Rewind

The Week in Women: segregating labs, assisting felons, and other terrible ideas

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Think before you speak and think before you act: two pieces of sage advice that select individuals have resolutely failed to absorb. This week was chock-full of foot-in-mouth moments and cringe-inducing blunders, particularly when it came to matters concerning women. Let’s take a look back at some of the more dumbfounding gaffes.

Tim Hunt, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, publicly advocated for men and women to be relegated to separate laboratories. “Let me tell you about my trouble with girls,” he said at a conference in South Korea. “Three things happen when they are in the lab. You fall in love with them, they fall in love with you and when you criticize, they cry.” In the midst of the furor over his comments, the British professor resigned from his position at University College London. It’s probably safe to say that his former female colleagues will get along just fine without him.

A movie critic for The New York Post devoted an entire column to explaining why women are incapable of understanding Goodfellas, Martin Scorsese’s 1990 masterpiece. Kyle Smith described the film as a “male fantasy picture” and posited that “[t]o a woman, the Goodfellas are lowlifes. To guys, they’re hilarious, they’re heroes.” This gender-driven gap in understanding must have made things very difficult for the movie’s editor, casting director, and executive producer, who—incidentally—were all women.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi epically failed at praising the mettle of Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. “I am happy that the Bangladeshi Prime Minister, despite being a woman, has declared zero tolerance for terrorism,” Modi said, according to a translation of his remarks. Modi might want to take a moment to recall that his very own India was once led by Indira Gandhi, who managed to become the country’s second-longest serving prime minister in spite of her delicate lady brain.

Rapper/actor/cannabis connoisseur Snoop Dogg took to Instagram to share a meme that referred to Caitlyn Jenner as a “science project.” “Shout out to Akon!” the meme reads, in reference to another recording artist. “He is about to supply 60 million africans (sic) with solar power. Im (sic) really upset that this isn’t major news but that science project bruce jenner (sic) is #Society.” Snoop had previously declared his newfound respect for women, but perhaps the adage is true: you can’t teach an old Dogg new tricks.

The top honor in the “What were they thinking?” category goes to Joyce Mitchell, the female prison worker who was arrested for allegedly helping two convicted murderers escape from a correctional facility in upstate New York. Mitchell, according to anonymous sources cited in news reports, gave hacksaw blades and drill bits to David Sweat and Richard Matt, who then used the tools to tunnel their way to freedom. CNN reports that Mitchell told authorities Matt made her feel “special,” which presumably helped her forget that the felon once kidnapped, dismembered, and tortured his former colleague. How very charming.

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