'For All Mankind' Episode 4 brings out '70s sexism even as America prepares to send its first female astronaut to Moon
Episode 4 'Prime Crew' also shows how people from the LGBTQ+ community are forced to hide their sexualities in order to further their careers.
There have been over half-a-hundred women who have been in space but we all know that this didn't happen without a lot of fighting. In 'For All Mankind', the US government is forced to push for an American woman to be sent to the Moon much earlier than in our timeline after the Soviets manage to make one of their female cosmonauts the first woman on the Moon, but don't let that fool you into thinking the Nixon administration is shown as paragons of feminism in the series.
The government's approach to the new initiative is sexist to the highest degree. From pushing for a "pretty face" to threatening to abort the program altogether after the death of a candidate during training, the administration does everything in its power to make this whole project a lot harder than it has to be.
We also get to see a lot of internalized sexism, especially from the character of Karen Baldwin (Shantel VanSanten), who is clearly jealous that her friend, Tracy Stevens (Sarah Jones), is going to be an astronaut. Even characters like Joel Kinnaman's Edward Baldwin, although he clearly doesn't intend to discriminate, sometimes gets patronizing and underestimates the capabilities of the women in the space program.
Sexism isn't the only problem that the show highlights. Episode 4 'Prime Crew' also showed how people from the LGBTQ+ community are forced to hide their sexualities in order to further their careers. To be gay or a lesbian is something that still held a lot of stigma in the '70s and 'For All Mankind' doesn't try to pull its punches when depicting the harsh realities of the time.
It may be argued that an alternate history show could take liberties with its representation of history but by not doing so, 'For All Mankind' serves as a reminder of the long distance we have traveled to get where we are now and the even longer journey that's lying ahead of us before we can truly claim to live in a free society.
'For All Mankind' Season 1 Episode 5 'Into the Abyss' will arrive on Apple TV+ on November 15.