DID I MENTION I DIG SPACE CHICKS?

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Of course I have. Over and over again. Since I came to this place I have freely expressed my appreciation for space chicks.  I have written scholarly critiques of new media, expressing dissatisfaction with this television program or that new film because the program or film didn’t have enough space chicks. Conversely, I have expressed my approval when a program or film featured the proper quantity of quality Space Chicks.

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But what, academically speaking, is a Space Chick?  Is it merely a woman in space?

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The first woman in space.

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Clearly not. The media has depicted many women in space, not all of whom can be properly classified as Space Chicks.  And, where life has imitated art, only one female astronaut can be properly considered a Space Chick.

Allow me to elaborate, elucidate, pontificate and fabricate (but just a little):

As I’ve discussed earlier in this blog, pulp magazines acted as the vehicle through which science fiction entered popular culture.  These pulp magazines – published from the 1920’s through the 1950’s – embodied the motto “sex sells” and so habitually featured women on their covers.  For example:

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1919

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1929

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1933

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1936

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1942

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1949

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1950

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With this marketing heritage it was only natural that pulp science fiction magazines would feature, as often as possible, images of women, often scantily clad.

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A Space Chick who apparently likes lollipops.

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These were the original Space Chicks – objects of amorphous adolescent male fantasy.  And, as objects of early 20th Century amorphous adolescent male fantasy, these space chicks often needed rescuing from monsters.

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Film, and eventually television, adopted the pulp magazine formula and expanded upon it. In the same way that producers began insisting that any science fiction project include aliens, they also insisted that Space Chicks be part of whatever awful film or television show they were going to finance.

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But something happened that differentiated Space Chicks from their non science fiction counterparts. Space chicks were often depicted doing more than simply needing rescue and being more than merely sexy.  The Women of Tomorrow were shown to be, not just desirable, but also fast, strong, smart, capable and brave as any man.

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Cinema and television imitated the pulp formula and began depicting Space Chicks that were not just sex objects, but also intelligent, confident and professionally accomplished -little realizing that they were part of a social and political revolution.

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When humans actually began poking a tentative finger into outer space, life imitated art.  The Russians were the first to put a woman into space.  Long before they did, they tried to let their people, and the world, know what to expect.

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Make no mistake: this is a Space Chick.  We can’t see the rest of her, and her space suit is undoubtedly too bulky to determine the attractiveness of her physical charms, but her mascara, eye shadow, false eyelashes and lipstick tells us that she is ready for action.

Reality did not meet this expectation.  The actual first woman in space looked like this.

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There is a rumor that persists to this day that she was really a man in a wig.

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In any event, she was no space chick.  The United States did better, but none of the women NASA put into space can be characterized as Space Chicks. Even zero gravity – which one would think, like beer, would make women more attractive – tends to make things worse.

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Lesbians seem to adore this photo. I have no idea why.

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There is one exception – Mae Jemison:

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She is more than pretty.  She is a medical doctor. She is strong, smart, capable and brave enough to ride in the space shuttle – a crapshoot against disaster every time its engines ignite. But even more important for the purposes of this essay, her cuteness survives zero gravity. Click on the following link to see what I am talking about.

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Mae Jemison

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That isn’t just a picture. It is a pose. But that isn’t what makes Dr. Jemison a Space Chick.  What makes her a bona fide Space Chick is that, after actually going into space, she appeared as a minor characer on Star Trek!!!

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Dr. Mae Jemision is the only women who is a media space chick AND a real world Space Chick!

How cool is that?

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21 Responses to “DID I MENTION I DIG SPACE CHICKS?”

  1. Can’t beat the 70′s for space chick nipple action.

  2. Fabulous post. I thoroughly enjoyed your selection of covers and commentary. Nat x

  3. paulboylan Says:

    Moko – I never quite noticed that before.

    Natalia – Thank you! I am trying to engineer circumstances that support an eventual claim that I am the world’s leading authority on Space Chicks.

  4. OUTSTANDING post. You are filling a much needed gap in the media coverage of space chicks. You are the one I turn to for everything definitive on Space Chicks.

  5. paulboylan Says:

    A great compliment, and one I actively seek.

