The world’s media were abuzz celebrating 50 years since the US put the first men on the moon. Which begs some questions as yet unspoken. In the days of #METOO and after decades of struggling for equal rights for women, where is the public uproar over the fact that, so far as we know, no woman has yet set foot on the moon?
Not only has there not yet been a woman on the moon, nor has there been a meaningful space race since 1969. The US wrapped up that competition a half-century ago, defeating its arch-enemy the USSR with picture-perfect footage and presentation of the Apollo 11 moon mission. In doing so, it only just succeeded in proving right John F Kennedy’s famous proclamation that America would have the first man on the moon before the end of the decade. Beating the Russians to the moon may have done something to put the earlier Sputnik shocks in the shade, but even now, a half-century later, the story of moon landings remains one only about white males.
Maybe the whole thing not only showcases that we are moonstruck but also demonstrates an archetypal phenomenon. Is decades-long US policy as illustrated by its National Aeronautics and Space Administration and other decision-makers to put the first man on the moon in rivalry with its nemesis the USSR racist or sexist, in other words misogynist? Is NASA’s claim to be the only organization to succeed in putting “manned” missions on the moon a perfect representation of the pinnacle of white male hegemony and supremacy?
The struggle to get to the moon might be a perfect representation of man-made inequality, reflecting back at us our state of the union, the state of our world, inequality highlighted in a showcase. But even if we see it, do we learn from it?
The fact that the subject generates no discourse, that there is no great public outcry, not even in these supposedly more gender-enlightened times, shows the hegemony of the white male, and perhaps tells us volumes about ourselves and how we think and form our convictions. What does it say about humankind in general, or in particular those of us in the so-called developed countries?
Perhaps the US as leaders of “mankind,” despite its many races and genders, only really wanted to prove to itself and the world its ability to have men on the moon first. White males. Thereby denying women the opportunity to take pride in even a single woman reaching the moon’s surface.
Why was there never a woman on the moon? Why was there never a global obsession with seeing the first woman on the moon? What does this say about us all?