An article titled Sexism in Space gives us a pretty good indication of whether or not gender roles in society will translate to the gender interaction that will take place in the cramped quarters of a spacecraft barreling through the unforgiving environment of outer space. The answer is decidedly yes and begs the question of whether or not gender segregation is the solution, if this article is any indication. It reads as follows:
What happens when men and women live together in close proximity and under intense conditions for long stretches of time—like, say, in space? On December 3, 1999, Judith Lapierre, a 32-year-old Canadian health sciences specialist and astronaut candidate, arrived in Moscow to help find out. On the outskirts of the city, researchers from Russian and international space programs had set up the Simulation of Flight of International Crew on Space Station mission, or Sphinx-99: A 60s era three-room chamber mocked up to feel like a spacecraft on a trip to Mars. It was halfway through the experiment, and Lapierre was joining two other prospective astronauts, one from Japan and one from Austria, who planned to spend 110 days in the module, alongside four Russian men who had already been inside for six months. She was the only woman.
Things were fine until December 31—less than one month after Lapierre and her Japanese and Austrian counterparts had arrived at the simulation—when the inhabitants held a small New Year’s Eve party. Celebrated in typical Russian fashion with a number of shots of vodka—there were reportedly many bottles of vodka and cognac involved, per local custom—the revelry was interrupted when the Russian mission commander, Vasily Lukyanyuk, approached Lapierre and suggested a make-out session.
“We should try kissing, I haven’t been smoking for six months,” he told her. “Then we can kiss after the mission and compare it. Let’s do the experiment now.” Lukyanyuk then attempted to yank her out of the line of sight of the two cameras that kept a constant surveillance on the crew and its activities. He aggressively kissed and manhandled her twice, even as she protested loudly.
This was following a 10 minute brawl which had occurred earlier in the evening, drawing blood from the commander and one of his compatriots. Lapierre would later say it seemed to be the result of both men gunning for her sexual attention. Following the brawl and sexual assault, Lapierre reached out to the Canadian Space Agency for help.
It is an understatement that in cases like this, gender segregation in the workplace is an absolute must. The dangers of space travel are such that we cannot afford to indulge myths about gender equality while living in a tiny metal capsule flying about at 17,000 mph. There is no room for a gender pay gap debate in space, there is no room to for whining about women’s issues in space, period.
That said, it is appropriate to maintain basic respect for your fellow astronauts, and yes if this woman was forced to kiss one of these men that is wrong. It should not happen. The problem is — there isn’t much one can do to make it stop when you’re hurtling around earths orbit or worse yet traversing deep space. In University Co-ed schools we segregate men and women’s sleeping quarters. They can visit each other of course, and get into all sorts of trouble with each other in the process but simply providing a degree of separation between genders in an educational facility helps to mitigate this behavior.
As the stakes rise, the need for de facto segregation by gender increases exponentially. A college campus requires less gender segregation than, say, any branch of the armed forces. I’m all for women serving in the United states military, so long as they are doing so in female only units. Once you put men and women together in the chaos of a battlefield, men will whiteknight themselves out of unit cohesion so fast it’ll make your head spin. Women of course will expect the men to do most of the work when the going get’s tough. The entire thing will be a disaster. These stakes rise even higher in a spaceship worth billions of dollars where the job is to survive, and to research. The article continues.
To her surprise, the Canadians were less than enthusiastic in their response. Lapierre was told that such behavior was normal for Russians and that it would be considered taboo within the culture of the host country to complain publicly. Her Japanese counterpart quit in disgust, but Lapierre chose to stay. After ten days of repeatedly requesting assistance from “mission control” to provide more safety inside the simulation, the leaders of the study finally agreed to install locks on the tubular crawl spaces connecting the Russian Mir module and the International Mars module. By this point, Lapierre and her international colleagues had already hidden all the knives in the station.
“I expected to be in better hands,” she would later say. “But I’m doubting today what kinds of psychological support [the Russians] are giving to cosmonauts, if they are giving any, because I didn’t get any from them.”
Right, install a special lock system just for the womenz on board just in case the male astronauts turn into rape monsters and stab them to death or some shit. Brilliant, and certainly not prohibitive in terms of expense, and it’s definitely not going to be a problem to add unnecessary components to a spacecraft (adding weight to the cargo load in the process) for the comfort of a single member with special lady parts.
