A headline from Business Insider: “Meet The Beautiful Women Who Send Rockets Into Space”
There is nothing wrong with the word “beautiful.” It’s very handy to have around when you want to talk about poems, or argue about Vivienne Westwood’s work, or express admiration for a well-executed, dainty piece of pastry. It is often perfectly unremarkable when applied to people (“You look beautiful today, honey.” “Thank you, dear.”).
But, unless you’re discussing the ease and grace with which they landed a rover, “beautiful” has no place in an article about NASA employees.
This goes beyond objectification; it’s just shitty journalism. There is already a slideshow of these people—if, for some reason, their relative beauty is somehow central to the piece, you can let each reader grapple with the dissonance of attractive women in STEM fields to whatever extent is personally necessary for him or her.
All that said, I’m guessing that some editor appended that dumbass headline as clickbait. In the actual article, there is nothing in there about physical appearance. Instead, there’s good info about the slowly growing presence of women at NASA. Which is important to discuss; too bad it gets buried behind an offensive and reductive headline.
Thanks (thanks?) to @mshannabrooks at seattlish for bringing this to my attention.