in skepticism.

    I'm sure both camps exist in regards to that science conference too. On the one hand you have a few female students who're trying to lighten the mood, make a big show about how science doesn't have to be serious or boring, that there's women there too, etc… perhaps a bit naive of them.

    On the other hand, there's women who've already established themselves as serious scientists who may think it "cheapened" what they've accomplished.

    I suppose as usual, both sides make an interesting point.

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