An op-ed published Thursday on NBC News' "Think" platform argued that the desire of several billionaires to colonize Mars is "patriarchal" and driven by male privilege.
"The Patriarchal Race to Colonize Mars Is Just Another Example of Male Entitlement," wrote Marcie Bianco of the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University.
Bianco argued that SpaceX founder Elon Musk, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Virgin Galatic's Richard Branson are driven by a "Columbusing attitude" and an imperialist ethos" in their efforts to establish a human presence on Mars, arguing that "the impulse to colonize … has its origins in gendered power structures."
"These men, particularly Musk, are not only heavily invested in who can get their rocket into space first, but in colonizing Mars," she wrote. "The desire to colonize—to have unquestioned, unchallenged, and automatic access to something, to any type of body, and to use it at will—is a patriarchal one."
"It is the same instinctual and cultural force that teaches men that everything—and everyone—in their line of vision is theirs for the taking," she continued. "You know, just like walking up to a woman and grabbing her by the pussy. It's there, so just grab it because you can."
"Houston, we have a problem," Bianco concluded. "And it's the patriarchy."