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Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780822339465
Author(s): Kathleen M. Barry
Format: Paperback
Year: 2007
Publisher: Duke University Press
Dimensions: 153 x 234 x 20 (w x l x h)
Pages: 304
Series: Radical Perspectives

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Description:
"In her new chic outfit, she looks like anything but a stewardess working. But work she does. Hard, too. "And you hardly know it."" So read the text of a 1969 newspaper advertisement for Delta Airlines featuring a picture of a brightly smiling blond stewardess striding confidently down the aisle of an airplane cabin to deliver a meal.

From the moment the first stewardesses took flight in 1930, flight attendants became glamorous icons of femininity. For decades, airlines hired only young, attractive, unmarried white women. They marketed passenger service aloft as an essentially feminine exercise in exuding charm, looking fabulous, and providing comfort. The actual work that flight attendants did—ensuring passenger safety, assuaging fears, serving food and drinks, all while conforming to airlines' strict rules about appearance—was supposed to appear effortless; the better that stewardesses performed by airline standards, the more hidden were their skills and labor. Yet today flight attendants are acknowledged safety experts; they have their own unions. Gone are the no-marriage rules, the mandates to retire by thirty-two. In "Femininity in Flight," Kathleen M. Barry tells the history of flight attendants, tracing the evolution of their glamorized image as ideal women and their activism as trade unionists and feminists.

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