Sunday, December 29, 2013

why we still need feminism

When brilliant rocket scientist Yvonne Brill died this year, the New York Times disgraced itself by running the following obituary:
She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said.

But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.
A fire storm of criticism followed, as people pointed out that no obituary of a male rocket scientist would have begun by outlining his prowess in ANY other area, nor would it have led with any comments about his wonderful parenting. But somehow, this brilliant scientist's accomplishments were pushed to paragraph two. The New York Times actually edited the online obituary in response to the criticism.

And yet after all the controversy, I still had to listen this morning as Charles Osgood announced on CBS Sunday Morning that Yvonne Brill "was a rocket scientist who managed to raise a family and invent a propulsion system to keep satellites in orbit - in her spare time." I hope, hope, hope that the writers were poking fun at the obituary writer rather than those who took offense. But just in case ...

I did a little research on the men who were also remembered in the segment. I'd like to outline a few of their amazing accomplishments here:

Astronaut Scott Carpenter managed to marry four times, divorce three times, father seven children and become the second American to orbit the Earth - in his spare time.

Manager Earl Weaver managed to stay married to his wife Marianna for 49 years, raise his children and coach the Baltimore Orioles - in his spare time.

Athlete Stan Muesil managed to stay married to his wife for almost 72 years, raise four children and play professional baseball - in his spare time.

Beautician Mr. Kenneth never married, he was a close, personal friend of Marilyn Monroe and styled hair - in his spare time.

Athlete Deacon Jones managed to marry twice, father a son, help raise a stepson and a grandchild, and played professional football - in his spare time.

May they all rest in peace!

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