East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Girls flying airplanes


Today I read something that made me feel very old, and rather uneasy. On my friend’s Lucy’s blog she was talking about the latest Marvel movie, the one featuring Captain Marvel, and she observed that while comic-book-based films have a number of drawbacks, she still welcomes a movie that might inspire some young girl to become a jet pilot or an astronaut.
And I was drinking to that, when somebody commented…

I can’t see what’s good about suggesting to a girl to become a pilot

And my head hit the desktop with a deep, hollow Tunc!, like a wooden bowl.

There’s a lot of this rubbish going on right now, in my country but also everywhere else. Stuff that I considered normal when I was in my twenties, like women piloting aircraft, exploring the ocean’s depths, and basically doing what the hell they pleased, is being criticized as … wrong.

Why should a young woman want to fly an aircraft, maybe even become a jet fighter pilot?
Like, for the same reason a bloke should?
Because she can?

And I thought about Beryl Markham, or Bessie Coleman, or indeed Amelia Earhart. Amy Johnson, whose name intrigued me as a kid in a song I liked…

With your photographs of Kitty Hawk
And the biplanes on your wall
You were always Amy Johnson
From the time that you were small
No schoolroom kept you grounded
While your thoughts could get away
You were taking off in Tiger Moths
Your wings against the brush-strokes of the day

Amy Johnson (1903 – 1941) Pioneer aviator, who drowned after bailing out over the Thames estuary. Picture shows Amy Johnson

And yet there’s people younger than me (and this, really, is the scary bit), that “can’t see why” a girl should want to fly. Maybe because by taking flight in a jet aircraft she’d avoid the risk of hooking up with idiots like these?

I think it’s time I do a few more posts about those wonderful adventuresses of the past – and the present – that have been an inspirations for us all, boys and girls, back when adventure was not a bad word.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

4 thoughts on “Girls flying airplanes

  1. What, really? I can’t believe those attitudes are still alive and well in today’s society. Actually, no, I CAN believe it. While not prevalent here in Australia, there’s still misogyny in our society… and racism, sexism, and a whole bunch of other ‘isms. I wonder if we’ll ever get past it as a race of people. Doubtful.


  2. You know, in our beloved country it’s still a matter of “first”. First woman to do that, first woman in charge of… it’s 2019, but somebody is still thinking of 1819.


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