News & Politics

Writer Says Desire to Colonize Space Comes From Gendered Power Structures

Artist concept of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) 70-metric-ton configuration launching to space. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. (Rex Features via AP Images)

Writer Marcie Bianco published the following at NBC News’s “Think” section: “[T]he impulse to colonize — to colonize lands, to colonize peoples, and, now that we may soon be technologically capable of doing so, colonizing space — has its origins in gendered power structures.”

In other words, it’s the Patriarchy.

She added: “Entitlement to power, control, domination and ownership. The presumed right to use and abuse something and then walk away to conquer and colonize something new.”

What the hell does she think we’re conquering? Bianco refers to Elon Musk having a “Columbusing attitude.”

There’s a very important distinction between space and the Americas, of course: Space does not have a native population. Mars is a barren, dusty landscape of rocks and possibly a plethora of minerals. There’s no one living there. We know. We’ve checked.

The same is true of the moon and every other planetary body in our solar system. No one lives on any of them. The only “conquering” that will take place there is metaphorical.

But no, that doesn’t matter. It’s just another example of how the Patriarchy is evil according to people like Bianco.

Well, you know what? I’ll take it. If she wants to credit the Patriarchy with taking us beyond the stars, so be it. If she wants to hand it to the Patriarchy that we’re the ones who are trying to make sure humanity can survive even a global cataclysm because we’re no longer tethered strictly to earth, then go on.

You’re damn right that men want to explore and settle new lands. There’s no reason to apologize for it, especially when it’s land that’s clearly unsettled by any species, sentient or not. We want to go to Mars, the moon, and beyond. We want to fill the galaxy with humans.

That way, when the next planet-killer rock crashes into our world, our species will still go on. We’ll thrive on countless worlds.

As a man and a father,  I’ll embrace space colonization with everything I’ve got. Scientific and engineering achievement is rarely a bad thing, so we’ll own this if she wants.

If she wants to credit the Patriarchy as being the group working to save mankind, even from itself, then who are we to argue?