Commenter PM observed that the feminist fiction spun around Amelia Earhart seems harmless enough:
Men are still doing most of jobs that keep civilization going. I don’t see that changing. A few women are being propped up with false accomplishments here and there but it doesn’t have much impact overall.
Most people male or female won’t invent something that changes the world or be the first to do anything. I think that Amelia Earheart’s “success” inspired a lot of women. My sister has her pilot’s license and it seems harmless enough. Doesn’t change the fact that most pilots are men.
This has been the reaction by men to feminist envy from the beginning. Pointing out the outrageous pettiness of feminists feels petty, and men would far prefer to be gracious by playing along with the fiction. Yet indulging envy only feeds the beast and fuels even more envy and discontent. Moreover, the farther along you follow this path, the harder it becomes to stop indulging it.
After Lindbergh’s amazing feat he was an instant hero. What he attempted was so astounding that before he even landed there were huge crowds gathered at the intended landing field outside Paris, waiting to see if this unknown airmail pilot from America could pull it off:
The airfield was not marked on his map and Lindbergh knew only that it was some seven miles northeast of the city. He initially mistook the airfield for some large industrial complex with bright lights spreading out in all directions. The lights were, in fact, the headlights of tens of thousands of cars all driven by eager spectators now caught in “the largest traffic jam in Parisian history.”
A crowd estimated at 150,000 spectators stormed the field, dragged Lindbergh out of the cockpit, and literally carried him around above their heads for “nearly half an hour”.
This was just the crowd that gathered to see if he could pull it off. Lindbergh had no radio on board so all the crowd knew was that he had taken off 33 hours prior and was intending to land at that airfield. After he landed he was an instant worldwide sensation.
The adulation and celebration of Lindbergh that emerged after the solo Atlantic flight were unprecedented. People were “behaving as though Lindbergh had walked on water, not flown over it.”:17…
Within a year of his flight, a quarter of Americans (an estimated 30 million) personally saw Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis.
For feminists the idea of a man receiving this much praise and attention was unbearable. All of the attention given to “Lucky Lindy” created a frantic search for a woman who could be named “Lady Lindy”. This was not a race to see which woman would be the first to prove her mettle, it was a race to change the subject and mark aviation as a feminine space. This is why all that mattered was that a woman ride in an airplane across the Atlantic, so long as she looked the part.
Earhart was actually fairly late in the game. In 1927 actress Ruth Elder set out to be “Lady Lindy”:
[Elder] was a twenty-three year old, some-time actress when she heard of “Lucky Lindy’s” flight from New York, to Paris.
She made up her mind that she would be the first “Lady Lindy,” the first woman to fly across the Atlantic.
Elder wasn’t the only person to coin the term Lady Lindy before the “accomplishment” was even in progress. The man who interviewed Earhart for the part had the term in mind the day he met her:
Railey claims to have been struck by a strong resemblance in Amelia’s appearance to Lindbergh and he immediately coined the sobriquet “Lady Lindy” in his mind.
A big part of the problem is that we don’t recognize envy in women because it seems so normal. If a man had set out to upstage Lindbergh by hiring someone to chauffeur him across the Atlantic (or anything else short of real achievement), he would be a laughingstock. But when we observe this same kind of pettiness from women we reflexively overlook it; pointing out pettiness in women feels petty.
Again, this was not about women setting out to create their own achievements, it was about extinguishing manly pride. The desire wasn’t to inspire little girls so that one day, if they worked hard enough, they too could have a man fly them in an airplane. This wasn’t about inspiring little girls, it was about not inspiring little boys. Feminists understand this in their guts, which is why feminists today still love Earhart’s absurd book about the time a man flew her across the ocean. Earhart’s ride was triumphant not because she accomplished anything, but because she helped change the subject away from Lindbergh.
This raises the question; what is the cost of extinguishing manly pride? What is the cost of downplaying the importance of manly virtues? At the individual incident level, the costs seem too small to be measurable; manly pride has turned out to be nearly as indefatigable as feminist envy has proven unquenchable. Indeed, our society is ordered on the assumption that men’s graciousness towards women is as inexhaustible as women’s envy of men. So far at least, this has been a winning bet.
But this isn’t just about one incident. Clearly the boys growing up in the 1930s were still inspired to work hard and take incredible risks despite the feminist parasite siphoning off as much recognition as possible; there was no shortage of men who were willing to storm the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima. As successful as feminists were at changing the subject, they weren’t able to stop young boys and men from seeing Lindbergh honored for his achievements. And even if feminists had managed to entirely prevent the recognition of Lindbergh, there were still other role models to inspire young men. This is about a beast that wasn’t satiated with with muting the celebration of Lindbergh’s success, a beast which grew more ravenous with each meal. This is about a relentless and ever more effective movement to stamp out all celebration of manly virtues over the last eight decades. Looking the other way when feminists were petty about Lindbergh’s achievement lead to looking the other way when feminists marked our armed forces as a feminine space and snuffed out or neutered the heroes quest.
We live in a bizarre age. We complain that young men lack manly virtues, while claiming that there is no cost to feminists’ envy driven need to denigrate manhood. If manly virtues are important to our society, then we must once again unashamedly celebrate men who display these virtues. We must call out this pettiness so that we can recognize courage, even though we find it uncomfortable.