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The Thinking Housewife tries to tarnish the legacy of Sally Ride with a surreally homophobic eulogy

Sally Ride and her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy

Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, died last week, as most of you no doubt know.  On The Thinking Housewife, Laura Wood uses the occasion as an opportunity to bash lesbians, feminism, and Ride herself. Wood begins her most unusual eulogy by quoting Gloria Steinem, who once said of Ride:

“Millions of little girls are going to sit by their television sets and see they can be astronauts, heroes, explorers and scientists.”

Wood scoffs at the very notion, suggesting that

Steinem’s real point, in keeping with her intense dislike of women, was that women should want to be astronauts and there was something wrong with them if they didn’t.

So we’re off to a great start here. Wood then offers this patronizing assessment of Ride’s life – which nonetheless turns out to be the nicest thing she says about the legendary astronaut.

Ride, who had a warm, radiant smile and is said to have served ably in her two missions in space, died Monday at the age of 61.

After this bit of faint praise, Wood moves on to her main point: Ride was lesbian, and therefore a terrible person, so she’ll quickly be forgotten.

For all the fanfare that once surrounded it, Ride’s story will likely fade into history and her life ultimately inspire very few girls. This will be so not only because women do not excel at space science or the physical demands of space travel as men do but also because, as Ride’s obituary proved, she did not lead a full life. Ride was in a lesbian relationship with a childhood friend for 27 years.

Yep, apparently lesbians don’t live “full lives,” whatever that means. Are women only living “full lives” if they are filled up on at least a semi-regular basis with their husband’s penis?

Wood continues:

To her credit, Ride did not make her lesbianism public and was private about her personal life in general. Her sister and the woman with whom she had a relationship, Tam O’Shaughnessy, have released the information to the world and now Ride has the double distinction of being both the first woman and the first lesbian in space. O’Shaughnessy was Ride’s friend since the age of 12. Ride was briefly married to another astronaut, but they were divorced. So while Ride accomplished much in her career, thanks in part to the spirit of affirmative action, she seems to have never fully emerged from childhood.

Huh? Are lesbians inherently childish, or is Ride supposed to have been a perpetual “child” because she married her childhood friend?

Then Wood says one of the strangest things I’ve ever heard:

The only good reason for a normal woman to go through the grueling rigors of becoming an astronaut is that NASA is a great place to meet men. 

Sorry, but I’ve got to pull out the Don Draper gif again: What?

 

Wood elaborates:

Ride’s life, however, does not even offer that slim hope to little girls, that wonderful compensation for dreary days in a control cabin. Ride flew into space but never experienced other thrills that are as great or far greater. She never gave a man such necessary and life-sustaining love that he was able to do great things, such as fly into space.

So apparently the real, true purpose of becoming a female astronaut isn’t to fly into space, but to inspire the dude you’ve married to fly into space?

She never looked up at the stars with her own children and encouraged their wonder. She did not pass on her love of space to a son or daughter or grandchild.

I guess inspiring girls around the world doesn’t count? (And I can only imagine that the thought of Ride now inspiring gay children strikes Wood with dread.)

Though she performed capably in her public position as a Role Model of the Century, Sally Ride’s example will likely be the exact opposite of what NASA and Gloria Steinem predicted. She will serve as a reminder of at least some of the very good reasons why women don’t want to be astronauts.

Because becoming an astronaut might make them lesbian?

The vast majority of women would sooner love an astronaut than be one. And given that most men are destined to perform inglorious jobs for most of their lives, women will come to see that the dream of conquering space rightly belongs to men.

A lot of men do crap jobs, so therefore only men should be astronauts? I can’t even pretend to understand the logic here.

Here’s Ride’s web site, and her official obituary.

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Freitag
Freitag
8 years ago

Completely OT; I apologize, but on AlterNet they’re discussing the serial rapist on Reddit from a couple of days ago.

http://www.alternet.org/inside-mind-serial-rapist

howardbann1ster
howardbann1ster
8 years ago

@HD: um, yeah, those are pretty much almost verbatim things people I have love have said out loud in a serious way.

