Of the good, bad and ugly in the Airline Sexism…

By Jennifer Garvey

The rules and regulations for flight attendants have come a long way in the past 40 years or so. Flight attendants in the 1960’s, which consisted mainly of women, had to dress scantily to lure male business men onto their flights. Some airlines even gave the men on board flights little black books to keep the women’s phone numbers in! In this article from NPR it states that recently, flight attendants have been receiving self defense courses. In the post 9/11 era, flight attendants need to be able to defend themselves if any harm would arise on a flight. It’s good to see that flight attendants are receiving training that actually might do some good (as opposed to being taught how to act sexy), they are now learning how to defend themselves if a problem were to arise during a flight. The article even interviews a woman who was hired during the 1960’s and has continued working to date changes along the way. The woman states that when she was hired, she and the other women they were taught to be compliant, gender roles anyone?

In addition to this article, I would like to mention the recent uproar about Southwest Airlinestelling two different women on two different occasions to “cover up” because they were dressed too provocatively (when in reality they were not, see the link to get a view of what the women were wearing.) However, Southwest Airline’s flight attendants used to wear short orange skirts with go-go boots! So it’s alright for the company to exploit it’s own workers years ago, but women who are paying customers, mind you, are being told that their attire is inappropriate, and are given blankets to cover up? These women were traveling between areas in the southern region of the United States where skirts and tee-shirts are needed due to the hot weather down there, (which it was 100 degrees on the days of these flights). Does Southwest expect all women to come in baggy pants and wool sweaters in 100 degree heat on sweltering hot summer days? And what about the men aboard the flight, you can be sure they are wearing shorts and tank tops… why weren’t they given a blanket? Also, Southwest is now trying to make a mockery of what happened by offering “Mini-Skirt” prices. So instead of addressing the problem professionally, they make a joke and exploit the matter more…

Guess who will never be hopping on a Southwest flight?…