Just because you are up above the clouds discovering the unknown doesn’t mean you might not want a quick makeup touch-up, right? Well, believe it or not, history shows that engineers in the ’70s thought so too, and that’s why they assumed that providing female astronauts with glam kits while they explored space would be a great idea.
The NASA History Office recently shared a photo on Twitter of cosmetics placed in a yellow makeup case. The kit included compartments for mascara, lipstick, and blush. Accompanying the photo was the caption “Sally Ride: ‘The engineers at NASA, in their infinite wisdom, decided that women astronauts would want makeup — so they designed a makeup kit… You can just imagine the discussions amongst the predominantly male engineers about what should go in a makeup kit.’” Since the post went up, conversation surrounding the topic has reignited, and the post has been retweeted more than 900 times.
Sally Ride: "The engineers at NASA, in their infinite wisdom, decided that women astronauts would want makeup – so they designed a makeup kit… You can just imagine the discussions amongst the predominantly male engineers about what should go in a makeup kit." #RideOn #Classof78 pic.twitter.com/dNZ51cWELH
— NASA History Office (@NASAhistory) January 16, 2018
Reacting to Ride’s thoughts on space makeup, many chimed in with their thoughts. One person pointed out, “It cost how much per ounce to send something up in the shuttle and they prioritized makeup?” Another joked, “unthinkable to orbit the earth without lipstick.”
It cost how much per ounce to send something up in the shuttle and they prioritized makeup?!
— Violet Byrne (@TheVioletByrne) January 16, 2018
I know you're joking but you got me wondering. This study says $272,000 per kilo in 2017 dollars: https://t.co/Lx8U9IaHw2
— Noah Wolfe (@NoahWolfe) January 16, 2018
Make up in space? Stunned to silence here. Wow.
— HelenLundströmErwin (@Helensbooks) January 16, 2018
My dad welcomed her as the NASA official when her first flight landed. As I remember, she didn’t wear makeup and she hated the press asking her about it.
— marguerite (@chicspace) January 17, 2018
@MGR16 unthinkable to orbit the earth without lipstick
— Lisa Fenwick (@fenwick_lisa) January 18, 2018
I love the lunacy of handing Sally Ride a space makeup kit and being like here! We did this for you!
— Erin Blakemore (@heroinebook) January 16, 2018
Ride, who became the first American woman in space in 1983, was interviewed by journalist and feminist Gloria Steinem and discussed how the media would often ask her sexist questions such as the types of makeup products she brought into space. “They didn’t care about how well prepared I was to operate the [Space Shuttle] arm or deploy communication satellites.” She also recalled how engineers focused on how many tampons she would need for a week. “Is 100 the right number?” they asked. She replied, “No. That would not be the right number.”
While makeup wasn’t a primary concern for Ride, other female astronauts, such as Margaret Rhea Seddon, felt differently. In a blog post, Seddon discusses different issues that came up when women were first accepted in NASA’s Astronaut Corps, elaborating on the design of adult diapers, underwear, and makeup. She wrote, “Some of the women Astronauts never wore makeup anyway, so they said adamantly ‘NO!’ Some of us did. Was this to be a majority rule decision?”
Seddon continued, “I spoke up for the minority. If there would be pictures taken of me from space, I didn’t want to fade into the background so I requested some basic items.”
I doubt Sally Ride used it given this story but according to Rhea Seddon, she (Dr Seddon) did and so did others. To each their own.
— Astro (@AstroMint) January 16, 2018
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