If it’s meant as satire, then it’s not very good. Satire should be more scathing and should expose the ideas being shown, should show what underlies them. This? If it’s not real it’s a pretty convincing copy.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“Is NWO arguing that women don’t tend to be shorter than men?”

No, he’s saying that women being shorter than men is ANTI-MALE OPPRESSION. We refuse to grow out of spite.

I am tall, actually. But if I didn’t hate men I’d be taller. Like, seven feet tall.

Yep, I refuse to be tall enough to reach the top shelf out of spite, that’s it, I’m sure! Idk about 7′ but 5’6″ might be a decent start.

Shouldn’t he be ranting about how tall people are oppressed though? Isn’t like there aren’t short men (averages, NWO hates them, what, with them being a math type concept and all).

Kyrie
Kyrie
8 years ago

Is this great woman had been straight, married (to a man) and with children, would it have been a bad example, since she would have been an example for other women and apparently space should be boys-only?

What if she had been straight with children, but they hated space and stars and became accountant, pop singer or cook?
What if she had adopted four children and given to all of them a desire to go to space or study stars?
Would her life had been fulfilled then? Does the Housewife think than men who go in space and die without children are also worthless people?

aworldanonymous
8 years ago

@Freitag

That was a very interesting read, thank you for linking.

Amused
8 years ago

Although I ordinarily try to avoid this reaction, the only thing that kept going through my mind as I read Thinking Housewife’s rant about Sally Ride was “Ur just jealous”. And in fact, whenever I happen to read one of TH’s screeds about how educated, brilliant, accomplished women supposedly live worthless lives, I get the distinct impression that TH isn’t merely patriarchal, or deluded, or even hateful, but actually jealous, big time. Godforbid anyone will think she isn’t the pinnacle of womanly achievement by virtue of limiting herself to reproduction and domestic services.

And speaking of inglorious jobs — as someone who grew up in a fairly patriarchal environment, few things are more inglorious than constantly scrubbing those bathrooms befouled by people who don’t care where their piss flies because they are above such concerns; or dragging home half your weight in canned peas, on three crowded trains; and having this thankless, unpaid job with no breaks, weekends or vacations, while everyone pretends that you aren’t actually working. Meanwhile your husband, who supposedly heroically performs an “inglorious” job, plows through daily three-martini lunches and six-martini dinners, and never carries anything heavier than car keys, and puts his feet up when he’s at home (because HE is entitled to his rest, unlike you), then bitches to his buddies about how much you’ve aged (sometimes in your presence). Talk about “inglorious”. Between that and spinsterhood on a space station, I’ll take the latter without batting an eye.

Viscaria
Viscaria
8 years ago

@Pam:

Yeah, she’s all about women attending college/university solely to obtain their “MRS degree”.

Thing is, that’s something a person might actually do. I mean, you could go to University and get a degree that interests you, even if you have no intention of using it to get a job, and you might meet a spouse in the process. Or you might do what my mom’s friend did and take a degree in home economics, and learn a lot of really valuable skills for homemaking — how to budget effectively, how to repair clothes yourself instead of paying someone else to do it, that sort of thing. But nobody is going to go through all of the trouble of getting into the space program unless they actually want to go to space.

Monsieur sans Nom
Monsieur sans Nom
8 years ago

I’d love to hear what Laura Hood has(or had) to say about Valentina Tereshkova…..Now there’s a real space hero(ine)! Capitalism just doesn’t seem to be very good at keeping manned space flight a continuing enterprise now, does it?

pecunium
8 years ago

the twisted spinster: The, “dislike of women” trope is based on really strong gender essentialism.

1: Women (and men) are hardwired to like/do certain things. They find fulfillment in them, and are incomplete as human beings without them.

2: Some people deny this.

3: Ergo they hate women (or men).

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Are we doing logic? Because premise 1 is false, and an example of Spot That Fallacy!!

