Wednesday, September 20, 2006

That's some 40th birthday trip

Anousheh Ansari turned 40 on September 12 and today she's on the International Space Station, as a paying tourist. That's the spirit.

I could have done without all the news reports (including the ones to which I link above) doing major song and dance about her being "the first woman space tourist." Note to news agencies: Somebody being the first woman this or the first woman that is soooo, like, 1970s. You know?

Honestly, I have visions of all sorts of aging feminists running around newsrooms pulling their hair and getting ulcers because they're running out of artificial frontiers to cross. (Is it uncharitable to be looking forward to their retirement?)

Update: I'm not sure I made myself clear in the above. What I want to get across is that since space tourism became a reality after women astronauts became commonplace, there wasn't any idea, as far as I know, of it ever being a men's-only activity. Therefore, to make a big deal out of a woman being a space tourist because she's a woman is either totally contrived enthusiasm (which doesn't seem likely) or else a knee-jerk reaction (which strikes me as more likely, but hardly excusable at a news organization, I think). At any rate, whatever is behind it, I find it rather patronizing, don't you?

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