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Ric Gillespie believes Amelia Earhart (pictured) died a castaway on an uninhabited Pacific island.


The Week in Women: Amelia Earhart’s fate, a pro-life ‘feminist,’ and a museum’s brainy controversy

September 16, 2016

E = mc 2, but is Elvis really dead? This week’s news cycle was all about theories — some grounded in fact, others a little far out. Let’s take a look back:

The theory that Amelia Earhart did not die in a plane crash has resurfaced lately, thanks to one Ric Gillespie, who directs the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery. Gillespie believes Earhart crash-landed her aircraft on a coral reef off Gardner Island (now called Nikumaroro), spending her last days radioing for help that never came. As evidence, he cites “47 messages heard by professional radio operators that appear to be credible” and a photo taken by a 1937 British expedition, which apparently shows part of the landing gear from Earhart’s plane sticking out of a reef. The more common theory about Earhart’s death — and the one endorsed by the U.S. government — posits that her plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean, and sank to the seabed.

French police have detained four women with connections to an attempted terror attack in Paris, suggesting that ISIS has shifted its focus to recruit female jihadists. On Sunday of last week, an abandoned car loaded with gas canisters was found near Notre Dame Cathedral, a major tourist attraction in the city. Investigators traced the attempted attack to a terrorist cell of young women — among them a woman who has been engaged to two French terrorists, and a 19-year-old who stabbed an officer during her arrest. Though ISIS has long made efforts to recruit female sympathizers as wives for male fighters, this incident suggests the Islamist group is now encouraging women to wage its war on the West.

Interested in feminist theory? Kate Bryan, who writes for conservative and anti-abortion organizations, has you covered. The 32-year-old penned an Op-Ed in The Washington Post this week, claiming that her celibacy allows her to pursue “the feminist dream.” Bryan is abstaining from all types of sexual affection, including kissing, until marriage. “I spend all day, every day doing the things that I want to do, because I’m not wasting my time worrying about waking up next to a stranger, contracting a sexually transmitted infection or missing a period,” she writes. You do you, Kate. But we’ll take our lessons on feminism from someone who doesn’t actively oppose women’s reproductive rights.

Men and women have different brains, according to a much-maligned “sex-o-meter” at the Science Museum in London. According to the museum’s “Who Am I” exhibit, men are better “at seeing things in three dimensions” and “being able to imagine how things rotate,” whereas women are better at “distinguishing between subtle hints and details” and tasks that require “having a good visual memory.” Depending on how one responds to a series of questions that attempt to measure such qualities, the exhibit shows visitors how male or female their brains are through the “sex-o-meter.” The museum has been widely criticized for oversimplifying a very complex subject, and for enforcing gender stereotypes. So yes, an exhibit about brains is actually pretty stupid. The irony hurts a little.