Fallacy of division – assuming that something true of a thing must also be true of all or some of its parts

(Please tell me I got division vs composition right this time, I mucked that up earlier)

pecunium idk how you feel about playing devil’s advocate, please ignore me if it isn’t your cup of tea.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

@ Amused

Yeah, what I’m getting from Hood is “I’m trying really hard not to regret the choices I’ve made, and fuck you for making me think about this, Sally Ride”. Reading her stuff is just depressing. I mean, I’m terribly sorry that trying to contort yourself in such a way that you can almost kind of fit into the role that your religion has laid out for you* has broken your spirit and left you with such low self-esteem that you can’t even imagine wanting more out of life any more, but that’s no reason to go around pissing in the Wheaties of the recently deceased.

*Or so she thinks. Given how many other Christians have a different interpretation I’m going to go ahead and say that she may be wrong about what Jesus wants.

OSHIII
OSHIII
8 years ago

Screw this horrible person. It make me sick to see Ride’s contributions discounted, especially after all that American women had to go through just to get NASA to (finally) send them into space.

And women make fine astronauts. They match men in capability, and even surpass them in some aspects of what is required to be an astronaut.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/07/the-women-who-would-have-been-sally-ride/260246/

scarlettpipistrelle
8 years ago

The comment section over on the Spearhead is also especially over-ripe. http://www.the-spearhead.com/2012/07/29/sally-ride-obit/

scarlettpipistrelle
8 years ago

I’m really wondering, do the MRAs have ANY idea how affirmative action works? It’s like they think we have 10 qualified guys, but we need to have a woman, so they go out and pick any woman regardless of her qualifications. And, she doesn’t have to do anything on the team. They really seem to think that.

pecunium
8 years ago

Argenti: I don’t think I’m committing that fallacy. I am arguing that TH, and those who have like views, share that sense of extreme gender essentialism, and that from that level of it they assume those who don’t share it hate women.

It’s a case of extremely limiting blinders, and confirmation bias.

belledame222
belledame222
8 years ago

Wow. I had Sally Ride for an undergrad teacher once. (yes, another overedjumacated woman who isn’t “fulfilled” here).

Totally. She was an astronaut and had a loving partner of 27 years, but she wasn’t a Thinking Housewife! Too bad she missed out on meeting all those great NASA men. o.O.

If thingie here did go into NASA to meet men, I have a feeling she would’ve ended up more like this.

Monsieur sans Nom
Monsieur sans Nom
8 years ago

I favor affirmative action in employment rather than education. Academics should have a uniform standard that applies to everyone regardless of who they are, what group they belong to, and what their background is. That’s how it’s done in most continental european countries and AFAIC that’s how it should be done here. But people need jobs even more than they need education in this country. Since we have a capitalist economy, people need an income to pay for the necessities of life. Affirmative action in employment unfortunately is not available for a lot of minority groups, notably aspies and other people with mental illnesses(85% of people on the autistic spectrum are unemployed FYI). This is why so many black americans are unemployed: They lack the social connections to talk people into hiring them. There is a very thick glass ceiling for people in low paying and especially minimum wage jobs.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

pecunium — I wasn’t saying you were committing a fallacy so much as this premise —

1: Women (and men) are hardwired to like/do certain things. They find fulfillment in them, and are incomplete as human beings without them.

Was committing the fallacy of assuming everyone wants what they want, because how you can think everyone wants the same thing, and then get all pissy that some people say they don’t…hurts me head. (Yeah, it’s definitely a confirmation bias problem, just seems like a confirmation bias problem and a fallacy rolled into one)

pecunium
8 years ago

Ah… I see, you were declaiming their fallacy. Yes, I see it now. Sorry to misunderstand you.

And yes, it’s a fallacy, which is exacerbated by confirmation bias. Every person they think is unhappy, and isn’t doing what they think such a person ought to do “proves” the case. Those who aren’t unhappy have yet to discover that they are like that, and will later.

