Hillary Clinton’s October 18, 2019 tweet asserting that NASA wrote to her personally when she was a little girl to tell her girls aren’t allowed to be astronauts is probably about as true as her claim to have come under sniper fire at a foreign airport1 and her suggestion that Tulsi Gabbard is a “Russian asset.”2 The claim was made in celebration of male-exclusionary space flight.3 As such, it is a good illustration of the illogic of feminist narrative.
Preliminarily, it should be noted that if Clinton was, as she claims, “a little girl” at the time, and if, as she claims, NASA referred to her as “a girl” in their supposed letter to her, then it is very possible they were simply telling her that children can’t be astronauts.
Suppose, though, that NASA had told little-girl Clinton that women are not allowed to be astronauts. At the time, that would have been true. NASA had a discriminatory policy.4 Discriminatory policies were in effect in a lot of places in the 1950s and 1960s. Then and for over a century before then, courts applied a presumption that men are incapable of parenting; they could only be trusted with children for short periods of time.5 The unwritten preference for mothers in family courts that exists today is a remnant of that era.6 At the time Clinton supposedly received her letter from NASA, many schools refused to hire men as early education teachers.7 That, too, was a discriminatory policy.
That both men and women reinforced sex role expectations in the 1950s and 1960s is obvious to anybody who is honest enough to examine primary historical sources with both eyes open. Refusing to acknowledge that reality, though, is a problem with honesty, not logic. The illogic is in the second step of this syllogism:
Men did not have the option of doing X and women did not have the option of doing Y.
→ Therefore, men prevented women from doing Y out of hatred for women.
→ Therefore, retributive justice requires that men be prevented from doing X and Y.
Feminism ignores historical details like the social rule, “Save the women and children first” when a boat is sinking or it is otherwise clear that only some members of a group can be rescued. In fact, feminism ignores all historical facts that tend to show that women occupied a higher place in the public’s estimation of social value than men did. Men worked in dangerous occupations fighting fires or other people (aka combat), mining, and so on, and they did the back-breaking work of building railroads, houses, skyscrapers, dams and so on. They were brought up to believe their worthiness or right to take up space on the planet depended on their ability and willingness to do these things so women wouldn’t have to. Feminists imagine male work as a brilliant green pasture full of millions of men who get to sit around in an air-conditioned office being waited on and bossing people around. For the vast majority of men, that was not even close to reality. It still isn’t.
NASA excluded women from becoming astronauts for the same reason the military excluded women from combat duty and men gave up their seats in lifeboats: To protect women from being injured or killed.8
To say that men tried to protect women because they hated women is clearly illogical. Yet this is exactly what every woman who has been exposed to feminist teaching has been programmed to believe. Why? Because without that false narrative, retaliatory “reverse discrimination” against men would not be just. It would just be another exercise of traditional female privilege. “Forward” discrimination.
Logical responses to unwanted protection would include things like saying, “No thanks, I don’t need any special protection,” and/or demonstrating through actions that it isn’t needed. It is not logical to tell someone who has been trying to protect you, “Screw you; you deserve to be excluded from everything and women need to band together to destroy you now.” But that is where we are.
- Greenberg, Jon and Angie Holan, “Trump right that Clinton made up story about Bosnia sniper fire, “ Politifact (June 22, 2016)
- Merica, Dan, “Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are ‘grooming’ Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run,” CNN.com (October 19, 2019).
- See, e.g., MSN,com, (October 20, 2019).
- Sylvester, Roshanna, “John Glenn and the Sexism of the Early Space Program, “ Smithsonian.com (December 14, 2016). NASA required all candidates to have graduated from jet pilot testing programs in the military. Since the military didn’t allow women to be test pilots, only men could become astronauts.
- See generally, James, Tom, The History of Custody Law (2014).
- See Browne, K,, Divided Labours: An evolutionary view of women at work (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998) (describing the historically prevailing attitude that men are naturally unfit to take on child caring and nurturing roles.) Even now, 97.6% of kindergarten teachers are female. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018), http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.pdf
- Modern accounts of the history of space flight uncritically jump to the conclusion that the exclusion of women was purely out of misogynistic prejudice. There seems to be no interest in exploring the real reasons. cf. Berger, Eric, “Netflix film examines why NASA shunned women astronauts in early days, ars technica (April 20, 2018) (“I do not dispute the film’s conclusion that the men running the US government and NASA preferred to keep US spaceflight a ‘boys’ club.’ But some of these men are still alive today, and it would have rounded out the film to get their perspective.”)