A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Monday, July 23, 2012

On Being First

Sally Ride passed away today (If you don't know who that is, stop for a moment and read here and here, and maybe here too).  Dr. Ride was remembered for being first, but what the articles don't note, is that since her two flights on the Challenger space shuttle, 44 other American women have entered space as astronauts. Someone had to be first, and she was the lucky one to be the first American woman in space.  Being first is annoying - you get asked a lot of stupid questions and you are probably held to an almost-impossibly-high standard that you need to be smarter and better than the men.

But it's also awesome that you get to be a hero to women and girls the world over!  It's interesting that Sally's Ride into space happened so long ago that I don't remember it - but I am surely glad that she broke that barrier.  I'm glad that if I had that inclination, I could have worked hard and become an astronaut.  There are still many "firsts" for women, but hopefully the "firsts" make it easier for the "nexts" - each woman who follows.  Feminism isn't about being a shrill voice of discontent - true feminism is about helping each person reach their potential, regardless of their gender.  I've heard it said that "feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

My favorite line from the articles I read today comes from the NY Times obituary: "In photographs of her afloat in the spaceship, she was grinning, as if she had at long last reached the place she was meant to be."

I hope each woman and girl can find the place she's meant to be - whether it's as a "first" something, or a "next" something.  I used to think I would be the first woman president, but I don't think that's likely to happen.  I hope it does happen soon, however - we need more women in all fields of endeavor.  Huzzah for feminism!

What are you doing to carry on the legacy of "people who went first"?  What do you want to be "first" in?

1 comment:

  1. Great post! Sally Ride, genuine American hero.