So it’s also got some begging the question.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

pecunium — glad we’re on the same page again, no big deal about the misunderstanding 🙂

And agreed on the begging the question part (with note that “begging the question” might be the most misused phrase in English, so you get the Spot That Fallacy!! 2x multipler for using it properly)

Ok brain, I’m fully aware it’s too damned hot, but “hurts me head”? Seriously?

pecunium
8 years ago

I think this is the right thread:

The fifties were such an oddity. If you look at the films of the 30s, you see women in independent roles; with professions (across the spectrum). Then came the war, and the dislocations of the total mobilisation of the society to cope with it (in the US this was completely new; in the UK a bit less so, because of WW1).

The desire to, “return to normalcy”, and the Red Scare combined to make “Suzy Homemaker” an ideal she hadn’t been before that.

With the rise of TV, and TV playing up that ideal (and movies being even worse) the sense that “it was always like this” was, in a really short period of time, entrenched in the popular memo

pecunium
8 years ago

Argenti I’ve lost track of how many times I have been awarded some portion of an internet for being correct in the usage of same (jezebel had someone praising my use/definition pair).

Yes, it’s probably about as misused at Ad hom in false assertions of fallacy, but the other misuses outnumber it.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“Yes, it’s probably about as misused at Ad hom in false assertions of fallacy, but the other misuses outnumber it.”

Discussing just fallacies, yeah, ad hominem could “win” that one; I had meant in general though.

And I think you mean that if you had a dollar for every internet you’d been given, you’d actually own the internet by now 🙂

pecunium
8 years ago

No. I think actual awards of internets is about half a dozen. I run with crowds which are hard to impress.

But do have a RASFF Award, and a knighthood out of the deal too.

Not bad for various honors.

MrsBennet
MrsBennet
8 years ago

..considering that the Venus of Willendorf as a hip to waist ratio of .7….yeah. google it.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

MrsBennet — you’re on the wrong thread. Also, you’re just wrong in general on that one. Looks like the Venus of Willendorf measures at 1.16 (see table 1)

pecunium — ah, oops! And having been granted entry into your royal assassins, I must biasedly say that I think the knighthood might be the greatest honor there (assuming that was what you meant that is)

MrsBennet
MrsBennet
8 years ago

My apologies on both accounts. I typed in hip to waist ratio, which for it all backwards. I acknowledge my fail.

MrsBennet
MrsBennet
8 years ago

***got.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

@ Argenti

That paper you linked to is kind of hilarious, given that the basic assumption is “modern people don’t find these bodies beautiful, therefore they probably weren’t meant to represent beauty”.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Cassandra — yeah I noticed that it was also a textbook example of ev-psych failing to make logical sense (I was really just looking for the Venus of Willendorf’s wait-to-hip ratio without having to dig for it, got lucky and found a whole series of Venuses and their WtH)

Venuses? That should really be Venii, but why the fuck is Venus a 2nd declension noun?? Oh, it’s feminine 3rd declension (have I mentioned that 3rd declension nouns are weird?) That’d make the plural Veneres…I think I’ll stick with Venuses.

(Goodness I do love derailing into Latin grammar don’t I?)

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Venii sounds right to me, actually. The, um, science on display in that paper not so much.

Hint to anyone reading – this is a great example of why actual scientists laugh at evo-psych. Assumptions have no place in scientific analysis – if you catch yourself looking at an unfamiliar and unexplained piece of data and going “well, probably…” or “I assume”, any conclusions you draw based on that aren’t going to mean much.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Cassandra — yeah the actual science of that paper was pretty hilarious, they went from “people today view these archeological finds as … ” to “and thus this proves people thousands of years ago thought … ” and no, just no. Science does not work like that.

The -us / -ii ending is second declension, and 2nd declension nouns are either masculine or neuter, hence why I had to check that. Venii doesn’t sound particularly wrong, but the idea of it as a masculine noun was all kinds of wrong. But it’s 3rd declension apparently, that pesky declension that always confuses me, and thus the plural would be Veneres. Venuses sounds less wrong than that (and honestly, I’m not sure Latin would’ve really used the plural).

