Culture

Experts Concerned We’ve Sent Sexist Messages to Space

#PioneerPorn
We're not doing enough to promote diversity to aliens.

During the British Science Festival, a group of experts pondered whether or not some of the images we have sent into space might be too sexist and too white — which would clearly be sending the wrong message to any aliens out there.

Yes, seriously.

Dr. Jill Stuart, considered an expert on the “politics” of space, expressed particular concern about a plaque on the 1972 Pioneer 10 spacecraft that featured a naked man and woman.

“The plaque shows a man raising his hand in a very manly fashion while a woman stands behind him, appearing all meek and submissive,” Stuart said, according to an article in the Guardian.

“We really need to rethink that with any messages we are sending out now. Attitudes have changed so much in just 40 years,” she continued.

Even worse: The man and the woman were both white. (Ewwwww!)

Detail of Pioneer 10’s plaque

“I would be uncomfortable with sending out any images or messages that include Western-dominated material,” Stuart said.

Thursday’s discussion featured the astronomers and philosophers of the U.K research division of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), which has agreed to enter a Breakthrough Initiative contest to compose a message to send to space on behalf of Earth.

#share#The contest winner will receive a $1 million prize. Despite this incentive, about half of SETI thought it would be a bad idea to send out a message at all, according to network-member Anders Sandberg of the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford.

“The silence in the skies might be because alien civilizations are hiding from us, and that it might be stupid to attract attention,” Sandberg said.

Sandberg also expressed some logistical concerns about the project.

#related#“We don’t know is if any aliens out there have eyes, so pictures might not work,” he said.

Whoa. Great point! But actually, it would probably be a good thing, right? After all, we have no idea what kind of terrible impact having to see a naked, white heterosexual couple might have on the aliens’ culture — and I’d hate to think that we humans could play any role in turning them into misogynist white supremacists.

— Katherine Timpf is a reporter for National Review.         

Most Popular

Elections

In Defense of the Electoral College

Senator Elizabeth Warren has joined a growing chorus within the Democratic party in calling for the abolition of the Electoral College. Speaking at a forum in Mississippi on Monday night, Warren said that she hoped to ensure that “every vote matters” and proposed that “the way we can make that happen is ... Read More
Elections

Stick a Fork in O’Rourke

If, as I wrote last week here, Joe Biden may save the Democratic party from a horrible debacle at the polls next year, Beto O’Rourke may be doing the whole process a good turn now. Biden, despite his efforts to masquerade as the vanguard of what is now called progressivism, is politically sane and, if ... Read More
National Security & Defense

In Defense of the Iraq War

Today is the 16th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, and Twitter is alive with condemnations of the conflict -- countered by precious few defenses. Yet I believed the Iraq War was just and proper in 2003, and I still believe that today. When Donald Trump condemned the war during the 2015 primary campaign and ... Read More
Elections

Beto-mania and Our Cult of Personality Politics

Robert “Beto” O’Rourke’s biggest fans and supporters insist he is a forward-thinking, future-oriented visionary, but no contender for the Democratic nomination feels more familiar than the former three-term congressman from El Paso. That’s because he has the highest combined score in both déjà vu ... Read More