Writer Gennifer Hutchison posted a now-viral tweet to highlight how important representation and inclusion are in the field of research.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on August 2, 2022. It has since been updated.
Television and film writer Gennifer Hutchison, most famous for her work with the shows "Breaking Bad" and "Game of Thrones," went viral on Twitter for pointing out that her favorite historical "discoveries" were actually made by women when male scientists failed. This is because several fields of science have, for decades now, excluded women from research and development. It would seem that discoveries related to women and the domestic sphere often confounded others performing said research. Her tweet has since sparked a conversation on the social media platform, where users have called for greater inclusion and representation in the sciences, Bored Panda reports.
And a lot of times, it's like these men forget women existed.— Gennifer Hutchison (@GennHutchison) July 25, 2022
"The hands in these ancient cave paintings are so small! Must have been the young men painting them!"
Woman: "Women painted them."
She wrote on Twitter, "My favorite historical 'discoveries' are [the] ones male anthropologists/historians just cannot figure out for YEARS that are swiftly answered by a woman when one is finally given access." As an example, she shared: "'But what could this ancient tablet of instructions even MEAN!' Woman: 'It's a recipe.'" She continued to make her point with more examples. "They are almost always things traditionally associated with women or the domestic sphere," Hutchison explained. "And a lot of times, it's like these men forget women existed."
They're almost always things traditionally associated with women or the domestic sphere.— Gennifer Hutchison (@GennHutchison) July 25, 2022
"Why did they keep knives up on the ceiling beams?! Must be about being closer to their gods."
Woman: "To keep the kids from getting them."
The writer concluded, "This is one of many, many reasons why representation across all professions is so important. We ALL have biases, and having a truly representative team of people helps fill in those gaps. If everyone is looking at something from the same angle, we miss the full picture." Since it was first posted, her original tweet has been retweeted over 11,000 times and has received more than 76,300 likes. Evidently, Twitter users resonated with her fierce interest in representation and inclusion. One person responded, "I adore and appreciate this thread so much!" Another added, "Like the Ishango Bone! For years, dudebro historians couldn't figure out what it was, theorizing all sorts of stuff about religion and star tracking, until a female anthropologist took one look at it and told them it was a period tracker."
Meanwhile, others chimed in with their own examples. "Or Venus of Willendorf, which was assumed to be a fertility goddess figurine or p*rnographic image for years, until two researchers stated that it was a pregnancy guide," one user posted. Another shared, "My favorite is the ancient bread recipe from a coastal village that no one could get to work until someone looked at it and went, 'They were next to the sea; use the SALT water.'" Historically, women have composed a marginal part of the faculty in history departments. One study of four-year college and university faculty found that women comprised just under 35 percent of all history faculty. While things are improving, Hutchison's thread is an example of exactly why we need to encourage more folks from marginalized backgrounds to join academia and research.