Handy scientists nail #ManicureMonday

Geobiologist Dr. Hope Jahren decided to challenge scientists to take part in a hashtag mostly aimed at teenaged girls: Seventeen Mag’s weekly #ManicureMonday tag. What followed was a lot of fun: people showing off their hands doing science!

Mindy Weisberger has a great summary up, but here’s 25 of my favourite photos (embedded using storify, so may not be visible in feed readers):

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Science hands! Here’s 25 of my favourites for use in a GeekFeminism story.

  1. #1
  2. #2
  3. #3
  4. #4
  5. #5
  6. Cleaner shrimp from invert lab! Getting a manicure while doing science?#manicuremonday pic.twitter.com/V9Ku3QPwNY
  7. #6
  8. #7
  9. Oh look, it’s still #ManicureMonday for #science! Here’s me lovingly caressing my new telescope w/ un-manicured hand. pic.twitter.com/mTSwLt91DG
  10. #8
  11. #9
  12. #10
  13. #11
  14. #12
  15. #13
  16. #14
  17. #15
  18. #16
  19. Oh dear. As cool as this firefly’s bioluminescent bum is, I clearly need a #ManicureMonday pic.twitter.com/O3YSFXKmqn
  20. #17
  21. #18
  22. My friend needed a #ManicureMonday when he was measuring this yellow footed antechinus in NSW #WildOz pic.twitter.com/qbaREUMVWl
  23. #19
  24. #20
  25. #21
  26. #ManicureMonday has gone to bed, but not me! I’ll be up #Science-ing for a while yet. Banal fixits here I come. pic.twitter.com/hFptcKCEnu
  27. #22
  28. Today is #ManicureMonday for science! These hands are getting ready to tag a shark. pic.twitter.com/tqeezvUW34
  29. #23
  30. #24
  31. #25
  32. And finally, here’s my own entry:
  33. Computer scientist #ManicureMonday inspired by the #Science salamanicure. This is what I’m reading for work! pic.twitter.com/rqSsr2sZdI

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About terriko

Terri has a PhD in horribleness, assuming we can all agree that web security is kind of horrible. She stopped working on skynet (err, automated program repair and AI) before robots from the future came to kill her and got a job in open source, which at least sounds safer. Now, she gets paid to break things and tell people they're wrong, and maybe help fix things so that people won't agree so readily with the first sentence of this bio in the future. Terri writes/tweets under the name terriko, enjoys making things and mentoring others and has a plain ol' home page at http://terri.toybox.ca.

7 thoughts on “Handy scientists nail #ManicureMonday

  1. L

    I saw some people talking about this on twitter and it makes me very uncomfortable that adults felt it was okay to take over a hashtag started as a space meant for teenage girls. Seeing the storify has only made me feel worse about what people were doing. I’m particularly uncomfortable that it seems like pictures of men were included (if there were some message that even men who like manicures can do science then it would not be quite as bad, but as it is it’s simply a man intruding on a space meant for teenage girls.) The talk about hands/nails of people doing science as “real” is really messed up. Dr Hope Jahren’s talk about adults “wresting #ManicureMonday” from Seventeen, and thus from teenage girls, as a feminist struggle is awful. I didn’t see it in the storify, but she also referred to the women and men taking part as XX and XY, which is incredibly cissexist.

    It’s really unclear what this was even supposed to do. Do the people involved think that teenage girls who enjoy manicures are somehow unaware of science? Do they think girls need rescuing from femininity? Do they really believe (as the “wresting” comment makes it seem) that a space for teenage girls to share manicures is a negative thing? Do they just enjoy looking down on girls who like manicures and trying to make them feel bad for it? Do they really believe that the best way to make girls aware of what it’s like to work in science is disrupting this space meant for teenage girls? Dr Hope Jahren tweeted about wanting to somehow welcome girls to science, but failing to see the value in these girls’ hobby or the space where girls can share something they enjoy and taking over a hashtag meant for those girls is far from welcoming.

