Dear Men, Shut up and Let Me Enjoy Astrology

Here at The Mary Sue, I write about a lot of things, some silly, some serious. But there’s one topic where I seem to get the most pushback from readers, often male presenting, who believe my very mentioning of said topic is akin to be denying global warming and saying I support Donald Trump: Astrology.

Now, I’ve written about witchcraft, paganism, and even the tarot, but no topic gets quite the same argumentation and derision than when I discuss astrology. There’s just something about astrology that some men seem to really hate. It gets under their skin and sets their mansplaining phasers to maximum. And of course, not all men, but a lot of them, and yes there are women that get on their high horse about it too. But it makes me wonder what is it about astrology that makes some men so mad and feel the need to tell me I’m peddling dangerous pseudoscience?

I think there’s one word there that answers the question, and that word is “pseudoscience.” These men seem to get defensive specifically when women “do science wrong.” Despite the roots of astrology and its a connection to the very real celestial universe, people (read: pedantic mansplainers) seem to assume that anyone who enjoys astrology doesn’t understand any science at all. They jump to the conclusion that a woman isn’t wise enough to know the difference between Libra and the lunar program, assuming astrology fans believe the movements of the stars and planets rule every aspect of our lives, even when that’s not exactly the case. They also think that this perceived failure to see the “truth” about astrology and realize it’s not science means people who like it are supporting all fake science. I’ve honestly had people telling me that talking about mercury retrograde is akin to me denying global warming or supporting anti-vaxxers and … no.

For me, and I would hazard for the majority of astrology fans, we don’t use astrology to “know the future” or “plan our lives,” but we use it to understand ourselves and others better and to help us grow and learn to be better people. There are countless “personality type” tests and categorizations, and they are all, in some way, arbitrary, but that doesn’t mean understanding them isn’t useful. From Meyers-Briggs to Love Languages, knowing our personal tendencies, and more importantly having language with which to examine and discuss them, is useful—and a big part of personal growth.

Astrology is about looking to the stars to look at yourself. Millions of people, myself included, find personal insight and comfort by doing that. For instance, when I started really getting into astrology and learned that there was way more to it than just your sun sign, I found out that my moon sign was Libra. The moon rules emotions and Libra is all about balance and friendliness and for me that made something click into place. I’m a people pleaser who hates conflict and emotional turmoil (my Mars, the planet of aggression and conflict is also in Libra so it’s double for me) and seeing that in my chart made perfect sense to me and gave me tools and language to work with that aspect of my personality.

And this applies to interpersonal relationships too. Again, just have the language to process the idea that you and another person communicate in different ways or prioritize different things is useful if you have to live with or work with said person. I am the parent of the most Gemini child on Earth (if you want to understand Gemini, know that Donald Trump is also one and them send me your sympathy), and just keeping in mind that she’s going to be going in all directions at once, moving like the wind means that I, a very solid, calm Capricorn, know I need to be a bit more flexible in that relationship.

Now, I know that there are people reading this rolling their eyes, and that’s fine. You don’t have to believe in this and you are free to go through your life never knowing or caring about your rising sign or Venus return or whatever. That’s okay. But what’s not okay is attacking people who do, because we’re just trying to know ourselves better, and use tools that help us live better with others.

Believing in astrology doesn’t mean I don’t believe in science. It doesn’t mean I’m selling anything dangerous. It’s something that’s empowering to me. Astrology is about putting some order into a chaotic universe, to look at the world, people, and even history in a certain way that makes some sense. People are allowed to do that. Whether it be through their faith or their science, we’re all entitled to our different ways of analyzing the world, and as long as it’s not actively hurting anyone (which I will reiterate again, it’s not) that’s fine.

But what I think really bugs men in particular here is that astrology, and really most “woo woo” things, are predominantly used and enjoyed by women. Magic and mysticism and the metaphysical are seen as feminine (for reasons both valid and invalid) and thus, they’re unworthy of respect. If women are into it, be it pumpkin spice or astrology or Uggs or anime or anything, it’s silly at best and dangerous to all of society at worst.

The scorn for astrology can’t be disentangled from the scorn for women and the feminine in general, and that’s a problem. The attitude that this is dangerous fake science is deeply tied in with a paternalistic view that women don’t understand science (this is BS) and that our feeble lady brains can’t be trusted to tell a natal chart from the periodic table (double BS).

And so to all the men in the past, and the inevitable ones who will show up in these comments, I say: let people enjoy things. And most importantly, stop assuming that any woman who likes astrology, or has faith in anything in general, is misinformed and doesn’t believe in science. Astrology is something that’s complementary to living in this world and doesn’t contradict any science or other world views. And if you think you’re above it and don’t believe that’s fine, just don’t attack others.

Also, happy birthday, if you hate being told what you’re like and think your opinion is that important, you’re probably a Leo.

(image: Prague Astronomical Clock, Wikimedia Commons)

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Jessica Mason (she/her) is a writer based in Portland, Oregon with a focus on fandom, queer representation, and amazing women in film and television. She's a trained lawyer and opera singer as well as a mom and author.