Sunday, November 04, 2007

Female Pioneers in Space

Scholars, I'm happy about this sort of thing, of course. As noted last time, Commander Melroy (still in space as we speak) is the second Feminine American to command the space shuttle, and it's a nice coincidence that she's meeting another of her gender commanding the International Space Station. But I'm a bit troubled by this kind of coverage.

"Melroy and Whitson are showing it doesn't matter whether someone is male or female," according to Eileen Collins, the first woman to command the Space Shuttle. And that's true. Yet we have a contradiction here because this kind of coverage--the inspiring of the Girl Scouts and so on--insists that it does matter. Otherwise why cover it as such?

I've written about this contradiction before with respect to the first woman to play professional baseball, and I still don't really have my story straight: It bothers me that these women's accomplishments get filed under Women's Accomplishments rather than under Accomplishments, yet I get choked up when little Girl Scouts are inspired to become daredevil pilots by seeing big girl pilots.


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