Comments on: Astronautrix, astronette, feminaut, space girl… /2013/06/17/astronautrix-astronette-feminaut-space-girl/ A feminist pop culture adventure Mon, 29 Jan 2018 02:51:20 +0000 hourly 1 By: Jon /2013/06/17/astronautrix-astronette-feminaut-space-girl/#comment-490225 Mon, 29 Jan 2018 02:51:20 +0000 There is a lot of misrepresentation round the “Mercury 13”.

This was never an official NASA selection program, it was a private project by William Lovelace II who ran the Lovelace clinic which assessed the physical and mental fitness of the Mercury astronauts. he had a long history in advancing women in aviation until his untimely death in 1965 in a plane crash.

Secondly there were 13 candidates who passed the phase I medical test program hence the term “Mercury 13”. Three went on to complete phase II testing which was psychological. Only one (Cobb) completed the final phase III trial which included flying jets. The others were scheduled to continue their testing but were unable to do so because US Navy denied use of the testing facility for undisclosed reasons (the three who had completed phase II testing had done so at an air force facility.

Because this was not an official program not of these people had the slightest chance of flying as astronauts. Furthermore none met the requirements of being serving military test pilots. This requirement was not waived until astronaut group 4. This group was accidently selected in 1965, after the passing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, making discrimination on the grounds of gender illegal.

The first women astronauts were the six selected as part of astronaut group 8 (1978), all payload specialists. Of course now there are many highly competent women combat pilots in the US, some with test pilot experience, such as C. These would have no trouble meeting the original requirements. the first woman pilot astronaut Collins) was selected is part of group 13 in 1990. She flew four times, as both polit and commander of the shuttle.

One of the ironies of the whole story is that some of the strongest opposition to women astronauts came from the leading aviator Jacqueline Cochran who, after initial support, turned against. She later changed her position again to support of women astronauts.

By: Alyson /2013/06/17/astronautrix-astronette-feminaut-space-girl/#comment-41380 Mon, 17 Jun 2013 17:26:34 +0000 The Mercury 13 were awesome and it’s a real shame that history hasn’t given them more recognition. I hadn’t even heard of them until last year, and only because they turned up in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s ‘Captain Marvel’ – I was so happy to discover that they were real, but also kind of ashamed that I’d never heard of them before.

By: Pet Jeffery /2013/06/17/astronautrix-astronette-feminaut-space-girl/#comment-41298 Mon, 17 Jun 2013 09:55:14 +0000 In reply to Pet Jeffery.

I see, after posting it, that my comment assumes that becoming a pilot is a step towards becoming an astronaut. In considering the fact that the USSR was twenty years ahead of the USA in putting a woman into space, it may be worthwhile to place Valentina Tereshkova in this context (for example):

It took me ages to find that dimly-remembered old Bad Rep post. I hope it’s sufficiently relevant to be worth the effort.

By: Pet Jeffery /2013/06/17/astronautrix-astronette-feminaut-space-girl/#comment-41295 Mon, 17 Jun 2013 09:33:30 +0000 “A woman’s place is in the cockpit” reminded me of Kitty Hawke.

When the comic ‘Girl’ was launched in 1951, the front page was given over to “Kitty Hawke and her all-girl air crew”. (‘Girl’ was Britain’s second comic marketed specifically to girls, the first was ‘School Friend’.) It’s a shame that Kitty Hawke was soon relegated to a black and white inside page, and then dropped altogether. She might have formed a useful role model for girls aspiring toward space exploration, or at least toward escaping stereotypical gender roles. See here:

It would be interesting to know the story behind Kitty Hawke’s downgrading and vanishment. It says on Wikipedia that: “The strip was not very popular – it was apparently felt to be too masculine…” but there is no citation to confirm this. Not everything stated on Wikipedia is true, nor is every justification given by publishers to be relied upon. It says in ‘The History of Girls’ Comics’ by Susan Brewer (p114): “the fiesty Kitty was eventually replaced, as the war was becoming old-hat amongst the modern misses of the 1950s.” This explanation, at least, is demonstrable nonsense. Kitty flew a civil (charter) aircraft in the 1950s, not a warplane, nor was it a wartime adventure. If Kitty was unpopular (which may or may not be true) perhaps it was badly written. The “too masculine” charge has at least an element of truth in that it was written and drawn by men. Perhaps it was too much of a boys’ comic, translated crudely into one for girls. But the under representation of female artists and writers in comics is another issue. So, sticking with the themes (rather than the authorship) of the comic…

When ‘Girl’ returned to the air in 1958, it was with “Angela Air Hostess”. Sigh.

I don’t suppose that we’ll ever know the full truth behind the dropping of this potentially valuable (in inspiring girls into the cockpit) comic strip, but it’s a great shame that Kitty Hawke didn’t properly fly into the imaginations of girls growing up in the 1950s.