Hidden Figures (2016) Movie Review, The Story of the Women Behind the Scenes of NASA


 Behind the scenes of NASA and its space projects, there are not only men. There were also hidden figures there, female figures (black skinned) that were hidden and which at that time still tended to be hidden—because patriarchy did not give a proper place to women who were considered only as 'complementary'. Moreover, black women, who are seen as 'different' and are one class below white people. For hidden figures who have difficulty getting that place, this film provides a very special place for them to be recognized and appreciated for their hard work and contributions to NASA.

Film Reviews Hidden Figures (2016)

Based on a true story as a biographical film, the film Hidden Figures (2016) is arguably also a film that perpetuates history without neglecting to include the women who took part in it. This film is a film that focuses on gender issues as well as racism issues in the United States, very intelligently, through storylines, characterizations, settings, scenes to dialogues. This film manages to retell a part of history that has been forgotten and missed so far. This film is also based on a non-fiction book written by a black female writer named Margot Lee Shetterly, about black female mathematicians who worked at NASA ( National Aeronautics & Space Administration ) in the past.Space Race (United States & Soviet Union competition in the field of science-technology in the cold war of the 20th century) with the same title.

The film Hidden Figures does not only discuss issues of discrimination and marginalization of women, but specifically on black women. However, even though the position of women at that time was considered to be no higher than that of men, the position of white women was still considered higher than that of black women—the reality of the issue of black-white racism that was still complicated in America at that time. Another dimension of discrimination. That is, black women at that time were in the lowest position in the social stratification created based on skin color and gender, the most disadvantaged position.

As viewers, we will be astonished to realize the facts of discriminatory racism that occur and are recounted in the film: bathrooms are separated even between white and black women, drinking water is also separated between whites and blacks, segregation of seats. for black people on buses (black people have to sit in the back), schools that separate whites and blacks, to the separation of the corridors of bookshelves in government libraries (not all books can be accessed by the public). black skinned).

This film seems to have been carefully structured in order to highlight many of these issues, without forgetting to refer to historical facts as the main reference. NASA is no exception. In fact, there is non-trivial discrimination against black people who work at NASA. Most of the positions given to them are non-permanent and less significant positions, with separate office buildings, to lower wages. Movie Hidden Figures(2016) specifically highlight women who work as 'computers', a term for those who are tasked with calculating the numbers of space projects manually mathematically quickly at NASA (at that time, there were not even PC computers as we know them today). this). They are intelligent and genius women, but the color of their skin makes them forced to be in an under-privileged position. Katherine G. Johnson, the main character in this film, is one of the women who work as a 'computer' also at NASA.

Yes, Hidden Figures (2016) is based on the true story of Katherine G. Johnson, who has contributed greatly to many NASA space projects during her time of service and dedication there. Apart from Katherine G. Johnson, there are other (formerly) 'hidden' women at NASA that should not be overlooked—in particular, Katherine's two best friends in this film, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan. These three female hidden figures will be discussed more in the next section. So, to quote one of the taglines of this film: meet the women you don't know, behind the mission you do.

—Katherine G. Johnson, in Hidden Figures (2016)

Katherine Johnson is a genius. His genius had shone since he was young, until he was able to take accelerated education and scholarship support to continue his education to a higher level, something that was still rare for a black woman at that time. Katherine is the first black female student at West Virginia University Graduate School. Unfortunately after that, she did not get many opportunities to expand her career because of her identity as a black woman in a society that still adheres to racism and patriarchy. Katherine can only work as a 'computer' behind the scenes of a NASA project—until a very valuable opportunity comes to Katherine.

He got a 'small promotion', transferring to the Space Task Group, the part at NASA that designs and calculates directly every NASA space travel project. Unfortunately, the initial placement did not go well. Katherine still cannot escape the reality of discrimination because she is a black woman. Katherine had been pessimistic, too, wondering whether she would stay there or perhaps be fired. However, that didn't happen. Katherine managed to survive, compete and prove her genius so that she was trusted by her boss, Mr. Al Harrison, in charge of the Space Task Group.His first success was being trusted to calculate accurate calculations for project Mercury-Atlas 6 (MA-6) which was America's first spacewalk project to orbit Earth, launched on February 20, 1962, with Astronaut John Glenn as sole pilot. Katherine was specifically asked by astronaut John Glenn to confirm the calculation of the landing coordinates of her spacecraft on the day of departure, which was not accurately calculated by the IBM 7090 machine. After that, Katherine also performed calculations for the Apollo II missions to the moon and the Space Shuttle.

In the film Hidden Figures (2016), it is also mentioned that Katherine is a single mother with three young daughters. Her husband died at a young age. Katherine, had to be both father and mother to her children, until she became acquainted with, close, romantically linked with Colonel Jim Johnson—who eventually proposed to her as his wife and lived in a lasting marriage more than 50 years later.

The figure of Katherine G. Johnson in the film Hidden Figures (2016) represents women who continue to advance, fight, struggle and prove themselves in the field of the scientific profession. Brave women, even though she is the only one. In particular, the figure of Katherine G. Johnson represents every black woman who must fight double bias at once, for her identity as a woman and as a black person.

Up Close With Mary Jackson & Dorothy Vaughan

In Hidden Figures (2016), it is told that Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan are best friends of Katherine G. Johnson. Like Katherine, they were both black, African-American women. They both also worked at NASA as 'computers', until each of them got a new placement opportunity.

—Mary Jackson, in Hidden Figures (2016)

Mary Jackson embarked on a new career path after she was assigned to NASA for the Mercury 7 space probe prototype, a permanent deployment. Since then, Mary Jackson began to aspire to continue her career as a space flight engineer at NASA. However, the journey was not exactly easy. Again, as a black woman, Mary Jackson encountered many obstacles and limitations. He even had to file lawsuits and petitions in court in order to continue his education at the school for whites, the only school NASA recognized for its engineers. At the end of the story, Mary Jackson managed to break through all the impossibility and obstacles. Mary Jackson was the first African-American female engineer for spaceflight at NASA and across the United States.

Dorothy Vaughan was the only one who didn't get a new placement opportunity like her two best friends. It wasn't that he didn't try—he had asked his boss, a white woman, to be promoted to supervisor for female computer workers at NASA—a job he had even done without the title, after the previous supervisor quit. Her request was denied, but Dorothy did not give up. Her opportunity came when she saw NASA begin to use the IBM 7090 fast calculation engine. Dorothy realized that the machine that could calculate quickly and automatically could take the jobs of African American women as 'computers' at NASA. Therefore, he tried hard to learn how to use the IBM 7090, taught her fellow black 'computer' fellows to learn about the machine, and welcomed her own promotional opportunity. His toughness and persistence worked. Dorothy Vaughan was NASA's first African-American supervisor.

The figures of Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan in the film Hidden Figures (2016) represent women who dare to bear the title of 'first woman' in America, regardless of the price and risk they have to face. Representing African American women who experience the reality of discrimination because of their identity as black women, but do not give up fighting for equality, even in the most concrete-simple ways in the reality of their respective lives. Just like Katherine G. Johnson, they also represent every black woman who must fight double bias at once, for her identity as a woman and as a black person.

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