Lisa Nowak: Separating the Women from the Girls

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

Lisa Nowak, the diaper-wearing astronaut who went whacko over a man, is probably going to get away with stalking, assault, attempted kidnapping (to God’s know what end) and, setting feminism back a thousand years.

A judge has thrown out everything but the supposed bats in Lisa Nowak’s belfry. The evidence obtained from her car (including diapers, allegedly both used and unused): gone. Her statements to the police: gone. Her electronic ankle monitor: gone. Hell, it wasn’t even me that Nowak stalked cross country and pepper-sprayed but I’d like to know where she is at all times; what if I’d accidentally scored some killer shoes on sale that she’d been eying? Fire alarms should accompany her every movement. This matters because Nowak’s attorneys “in August filed a notice of intent to rely on an insanity defense, saying in court documents her diagnoses include a litany of more than a dozen psychiatric disorders.”

How novel, women just can’t control their emotions and shouldn’t be held accountable. She was in love! I guess we should be grateful she isn’t going with the PMS defense. “More than a dozen psychiatric disorders” and NASA never noticed? Females like Nowak hurt women everywhere with this kind of sorry-ass, female jealousy and emotional collapse. It’s not bad enough that she was going to put a beat down on another human over a man, now she’s going to make every woman in a high stress environment wonder if those around her are watching to see if she’ll buckle and go haywire on the corporate retreat, let alone the flight deck.

Puh leeze. She’s no crazier than the violent, stalker ex-boyfriends that feminists like me just love to see do hard time. You just don’t get to go crazy in this way because you’re a divorced mom of three who thinks no one will ever love you again, no matter how fucking brilliant you are. Because of how brilliant you are.

That was Susan Smith’s deal, too, remember? I totally understood why she thought she had to make her children disappear so she could escape the no doubt loveless future in store for a plain, ignorant, hick town girl with a boatload of fatherless children. I also totally understand why she should never see the sky again–life’s a bitch for women, no matter your income bracket, once you bring either children or a successful career into the picture. But we just don’t get to handle our gendered problems this way. Astronauts don’t get to make that other brilliant chick disappear just as ‘hood rats don’t get to make their children disappear. If infanticide occurs to you more than once, have some backbone: give them up for adoption, or, I don’t know, decide to be happy without a man if it works out that way. If it’s too hard to get laid as an astronaut hire a Chippendale. Hire two. Or, I dunno, stop being an astronaut. That was part of the reason for my leaving a shiny, but mostly dateless, career in the military. Don’t know why it never occurred to me to take a few hostages.

Career, children, love, and sex – women don’t usually get to have more than one of these at a time. Sucks. Totally unfair. Utterly sexist. I understand the pressure, believe me, but, women, find another kind of crazy if crazy you must go—get monstrously fat, become a religious nut and bother folks in the park with your ravings, become an obsessive scrap booker, marry your own personal K-Fed. Anything but out-sourcing your problems to innocents and dragging the rest of us back with you to the age of swooning. Feminists have no problem condemning male violence for exactly what it is, no matter how lunatic his state of mind, and we should feel no differently towards Lisa Nowak. She made her choices but she wasn’t women enough to either live with them or make new choices. She’s not crazy. She’s weak.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend