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ASAPScience Guys Apologize for Sexist Imagery in Video, Recommit Themselves to Helping Women in STEM

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Now this is how you apologize.

ASAPScience, a Youtube channel run by Mitch Moffit and Greg Brown, has been a favorite of The Mary Sue’s for a long time–they consistently post funny, sensitive, and informative videos designed to make STEM more accessible.

Moffit and Brown also aren’t afraid to get political on their channel, and have made videos in the past addressing the hate they get as an openly gay couple. In other words, ASAPScience is reliably great in all kinds of ways, which is why it’s hard to believe that the image they chose to represent “Silicon” in their popular 2013 “Periodic Table Song” video was a woman’s well-endowed, disembodied torso. It’s even more surprising that no one called them out before now:

Although ASAPScience’s channel isn’t geared toward kids (they’ve recently posted videos on mature subjects like the Science of Cheating or masturbation), it’s particularly jarring to see an objectifying image like this in the Periodic Table Song, since that particular video is a great way for students to study for school. It’s also startling because, yeah…silicone is not silicon, and it doesn’t seem worthwhile to alienate some of your viewers just for the sake of a misleading mnemonic device.

If Moffit and Brown had decided to ignore criticism over the video, they would have had support from many a man on Twitter:

But to their eternal credit, the team took the video down, publicly apologized, and re-tweeted some of the criticism leveled against them:

No matter how well-meaning your intent, it’s impossible to always think outside your own lived experience (that’s something I’ve definitely struggled with at The Mary Sue). The one thing you can do is listen when members of marginalized groups point out your mistakes, and commit to learning from them. It can be hard for men to recognize that the scientific community is designed to favor them over women, and I respect ASAPScience more than ever for admitting that and pledging to do better.

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