Instead of enforcing a policy of gender segregation wherever possible, as well as selecting women with the social skills to handle unwanted male advances occurring two hundred kilometers above the earths surface, lets instead decide to make a celestial coven for the females on board that they can lock the other members out of. Great idea.
In a closed environment, a feminist approach, “the approach of being a partner… that I am equal, I can do what you do”—that doesn’t work, Gushin said. “The expectations of mens crew for a woman arriving is different. They want to help her, they want to be knights for her that save her, they could be even children from her. But they don’t need one more equal partner.”
In space, mission crews will not have recourse to their terrestrial mission control when problems like Lapierre’s arise, which can be especially troubling when these instances of sexual violence or harassment are carried out by the leader of the mission, as happened in Lapierre’s case.
“Here on Earth we’ve seen violence against women within the NFL and the Armed Services receiving much needed attention,” said Dr. Marjorie Jenkins, a reproductive scientist Texas Tech University, who has advised NASA on sex and gender issues. Increasingly, space is an important venue for these discussions too, she said.
Oh boy, and now we’ve gone full SJW. Again, gender separation is the only option here as far as I’m concerned. If possible implement full occupational segregation by gender, no men on the same mission as women and vice versa. This will not completely eliminate these kinds of problems but it will drastically reduce them. No matter how much feminists wish to pretend otherwise, men and women act differently amongst each other than when they are in single sex groupings. We are designed to want to have sex with each other, this desire will only be heightened by the crushing loneliness one experiences in the void of space. If you need any proof as to the accuracy of this, the article then mentions the case of Lisa Nowak:
Structure seems to be generally lacking, however. In 2007, astronaut Lisa Nowak drove over 900 miles (allegedly wearing space diapers for the duration of the trip, precluding the need for rest stops) with plans to kidnap US Air Force Captain Colleen Shipman, who she believed to be a rival for the affections of fellow astronaut Bill Oefelein. Following Nowak’s arrest for attempted kidnapping, NASA instituted an Astronaut Code of Conduct for the first time in 2008, instructing astronauts on proper behavior related to work relationships, both in space and on Earth.
Despite a specific clause in the Code of Conduct pertaining to maintaining “professional standards in relationships [with NASA co-workers] in both work and social environments,” these relationships can still become difficult for a variety of reasons.
Imagine if this women had been allowed on a critical space mission, perhaps a return to the moon to set up a permanent base, or worse… the first manned mission to mars. How likely would it have been that this lovestruck psycho would put her other crew-mates in mortal jeopardy somehow? very. Gender roles in society do not disappear in the void of space, in fact they only become more pronounced. Add to this the fact that most male astronauts are high testosterone, highly capable and competent alpha males as the article attests:
One factor that’s contributed to strained social dynamics between astronauts is the cultural image of the astronaut and the machismo attitude that swirls around it. Astronauts, particularly males, have known that their job description—not unlike that of the test pilots that paved the way to space, or fighter pilots—affords them a certain desirability among the opposite sex, something which can lead to an arrogance in sexual matters.
In his memoir Riding Rockets, former NASA astronaut Mike Mullane recalls that “there was an even more powerful pheromone than jet-jockey wings: the title ‘astronaut.’ We males found ourselves surrounded by quivering cupcakes. Some were blatantly on the make, wearing spray-on clothes revealing high-beam nipples and smiles that screamed, ‘take me.’”
And it wouldn’t be long before women mixing with these chaps in outer-space are tripping over themselves for what they perceive to be a bunch of super-men who the entire human species has entrusted with the command of manned space flight…their highest achievement. The article continues.
The sort of attitudes described by Mullane can, and often do, end up in space. One example: When Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya—the second woman in space—arrived at Mir in 1982, she was greeted with a floral apron as a welcome present, and mocking words implying that her place on the station would be in the kitchen.
Despite the callousness of her fellow cosmonauts, Savitskaya quickly made it clear immediately that she wasn’t going to take any shit, and managed to establish a professional relationship with her four male counterparts for the duration of her weeklong stay at Salyut-7.
These women, along with gender segregation are the types of women, if any at all, that should be allowed to work together with men. Not some flimsy feminist perma-whiner that doesn’t know how to navigate socially awkward moments in zero gravity. The rest of the article gets even worse so i’m going to stop here.