Outer Space is for Everyone, Not just ‘A Few Brave Men’

I’ve mentioned my outer space loving daughter on this blog before and written about how I get annoyed when assumptions are made about outer space being a male domain. An example of this was when my girl brought home a book from school that referred to a spaceman, I sent a note back in her homework book telling them that we’d discussed why ‘astronaut’ was a much better word.

Unsurprisingly I’ve been getting on Lynx’s case about their latest ad campaign. I wouldn’t want my child to see any of their adverts at any time – children don’t understand ‘irony’ – but these outer space ads suggest that all astronauts are male. Lynx Space Academy is a chance for 22 people to go into space. Buzz  Aldrin, (almost wrote Buzz Lightyear, parent brain), has been recruited to lead the campaign and there are also a string of adverts which consist of women salivating over a man, who is abandoned as soon as an astronaut appears. Lines such as, “An astronaut never has to worry about his ride,” add to the general hilarity. The launch video on the website sports the headline; “Leave A Man. Come Back A Hero,” and adds that Lynx are recruiting; “a few brave men.” 

Last night a tweet by @GillianFinnerty caught my attention; “I’ll be leaving a woman, not a man, if that’s OK by lynx.” Gillian studies physics and astrophysics at Sheffield and wants to be an astronaut. She has made it into the top ten on the Lynx leaderboard where some guy thought it was fine to leave a comment for her that said, ‘IT’S FOR MEN DUMB BITCH’. Maybe an example of the kind of men that Lynx target with their ads?

A couple of exchanges with Lynx on Twitter earlier:

@lynxeffect  Why did the astronaut cross the road? To be the best at everything, ever – because he’s an astronaut.

@TrishLowt  Or she. Ever heard of Valentina Tereshkova, Sally Ride, Helen Sharman?

@lynxeffect  @TrishLowt fair point. We are a male grooming brand so do tend to be a little more ‘he’ than ‘she’. But everyone is welcome to join L.S.A

@GillianFinnerty  @TrishLowt @lynxeffect thanks for clarifying that lynx, can’t quite tell it’s open to both genders from your website. #votegillian #inspace


@lynxeffect  Who are you going to get to answer your phonecalls when you’re #inspace? You might get a few more than usual. From the girls.

@TrishLowt  Not all astronauts are lesbians you know.

Not sure they understood that one though.

I hope Gillian gets into space, it’s an amazing opportunity for her, as well as a chance for voters to make a point to Lynx. @EverydaySexism and @Science_Grrl have tweeted support for Gillian today. There are two more women in the top twenty at the time of writing; Joanne Pakenham and Amy Gillespie, good luck to them too. Voting continues until April 30th.  Let’s spread the word and get Lynx to eat theirs. #votegillian


US astronaut Karen Nyberg on board the International Space Station, (via http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/11/the_international_space_statio.html)

related: http://www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/blog/sexism-in-science-still-an-issue


About tricialo

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5 Responses to Outer Space is for Everyone, Not just ‘A Few Brave Men’

  1. Gillian Finnerty says:

    Thanks so much for writing this! And for linking to the blog I wrote for the STEM Centre too! You support has been so helpful 😀

    P.S. just so people know, the ‘ITS FOR MEN DUMB BITCH’ comment was made on the current number one Cahrlie Low’s profile, and you can read the responses here: https://www.lynxapollo.com/en_GB/14758/charlie-low

    Fingers crossed I make it to the next round!

  2. cathannabel says:

    Great post – and thanks for your backing for Gillian’s bid for a place in space!

  3. Pingback: The First Woman In Space | David Reneke | Space and Astronomy News

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