    1. Terri

      I’m sorry you feel that way! I got completely the opposite vibe from the tweets. Looking through the photos from the hashtag to put together this story, I saw lots of folk with manicures, and it felt to me like folk were joining in to the hashtag in a friendly way. Scientists were having fun talking about and showing off manicures, because that *is not* a thing only fun for teenaged girls. To me, it didn’t look like a takeover; it looked like joining in.

      Since I had just last month heard a speaker at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing imply in her panel discussion that no *real* computer scientist could have manicured nails (a comment refuted by audience members in the question session, but still a frustrating thing to hear), I think there’s some real and probably harmful stereotypes about science and nail art out there — maybe not ones you’ve seen, but definitely ones I’ve been exposed to as a woman who likes sparkly nails and has a PhD. Having scientists participate in something like Manicure Monday may help with the feeling many young women get that they can’t fit in to science because they care about things like fun nail art. (Which I always thought was silly, but the GHC2013 talk reminded me that we internalize some pretty odd things sometimes.) Even the folk who didn’t show manicures were showing that they were having fun posting photos of themselves, something many teenaged girls on twitter can probably relate to.

      Goofy outreach program? Sure. But disrupting a hashtag is a thing people do on the internet. I read a lot of tweets and it don’t think I spotted one from a teenaged girl who was upset by having a few more photos to scroll through.

    2. Momma, PhD

      I think it’s critical to note that the Hope said “wresting #ManicureMonday from Seventeen” NOT “from teenage girls.” Seventeen might be using the hashtag to market the magazine and their nail polish sponsors, but we don’t have to. The intention was to participate WITH teenage girls- to engage and show the range of women (some with great manis, some with none at all). To bust stereotypes that you cannot be into manicures AND science, you cannot be a scientist AND feminine, that science is boring, etc.

      If the execution did not accomplish this for all, or was interpreted otherwise by some, is unfortunate. It was my hope, in participating, that girls would do a hashtag search and find all kinds of hands- some what they were expecting, and some that they were not- and that the exposure helped chip away at stereotypes they may hold. Perhaps, a girl like I once was, who read Seventeen, might see- you aren’t alone in liking science and painting your fingernails.

    3. sparrow

      I would suggest that there is a considerable difference between teenage girls in a space that they have created and that belongs to them, and teenage girls in a space generated by social media marketers for an entity like Seventeen.

      I have read Seventeen, though I have not done so recently. I am aware of the spaces they create for adolescent girls, and the content and social norms that Seventeen attempts to impart. I feel pretty on-board with disrupting and disrespecting Seventeen, as a for-profit entity largely in favor of cissexism, heteronormativity, and compulsory femininity. I think there is a distinction to be made between “teenage girls, or other people, celebrating feminine things” and “people attempting to market to girls or female people, and treating feminine behavior as expected or mandated for their audience.”

      I’m also unconvinced that the volume of science-y Manicure Monday posts was such that it can be reasonably described as disrupting, disrespecting, or taking over the tag. I have no idea what the relative volume of Seventeen-style vs. science-y posts was, so it’s possible that they were not overwhelming or even terribly visible in the tag. Assuming that the science people did overwhelm the tag, though, the Web is not a finite space, and it’s not as if they were being disruptive in an inappropriate or hostile way (e.g. posting racist insults to an ethnic tag, insulting shippers in their ship’s tag).

    4. GemmaM

      There are definitely some tweets here that could be interpreted as anti-manicure, or as implying that manicures are too frivolous for scientists — but I really like the ones by people who actually have manicures and are doing sciencey things with them.

  2. wendyw

    My daughter doesn’t read Seventeen yet but she is growing up fast–she asked to go to a nail salon for her 7th birthday. I will show her these excellent pix and explain to her that on the days she has to catch sharks for work, perhaps only a pedicure is best.

    1. Erin

      Hi Wendy,

      Or that a manicure is fun way to treat yourself after catching sharks for work? (After months of hot and dusty fieldwork, I definitely look forward to some relaxing spa time!). Maybe your local aquarium has sharks and does kids’ birthday parties too. :)

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