Here's hoping Russian journalists will blast themselves into 2014 when interviewing accomplished women.
38 year-old Yelena Serova reached the International Space Station today, becoming the first female Russian cosmonaut to blast into space in 17 years. Serova has spent seven years training for the mission.
Seven years - that's over 2,500 days of intense training. The engineer will be at the station for approximately 6 months to perform biophysics and medical experiments.
But reporters focused on sexist and banal topics during a pre-launch press conference and Serova was asked questions better suited for a Hollywood red carpet.
At one point, she was asked if she'd continue to put on makeup in space and if she'll change her hairstyle. Another asked how her daughter will cope with the absence of her mother.
Really reporters? Sigh.
In the past, Serova has been a good sport when peppered with questions focusing on her gender, looks and parenting. She even offered to give a demonstration of washing her hair in space.
But it appears she's had enough.
“Can I ask a question, too: aren’t you interested in the hair styles of my colleagues?” she said at the televised news conference, sitting next to the male astronauts also on the mission.
Ignoring the silliness of asking about hair, post-interview reports mentioned her “dark hair pulled into a tight bun”. (Of course, no one wrote about the male cosmonaut's tresses)
She continued forcefully: “My flight is my job. I feel a huge responsibility towards the people who taught and trained us and I want to tell them: we won’t let you down!”
The International Space Station has not been without women. Most recently American flight engineer Karen Nyberg spent six-months there last year.
The editor of Russian magazine Space news, Igor Marinin claimed that the only reason the first Russian female was sent to space 17 years ago is that the Soviet Union had wanted to win the space race. He then said that Russia stopped using women because they were not seen as “physically strong enough”. At least he didn't mention looks.