And actually, if you write a scientific paper and use the first person? Back to undergrad with you!

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

I’m struggling to imagine how someone could submit a paper stating that they were going to assume that X was true about how people perceived things thousands of years ago because it’s true now and not get it handed back to them with NO written across it in red pen even as an undergrad.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

That’s a really good question, particularly since that probably isn’t an undergrad paper (those don’t generally get published). My only guess is that it wasn’t flat rejected because whether those are even Venuses is a Big Question — guessing that they must be is really no better than guessing that they aren’t, but that’s still no excuse for using “because people now think” as logic for why they weren’t attractive when they were made.

And art wise, the narrower you try to make something, the more likely it is to just shatter — might be irrelevant, but I get annoyed when art theories fail to account for art methods.

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

My personal hunch about the Venus figurines is that they’re probably more religious artifacts than ancient porn, but I acknowledge that assuming that your hunch must be correct leads to assdata, so a hunch is all it is. Also I’m curious why there’s at least one there that really clearly does not date from a period even close to the rest of them.

But yeah, that paper has to have come from at least a grad student, which is sad. Then again, do you expect academic rigor from evopsych?

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Cassandra — if you mean the Roman looking one, that’s their modern “control” (some control, I know).

“Then again, do you expect academic rigor from evopsych?”

Yes, the lack of it is why I will taunt them until they get some, they did the same psych undergrad courses I did, they know better.

And as for taunting, it’s time for silliness I think —

http://youtu.be/9V7zbWNznbs

CassandraSays
CassandraSays
8 years ago

Their control is one Roman-style statuette? LOL.

scrapemind
8 years ago

The plural of second-declension -us is -i not -ii. In e.g. radii the first i is part of the root.

It’s obvious that the Venus of Willendorf was made by horny cavemen with body inflation fetish. The only reason it isn’t widely recognized is that most people haven’t been to deviantART to learn that the fetish exists.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

“The plural of second-declension -us is -i not -ii. In e.g. radii the first i is part of the root.”

It should be radiii in some sense, since English lacks a long i — I tend to use -ii as -ī. But technically, yes, -us -> -ī. Venus is 3rd though. I’d be all for adopting the long i in English, but as it stands, that’s Not A Thing.

Thanks for playing on the Venus of Willendorf, didn’t Cassandra and I make it clear that guessing is, well, just a guess?

scrapemind
8 years ago

I was so eager to correct you on the -ii thing, seen in such pseudo-learned forms as *virii and *penii, that I misunderstood that you were transcribing a long vowel. Are you allowed to do that with Latin, though? The Internet will probably be disappointed to learn this, but Latin is not Japanese.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
8 years ago

Am I allowed to do what? It’s a long i in Latin, idk if using the Latin spelling is valid English or not, but it’s valid Latin. Or you mean the -ii? Idk, I picked it up from Japanese XD

pecunium
8 years ago

scrapemind: It’s obvious that the Venus of Willendorf was made by horny cavemen with body inflation fetish.

Yes, dear. Now please be quiet, the grownups are trying to have a conversation.

To be less flip, internet diagnoses are fruitless, but to make a statement about the intent of the maker of an object for which we have zero cultural context for is silly to the point of stupid.

It’s like finding a pot with salmon bones in it, well inland, and saying, “they ate fish on Tuesdays as a ritual observance of the rising waters of the Black Sea pushing them out of their ancestral valley homeland”.

Sharculese
8 years ago

pretty sure scrapemind was being sarcastic there, dude

pecunium
8 years ago

Ah… sorry. The problem is, of course, that it’s hard to tell when someone is being over the top; poes being what they are.

If so, I apologise.

Blue Jean
Blue Jean
8 years ago

Nonthinking Housewife reminds me of the poet scrap by an anonymous old feminist;

“Breathes there a woman/ with soul so dead/ she actually enjoys/ cleaning the head.”*

*”in other words, the “bathroom” for the US/ the “water closet” for the UK.”

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