Just when we think we are making progress...toward a time when women are viewed as other than sex objects...we find that not much has changed. Why do I say this?
I was recently reviewing the stats on this blog to see what people were most interested in. In the stats option, I can see what the top key phrase is that leads the most visitors to this blog. You guessed it: "hot female scientists". Searching on those key words returns about 56 million hits. My blog post (Are all female scientists white, skinny, and "hot"?) is number 9 on the hit parade. One wonders what the guys who are searching for links to pics of hot women think of my post. I'm guessing they are puzzled for a brief moment and then click on the next link.
I did discover a post, in which a blogger apologizes for compiling a list of 15 sexiest female scientists (partly tongue-in-cheek...he included P.Z. Myers in the list). After readers complained, he took down the post and apologized. His apology is eloquent and convincing--I recommend reading it. It affirms my impression that a lot of the sexist remarks and related behavior are perpetrated by guys who don't realize the impact of what they are doing. Not that that excuses them. It just puts them into a slightly different category from the misogynists who deliberately undermine women. I'm guessing that this blogger is young and inexperienced... and never stopped to think about what he was doing.
His reaction showed that we can change the minds and behavior of this group of men. We can do this by not immediately jumping to conclusions about motives and taking the time to calmly explain the effect of their actions.