The first American woman in space said this was the dumbest question the media ever asked her
But despite her training and expertise, she still received sexist and insulting questions from reporters, as the PBS Digital series "Blank on Blank" highlighted in a recovered interview Ride gave to political activist and equality spokeswoman Gloria Steinem in the summer of 1983. The interview was just months after Ride's launch into space.Ride spoke frankly about the disparaging comments.Advertisement
"Really the only bad moments in our training involved the press," Ride told Steinem in 1983. "Whereas NASA appeared to be very enlightened about flying women astronauts, the press didn't appear to be."
Ride said that in nearly every interview, media members asked about bathroom facilities aboard the shuttle; and what kind of makeup she was taking up.
"Without a doubt I think the worst question ... was whether I cried when we got malfunctions in the simulator."This even surpassed the question of whether Ride was going to wear a bra or not, Steinem noted (which Ride said the press didn't ask her directly, but wanted to).Other horrible questions Ride got were: Will the flight affect your reproductive organs? Do you cry when you're under pressure? What do you do when you get your period in space?Advertisement
"I wish that there had been another woman on my flight," Ride said in the interview. "I think it would've been a lot easier."
Check out the entire animated PBS Digital video of Ride's interview with Steinem here: