First female space tourist returns to Earth.

Anousheh Ansari, the first female Muslim and first Iranian-born woman to enter space, returned to Earth on Friday after an 11-day trip on the International Space Station (ISS).
Ansari had a blog which was updated during the course of her trip, described in the news as “girlish writing.� Check out the blog yourself and be the judge. Real girly stuff. Here’s a snippet from her last entry:

But this is no longer only my Quest. It is the duty of every one of you to go beyond just reading and writing on the Space Blog. It is your duty to make sure this excitement, this wave, this wonderful force that has awakened the best in us continues on.
I don’t like to be idealized or become an icon. I’m not special, I just found that light inside me that you all have and got my strength from it. It seems like I found the key to open up your hearts and souls so now you can reach inside and gain strength from there.

Welcome home, Anousheh.

Join the Conversation

  • meg

    do you have the source for the site that said her writing was “girlish?” can we make the conclusion that if she were a man it would be a “memoir” or a “gripping first hand account”?

  • suzie

    from msnbc:
    she’s not only the first muslim-Iranian girl to enter space, she’s also the first paying gal space tourist at the tune of 20 million dollars. yay.
    but we can’t write about a girl without mentioning hotness: Ansari is not the first woman to fly to the space station but Russian news media are paying her the kind of attention usually reserved for starlets, including information on her wardrobe.
    “For Anousheh, we prepared a week’s supply of white women’s underpants of cambric cotton and several undershirts and also some other women’s accessories,” the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Alexander Yarov, director of the Kentavr-Nauka company that makes clothing for cosmonauts, as saying.
    The report said that Ansari was not allowed to take along makeup “but in the opinion of her men colleagues, even without decorative cosmetics she is very attractive and photogenic.”
    double yay.

  • becca

    I followed Anoush’s trip with excitement – not just her vacation to space, but her career up to that point is something to be awestruck by. Many of these articles only passingly point out her and her brother’s financial contribution to the X-Prize, something that spurred the growth of private space tourism enterprise over the last 10 years.
    That said, not to be a downer, but I would like to point out that the space community is a little at odds as to whether or not she is the first female space tourist.
    Several years ago the British had an open competition – a lottery – to select the first British astronaut. The winner was a woman named Helen Sharman. The trip was not paid by the British government, but rather by a collection of British companies. (Some details on the discussion here)
    You could also argue that Anoush is not the first woman to blog from space, that U.S. astronaut Peggy Whitson blogged from the ISS (and many other astronauts have sent daily thoughts back to earth to be distributed via a variety of means).
    Needless to say, none of this really matters, if her trip inspires girls to follow their dreams then good has come from what she has done…

  • Not true

    Meg: “with fans praising her unpretentious, honest and occasionally girlish writing.” found here, in not quite the condescending tone suggested.
    Can not a woman, with all her childhood dreams realised, write with “girlish” glee, the emphasis being on the girl in the woman. Much like a man can be described as “boyish” antics etc … For crying out loud don’t be so hypersensitive, does everything have to be a bloody issue. Why not just celebrate fun of it all and the fact she is a woman.

  • Dan

    On the plus side, “girlish” still has a better connotation than “girly” does. Not true is on to something: there’s nothing wrong with a man acting “boyish,” so I’m not sure what’s supposed to be wrong with a woman acting “girlish.”
    And this reminds me of a Christmas many years ago, when my (male) cousin, upon receiving a gift that particularly excited him, shouted “I’m as giddy as a schoolgirl!” This is the same cousin whom we at one point convinced that Cheerios were really seeds for donut trees.
    Not that he’s stupid. Quite the contrary. He’s grown up to be a very sharp kid, what with the law school and the straight As and all, but he was a wee bit gullible back in the day.

  • Vanessa

    The reason why I posted on her arrival back home was to celebrate the fact that she’s a woman. But that doesn’t mean enforcing gender stereotypes, which the article’s comment seemed to do. It’s merely an observation. Why should her writing about the experience of washing her hair in space and the feeling of weightlessness be considered “girlish” anyway? You may think it’s “hypersensitive,” but I think it’s worth noting.

  • suzie

    definitely worth noting, vanessa. the treatment of her being in space is distinctly bogged down by contexts of “girlishness” that comes with the bag of being a girl mentioned in media. i think it does have condescending undertones; girlish could indicate “excitement” or whatever, but you’d think you could come up with an adjective that wasn’t particularly gender specific in this context of girl goes into space. i’d prefer “boyish,” myself. and it’s not hypersensitive to highlight these things; it’s consciousness raising and that’s important.
    also – there were other female space people up there but she IS the first legit “female space tourist” because she financed it with her own money and not other corporations. it was a personal project. i
    dunno, i kinda which poor people could go to space cus i’m sure a lot of people would, then.

  • The Law Fairy

    “For crying out loud don’t be so hypersensitive, does everything have to be a bloody issue.”
    Um, well, I guess not, Not true… I mean, we could ignore androcentric comments and let them pass without remark (and I think we all do much of the time in everyday life, since pointing out every single one would get exhausting REALLY damn fast)… but then we could also ignore political and social occurrences that threaten women’s equality, because pointing them out makes us seem “bitchy” or “ungrateful” or “ice queens” or whatever the anti-woman insult du jour happens to be.
    So, in short: yes, we could. But that’s not why we’re here.

  • Not true

    As an outsider, it would seem to me, that American culture focuses way too much on negatives regarding everything. Sometimes, if one takes a positive attitude, many times the “offending” party will join in and celebrate from a new perspective.
    I thought you were all here were here to facilitate change for the better, I just happen to think it starts with taking a positive stand where one exists. You could have just said three cheers, and told of the enourmous amount of training and strength of endurance required to achieve this incredible experience.
    As a whole, your society takes way too much issue with everything … and I really think in this instance, this woman is entitled to exhibit a little “girlish glee”, it’s a nice term affectionate even … geez, don’t take all the fun out of life.
    As and exeptionally strong, albeit petite, woman, I have never encountered any negative reponses from any male, they have always enjoyed my “mucking-in” with whatever task is at hand … and yes we laugh a lot, and I probably do so with a healthy dose of “girlish glee”.
    Five generations of women in my family have never, and I mean never, experienced the sort of sexism related in this forum and I can’t help but think that a little blame belongs on the other foot. One sees what they look for.

  • Kaethe

    Not true, while I am delighted that no female in five generations within your family has ever experienced any sort of sexism, I’m not sure what your point is. Since by some enchanted miracle the females of your family have been granted all the rights and privileges traditionally afforded males (what are we talking here, 150-200 years?)that have only quite recently, if at all, accrued to women outside your family, you may not be in a good place to judge sexism. You might want to leave the call of “sexism” to those who haven’t have five enchanted generations, but have instead experienced real, painful, degrading, expensive, dangerous sexism in their own lives.

  • Not true

    See, that’s the problem with this forum, people take a word … and run with it. I said “the sort of sexism related in this forum”, which is why, I suspect a lot of problems are caused by miscommunication and gross assumptions on the part of the listener.
    Ok, maybe I should have said four generations, as I also included my granddaughter, my mistake, but to me she is a valid inclusion as stereotyping of all kinds begins at the “cradle”. Also my culture is one where due to our small numbers (pre ’60s), we had to co-operate or perish, and unfortunately in my family all the males we married, died young, so we had to fend for ourselves.
    American culture (from the outside looking in), appears to be an antagonistic one, all too quick to jump down people’s throats without really listening … yeah, you are all very articulate, fond of espousing text book or media generated “norms” or arguments, but much of what is said lacks real substance, just words, words, words.
    Rarely does anyone here ever acknowledge that perhaps there is a better way of doing things, deconstructing human nature … no, everything has to be negative. Conversely, don’t see trouble when it’s staring you in the face eg disgust displayed governmental monitoring of “uteri” in one “South American” (???), one could see the “writing on the wall”, but no, you lot are too busy jumping up and down to take heed that it was coming soon to a State (s) near you. So whilst the rest of the “westâ€? is over the worst aspects (civil rights) of the abortion issue and moved on, your society’s scenes seem like a blast from the long dim past … marriage only, hetero sex, what’s with that????
    You don’t listen … George Bush’s government and the UN debacle is a prime example … just run rough-shot the rest of the World without stopping to think that you are causing more problems than you are solving. And creating problems, where there need be none. Your culture has an unhealthy dose of “fear” and propaganda whereby you all expect to see the worst … unfortunately a self-fulfilling prophecy.
    You loudly defend your right to freedom of speech etc, but from where I sit … you have none. Because if anyone expresses ideas, that differ from the zeitgeist, woe betide them … look at poor old Darwin. Evolution, such a useful biological tool, yet so misrepresented. Really in this day and age it is a joke.
    At the very least, no person under 40 should have experienced the kind of sexism to which you refer … ergo, perhaps you’re going about it the wrong way … ever consider that!

  • Not true

    You know Kaethe, I am really beginnig to wonder what the hell sort of society you people live in.
    These words of yours reverb through my head experienced real, painful, degrading, expensive, dangerous sexism in their own lives.
    So I thought and thought, honestly, the only incident in my entire life that could remotely resemble sexism occurred maybe 25 years ago when I was dating a foreign guy. I was about to park my car and he offered to reverse park it for me … it wasn’t the fact that he offered, he presumed … needless to say he thought twice the next time before presuming anything. ie toucha my car, I toucha your face!

  • StarDragon The Canadian

    Sigh.I can see myself in a nursing home,muttering to no one in particular”Women,dammit,they’re called women.”

  • EG

    “At the very least, no person under 40 should have experienced the kind of sexism to which you refer … ergo, perhaps you’re going about it the wrong way … ever consider that!”
    So if feminists just focus on the pretty, sparkly positive, men will stop raping women? I don’t see the connection there at all.

  • Not true

    Oh that is just silly. Crap people are just that, crap. Since when did rape have anything to do with sexism, it’s about power, moreover it’s about impotence wanting to exert power, regardless of the setting.
    You’re thinking from the perspective of a “normal” human being, no matter how you try to get your head around it people who rape are just fucked units.

  • Not true

    Oh BTW “pretty, sparkly positive” is a pretty lame sexist comment in and of itself, albeit contrived/purpose designed … who talks like that?
    Postive is about seeing things from a different perspective, and not always taking the offensive. All that achieves is everyone then flogs their point of view and noting is gained.
    And a smile simple means that other recognise you are friend not foe … universal to all cultures (bar one, so I read years ago, New Guinea highlands if I recall). Whether we like it or not, we are still just animals and certain signals (pheromones etc) are innate to our species and we subconsciously repond to cues.