Once upon a time, America’s legacy of being first to the moon was something to be a celebrated. No more. On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we’re now told that the only real reason to even discuss the NASA missions is in the context of the abject sexism that spoiled the space program. What good is it for the U.S. to go to the moon, exploring new frontiers in space and science, if the only people who went were disgusting WHITE MALES?
This was more or less the point of a New York Times essay published Wednesday, in which we are told that “The Apollo program was designed by men, for men. If we do not acknowledge the gender bias of the early space program, it becomes difficult to move past it.”
To which we say: If gender is just a social construct, were these astronauts really “men” once they left Earth’s atmosphere? In space, no one can hear you use improper pronouns.
That may seem like a ridiculous thing to say, but it’s not half as ridiculous as the things Mary Robinette Kowal says in the essay.
Take, for instance, her screed against modern spacesuits: “Men sweat more than comparably fit women, and the areas where they sweat the most occur in different parts of the body. In other words, when it comes to temperature-controlling garments, the needs are different for men and women. We are already aware of this in relation to office temperatures. Temperatures are set for men, which leaves women carrying sweaters to work.”
Ah, sexism: From the office to the moon, is there no sanctity from your wicked ways?
Okay, the spacesuit sweat problem doesn’t inspire you to descend on Kennedy Space Center with a pussyhat and a protest sign. Well, what about this?
“Without conscious thought, the design of the ship and the lunar platform for the Artemis missions is likely to reproduce design choices made in the Apollo era when astronauts were all men,” she warns. “Ladder rungs are set at the optimum distance for the average man. The pistol-grip tool, or cordless drill, is sized for a man’s hand. The distance from the seats to the control panels in SpaceX’s Dragon Crew capsule is being tested and optimized for an all-male crew.”
Cry us a moon river.
Must ultra-feminists conspire to ruin absolutely everything, from soccer to space travel? Maybe we should take pains to see that our new ships are designed for women. And then we should invite every multicolored-hair-six-worthless-degrees-in-gender-studies-rabid-feminist onboard, temperature-controlled space suit and all. Go to the moon, ye brave travelers.
And don’t come back.