Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Martian and More Thoughts on Sexism

I saw the movie The Martian the other night. Although I can't say it was the most profound movie I have ever seen, it was thoroughly enjoyable and did make some good points.

What I liked:

  • The movie was witty. I always like that. 
  • Sexism/racism is absent without mentioning it. The commander of the mission is an ex-military woman, the head of NASA a white man, the mission director a black man. The brilliant young astrophysicist is a young black guy. The head of JPL is an out of shape Chinese-American. 
  • The end of the movie makes a really good moral point. I won't spoil it for you and, besides, it works in the movie better than if I just told you.  
I work at an incredibly diverse company so in many ways the social structure of The Martian, which is set in the near future, reflects my current reality. In fact, I do not recall once in the past 27 years at my job where I have not had at least one woman in the line of command above me. I know not all people are exposed to the same level of diversity as me but that is the world I come from and am in. Maybe this is the reason I find it so shocking that people would use gender or race as a tool to achieve injustice. I am not so naive to think that sexism and racism do not exist but when it is explicitly used as a tool by educated people who should know better it is very sad. 

How was sexism used agaisnt me? Spring and her lawyer Nelly Wince explicitly argued that I should be required to support Spring for the rest of my life, despite the fact that employment evaluator ruled that she could make just as much money as me and the custody evaluator rulling that parenting during the marriage was joint, because women are less capable than men. How ironic. But I guess is is no surprise than greed trumps morality. 

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