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Astronaut Naoko Yamazaki to Go to Space

Women Go to Space, But Newspapers Talk Makeup

Something unprecedented is happening on Monday: four female astronauts will be orbiting Earth, setting a new record for the most women in space at the same time. Americans Stephanie Wilson and Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger will be joined by Japanese astronaut Naoko Yamazaki on space shuttle Discovery; American Tracy Caldwell Dyson is already on a Russian capsule heading for a six-month stay at the space station. Cool.

Not so cool: one newspaper has decided to take an "Outer Space . . . For Girls!" viewpoint on Yamazaki's journey. To see what this has to do with beauty, keep reading.

This is the first space voyage for Yamazaki, who will be only the second Japanese woman to enter outer space. Unfortunately, a story in The Daily Yomiuri overlooks her master's degree in aerospace engineering and instead speculates on her grooming routine. (Heaven forbid a woman look less than glam while fulfilling a historic space-exploration mission.)

In addition to her primary mission, Yamazaki has other things to keep in mind. As space activities are shown for all the world to see via the Internet and other media, many female astronauts still make a point of putting on makeup.

The story goes on to discuss what cosmetics she may want to pack. (Eye shadow is allowed in space; loose powder is not.) While there's nothing wrong with packing lipstick, it seems ridiculous to focus on zero-gravity primping instead of Yamazaki's considerable accomplishments. She hasn't brought up her grooming routine in interviews; instead, she's discussed her hope to inspire young women to pursue science careers.

Maybe she will pack lipstick, maybe she won't. Thing is, it shouldn't matter. "Any task performed by astronauts can be done irrespective of gender differences," Yamazaki has said. Let's hope future news profiles hear what she's saying and leave out the lipstick speculation.

Source: NASA

Join The Conversation
shayela shayela 7 years
Bella, this is the best Sugar article ever.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Personally, I think part of stomping out sexist attitudes involves calling them out. Ignoring them doesn't make them magically disappear.
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I could see this article in Cosmo, but not in a legitimate newspaper.
GummiBears GummiBears 7 years
Just wow. Talk about being insensitive and dare I say sexist.
Beauty Beauty 7 years
Yes, the "looks first, accomplishments second" attitude is everywhere. It always bothers me, but this story especially angered me. I mean, we're talking about a literal rocket scientist, and the story is concerned with what makeup she'll wear? Excuse me while I tear my hair out. I didn't watch the Olympics, but I heard that they were pretty looks-focused, which is gross. Some Olympians teamed up with beauty brands for promotion, so I can see why *some* talked about makeup and skin care. (We were approached by MAC, for instance, to see if we wanted to talk shop with Olympians. Of course.) But aside from those athletes, yeah, looks have nothing to do with their skill, and it's backward and sexist to focus on that instead of their talent and hard work. It does irritate me when, in cases like this one, cosmetics have NOTHING to do with what's going on. Yamazaki didn't put herself out there for that, didn't broach the topic herself, and has shown no signs of interest in the subject. Yet the journalist who wrote that piece assumed that a female astronaut would be worried about how she looks. So sexist.
hazelberry hazelberry 7 years
It is as much of women fault as it is the journalists'. Who helps feeding the view that women obsessed about make-up and skin care and all that? We do. I do. There is a long way for us to show that we can have all the shabang on our face and still fly in zero gravity.
runningesq runningesq 7 years
It's not, Sugar -- it's the same thing for ALL women --- be them presidentail candidates, Olympic hopefuls, or astronauts. Ridiculous.
Sugar917 Sugar917 7 years
What I want to know is how is this any different from focusing on the female athletes' makeup at the Olympics? These are all women who have worked considerably hard for their positions and the only difference I see is that the astronauts have more intellectual training while the Olympians focus only on physical training. Yet, there are still articles talking about what makeup athletes use when training? And I understand moisturizer prevents windburn/sunburn, etc, but I've seen articles focused on makeup, not skincare, during training.
Rigor-Mortis Rigor-Mortis 7 years
THIS is why I love this blog. Great post. P.S.: I'm totally in love with Yamazaki's response, because what I normally hear from women in her situation is something like "OMFG, yes I will wear lipstick! God forbid people think I'm a LESBIAN for having a typically masculine job and not wearing a bunch of cosmetics!"
lizlee89 lizlee89 7 years
uggh; this is so stupid. however, I will say that part of the problem is people, including women, harp on and on about "the first woman" this, "the first woman" that. yes; it is significant, but it's no wonder people focus on trivial details that are downright offensive...
bryseana bryseana 7 years
Typical. When Hilary was running for president all anybody wanted to talk about was her pant suit. Seems like women will almost always be remarked on their looks first.
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