Bitch in a Box: Gift Guide for Science Nerds

bitch in a box logo

This month, we’re putting together a series of feminist gift guides. They're a way to highlight fun stuff we love and creators we're excited to support. I'm kicking it off with a gift guide for science nerds—the STEM-fan in your life could use some love, after all. 

a blue dress covered in constellations

Cute Constellation Dress

It glows in the dark! And it's handmade! And the same person who sews it also makes these glittery gold T-Rex high heels. So compared to those, this dress is downright sensible. 

a shirt featuring various gems

Lovely Mineral Gems Shirt

I was a rockhound as a teenager, spending my summers in Eastern Oregon looking for fossils and thundereggs. This shirt speaks to me, even though wearing it will be a liability since I'm sure it will give rise to endless puns about how my shirt “rocks” or people “dig” it.  

digifying science cover

The Dignifying Science Comic Book

This 143-page collection tells the stories of women in a bunch of different scientific fields, including well-known people like Marie Curie and DNA researcher Rosalind Franklin to lesser-known figures like biologist Barbara McClintock. I read this in college and it blew my mind—I lent it to a couple people over the years and lost track of it somewhere along the way. Lesson learned: Get two copies so you can lend it out. 



adas algorithm book

A Copy of Ada's Algorithm 

This new book about the life and impact of mathematician and science pioneer Ada Lovelace looks great. The biography contains just the kind of moments of triumph I like to read about: Ada overcoming obstacles to get an education and make genius contributions to science. While reading the book, I will consume beverages exclusively out of Bitch's Ada Lovelace mug

a small birdhouse-looking creation with bats painted on it

My Very Own Bat House

Bats get a bad rap. But on a warm night last summer, I saw a backyard lecture about the importance of bats to our ecosystem and their awesomeness in general (bats make up 20 percent of mammal species worldwide! 20 percent!). I would now like to install a bat house in my backyard, to give local bats a nice place to roost while they eat all the summer mosquitos. However, I don't want to build it myself, so it would be great if a friend would follow these DIY bat house instructions and present me with a cozy bat home on Christmas day. (photo from Buildapedia

bat detector

A Bat Detector 

Essential for optimal use of the aforementioned bat house. It makes a cool beeping noise whenever bats fly close by. 

A Geodesic Dome Kit

This thing is $300, but look how much fun these kids are having with it! I hope the kit comes with that Sonic shirt. Since this idea seems impractical, I will accept this “Glass Half Fuller” print as a punny substitute. 

planet earth

All of Planet Earth on DVD

Let's face it, I could watch this forever. I am jealous of people who have never watched the BBC's epic documentary series about nature because they get to see “Caves” and “Shallow Seas” for the first time. 

period table mug

Japanese Periodic Table of the Elements Mug

San Francisco-based Japanese ceramics and kitchenwear company Kotobuki imports adorable stuff (like cat and panda mugs) and this periodic table is no exception. It's beautiful, well-made, and maybe I'll finally memorize the periodic table just by staring at it while I'm at work. I can't for the life of me figure out how to order these online—I saw them at a Portland grocery store where I snapped the blurry photo above—but here's a PDF of the catalogue and maybe you can decipher it. 

The Bletchley Circle 

All year, I've been watching TV shows about hard-hitting women solving crimes. First, I got into Top of the Lake, then the Danish series The Killing. Now, Bitch commenters tell me that there's a British series about WWII mathematicians and codebreakers who use their skills to crack uncrackable cases? Sign me up, please.  

a blue print of a fermsunprint kit

Sunprint Kit

These cool little kits let you make cyanotype-style prints with only air, water, and sunshine. I would buy these for a kid with the noble goal of instilling them with a love of science, then never actually gift it and instead steal it for myself. So, I should have a couple on hand as a backup. 

Read the rest of our gift guides here

by Sarah Mirk
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Sarah Mirk is the former host of Bitch Media’s podcast Popaganda. She’s interested in gender, history, comics, and talking to strangers. You can follow her on Twitter

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13 Comments Have Been Posted

what ever happened to biblio

what ever happened to biblio bitch?

I was so thrilled when I saw

I was so thrilled when I saw the dress at the beginning of the article. This being a feminist publication, I assumed these would be available for all body types. The seller only goes up to a 38-inch waist.

It's really shitty to leave out fat women, especially in a feminist publication. I'm so disappointed.

Good point!

