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The Topic I Have Neglected While Writing at The Latest

Robert Franklin

Posted on March 27, 2019 23:35

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Just moments before diving into this TLT, I was dumbstruck by a revelation about myself and my writing. I have my wife to thank for it.

In my efforts to find something to write, my wife, who is always trying to help me find topics to cover, sent me an article about a cancelled NASA spacewalk. It would have been the first ever to feature only women, completely unaccompanied by men. It would have been a huge moment, had it not been scrapped due to safety concerns.

Admittedly, I shrugged the article off. I didn't see any controversy, so I decided to keep looking. At that moment, my wife looked at me and asked, "Why don't you ever write about women?"

I've written 53 pieces for The Latest over the last year, and interestingly, I've never offered my insight into women's issues. This is bothersome because I actually care. It disturbs me that women are still shafted in nearly all aspects of American society, from gendered wage gaps to never-ending vitriolic attacks on feminine healthcare and the lack of justice women receive when they are abused by men.

I was brought up in a family of strong women and took to heart what I was taught about the sexes. Women are just as capable as men and should not, ever, be treated like they aren't. Gender is not a reason to discriminate, malign, condescend, or subjugate.

I even helped my wife embrace feminism.

So why, for over a year, have I failed to write about women?

Could it be these issues don't directly affect me? I don't think that's it. These issues affect people I care about, and I have written at length about other issues that don't directly affect me, such as racism. Could it be an oversight? Perhaps, but I don't think that's thorough enough.

"Maybe patriarchal influence is so strong that even you can't always avoid it?" my wife asked.

That may actually explain it, at least somewhat. The past year has seen no shortage of headlines involving women's issues: Donald Trump is the President, but I always seem to prioritize other topics.

While I've always been an advocate for women's equality and an ally in their struggles, there are times I have bucked the feminist perspective. It's never deliberate. It's never malicious. It's just that sometimes, I fail to understand the significance of something from the feminist perspective, like with the NASA story.

The safety issue came down to spacesuits, which haven't been updated to accommodate the growing number of female astronauts. It's definitely a safety issue, but the fact that an institution like NASA, which boasts some of the smartest people in the world among its ranks, didn't have the wherewithal to consider that spacesuits should probably be redesigned to accommodate female anatomy may actually be an oversight owing more to the lingering effects of androcentric history within the agency.

And I never even considered that story.

Sometimes, even with a socially progressive upbringing and genuine advocacy for women's well-being, those of us who are allies can lose perspective. What's important is to recognize it and start doing better.

Robert Franklin

Posted on March 27, 2019 23:35

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Source: NYT

Sweden has prioritized gender and women’s issues for years. Even its foreign policy is feminist.

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