  6. Once again we need go no further than your blog for valuable education and uplifting (ahem) cultural moments. Most excellent work!
    Now you’ll have nerds playing “spot the SF author on the ‘zine covers.”

  7. paulboylan Says:

    What SF authors?

  8. Would that young robot chick from The Sarah Connor Chronicles be classified as a Space Chick? My argument is that as she’s been tampering with the space-time continuum by travelling back from the future then the “space” bit could get a green light. The fact that she’s a robot shouldn’t detract from her being called a chick because she’s really quite cute. That is of course until she uses her robot strength to kill you (but in a cute way).

  9. bondiboy66 Says:

    Áh yes – UFO Space Chicks in purple wigs…that, and finding old pulp SF mags with cartoony pics of scantily or indeed unclad space chicks were instrumental in a young Bondiboy realising that girls may not be so yucky after all.

    Nothing like SciFi and Space Chicks to spark a young lad’s imagination! Still works now…

    A fine entry indeed Mr. Boylan!

  10. mimi.dep Says:

    I never realized people were interested in sex as far back as 1919. What about Netiri? Isn’t she the best space chick of all time?

  11. paulboylan Says:

    Therbs – Yes, I would include the terminator babe as a Space Chick. I’ll post a pic.

    Bondi – The purple-wigged ladies from UFO are, in my opinion, the height of television Space Chickery and embody the most Space Chickocity I’ve ever seen. They were clearly skilled and essential to the operation of the Moon Base, and yet they spent so much time dressing and undressing. Barbarella, of course, is the finest cinematic Space Chick thus far.

    Mimi – You are absolutely right, and I change my mind about Barbarella being the best. Neytiri is the best, and I will post a pic.

  12. Space Chicks, a verry uplifting topic.
    Paul if you are including terminator chicks include the TX from Terminator iii. Christanna Loken I think.

  13. paulboylan Says:

    Scott – Your point forces me to reconsider expanding the definition of “Space Chick” to embrace killer robots that look like women. Let me think about it. If the terminator women can be considered space chicks, then why not the female lead in the horror movie THEM! – a modern woman in every aspect and an instrumental character in the film.

  14. Mr Boylan, in a recent posting on Blunt Instrument you dispaired at the half arse attack the old media have marshalled against the new. “What kind of a scare tactic is that? I would be more impressed if they claimed facebook causes cancer.”

    I realise it isn’t cancer but it is still a bit better.

    Facebook causes syphilis, says Prof Peter Kelly, Director of Public Health, NHS Tees?

    of course its a beat up but wonderfull headlines which found themselves used in the UKs Mail’s definitive headline of last year “How using Facebook could raise your risk of cancer” (in the same week as a story about a radioactive paedophile, no less) comes a competitor. “Facebook spreads syphilis” was the front page headline in the Sun “sex diseases soaring due to facebook romps”. The Mail was quick to follow, with “Facebook ’sex encounters’ linked to rise in syphilis”, while the Telegraph had “Facebook ‘linked to rise in syphilis’: Facebook has been linked to a resurgence in the sexually-transmitted disease syphilis, according to health experts.” It even made the Star.
    The full story is over at

    http://www.badscience.net/2010/03/facebook-causes-syphilis-says-prof-peter-kelly-director-of-public-health-nhs-tees/
    fortunately no pictures

  15. paulboylan Says:

    Well, now I’m impressed! That’s a demonization worth admiring!

    I cannot thank you more for directing me to that wonderful junk.

  16. Ah, space chicks. One of the great joys of my boyhood. I still have an original magazine of that era, or two. I don’t if this will work Paul, but try the link http://www.facebook.com/#!/album.php?id=795988265&aid=201704 to see some scans. I confess to being a book addict. A happy, happy addict.

  17. Good day everybody. Researchers learned that the great Leonardo da Vinci really was right in his assumptions — people truly are bio-robots.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    this is scary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. No it isn’t.

  20. The Star Queen Says:

    Truly Fantastic article & graphics! I give it 5 stars!
    from the Ultimate Star Chick:
    The Star Queen, from “Arrivederci, Venus”

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