I agree with your comment about how it is disappointing that a feminist organization doesn't include fat people. I know that Bitch has written about fat issues before, but obviously, like so many other people, it is easier to talk than walk the walk. For fat people, we have no choice but to deal with fat issues. For many feminists and people who are interested in equality/social justice fat issues don't show up on their radar. People refuse to see the connections between social justice/feminist ideals and fat oppression. It is a problem with the community and society at large. Some feminist groups, like Bitch, talk about fat when it is convenient, but being inclusive is much more difficult and takes conscious effort. If I had a dollar for every time a social justice/feminist organization sold t-shirts that didn't fit me (for example) I would be a millionaire. Of course, the fatties can always buy a scarf or a mug instead so we can be holding it when they take headless fatty pics of us.

handmade etsy dress

a few comments about the dress and to defend the seller's choice to limit her size range:
1. the dress is handmade. she's not china. she can not accommodate a major designer's range of sizes.
2. since the dress is handmade, you can assume the fabric is available for retail purchase (I doubt she's actually ordering made-to-order fabric). check out moodfabrics or do a google search for novelty fabrics.
3. there are plenty (PLENTY) of sewing patterns available for a variety of sizes. Some similar dress pattern designers include: blue ginger doll (, or any of the big 4 (mccalls, vogue, simplicity, etc.)
4. if you can't sew (or don't have the time), take your fabric and pattern to a tailor--they'll be able to whip it up in no time.

First, considering it's

First, considering it's handmade, I would think it would be easier for her to accommodate different sizes, especially since the orders come in individually. She doesn't have to make 10 XXLs, and then hope they all sell, they're made to order.

Second, I do knit & sew my own clothes, but the implication that I should -have- to do so in order to find clothes to fit is insulting. I like to sew, but it takes time, money, and skill, which is a luxury to develop. I wear a dress shirt to work everyday, if I had to sew 7 shirts just to meet our dress code I would never have time to actually go to work. I also take clothes to a tailor for larger alterations, but if a dress doesn't come in my size in the first place, no amount of althering is going to fix that.

Also, for fellow fats, or anyone who wants clothes made to order (and made fair pay, not in a sweatshop), I highly suggest All their clothes come in 0-36W, and there are alteration options to all of them.

Worst defense upholding fat oppression ever

To Paigesato,
That is probably the most offensive reply about fat oppression I can think of.
Well, you are so fat just make your own clothes? Take it to a taylor? (These remarks are classist and size-ist at the least).

I have to say, the point wasn't that I was even going to buy the dress at $160 anyway, but the other poster did have a valid point in calling out Bitch for being size-ist. We weren't attacking the seller at all by the way. We are merely pointing out that Bitch didn't give two f*cks about fat people when they wrote this article, and that is obvious. Not only is the dress limited in size, but so are the t-shirts. I honestly have not written to the clothing makers to ask them to make my size, because I don't want to, but usually people who make clothes will include all of the sizes they make on their pages.

Seriously, if your answer to fat oppression is to tell people to make their own clothes and/or to go to a taylor, you really don't get it. CLUELESS. If you are at all interested in learning about fat oppression, then by all means feel free to educate yourself, but please know that your retort is completely offensive.

Eh, it's a dress. Doesn't

Eh, it's a dress. Doesn't cater very well to butch or androgynous women either. I can't even tell you how many tops I've tried on and had to put back because the neckline assumes cleavage I don't have. I don't think every product that features in a list like this has to work for everyone, does it? Contact the maker and put in a request, or skip on to next product.

The seller goes up to 2X as a

The seller goes up to 2X as a pre-fab option. Have you asked if she can do bigger, or just jumping to the conclusion that she won't? I've had pretty good luck asking people who make clothes like this to do larger sizes if I send a polite email.

Just wanted to point out that

Just wanted to point out that this shop specifically says that they do custom orders, and you can most likely order this dress in your specific size. That's the beauty of a shop like this, you can speak directly to the designer and see what they can do to work with you. Good luck!

Other Cool Science Nerd Gifts

An acquaintance of mine runs an etsy shop (ScienceBee) where she sells her nerdy wares: Nice idea for anyone who wants to support a small artisan while gifting their science nerd friends.

Bletchley love

So excited to see some love for The Bletchley Circle! I started the series and couldn't stop - wish it kept going.

>Japanese ceramics and

>Japanese ceramics and kitchenwear company Kotobuki makes adorable stuff

I was actually excited, since I live in Japan and usually feel left out of lists like this. But Kotobuki is decidedly American, based in California and, from what I can see, they import from Japan. So, maybe I can find something on Still, you might want to change the label, so you don't get anyone else's hopes up.


I'll change this post to make it clear that they sell Japanese ceramics but are based in San Francisco.

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