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Why dont YOU "just be a flight attendant", man?

Illustration for article titled Why dont YOU just be a flight attendant, man?

Hello there, lovely people! I would like to take a moment to muse randomly about the industry in which I work.


I work for a company who screens cargo at the airport. I mostly do admin stuff, like payroll, accounts payable, finance reports, HR, etc. But I also have been learning to screen and book cargo and all the TSA regulatory fun stuff that goes with it.

So as a side effect from that, I have been interacting more with shippers and trucking companies when they come to drop off or pick up their cargo. And since I've been at the counter more lately, like two weeks, tops, I've been asked four times by different people why I don't "just be a flight attendant". It didn't strike me as particularly anything, the first time, but after the third time it happened I wondered, wait a sec, what is going on here?


And then I thought, oh. Duh. Young petite woman working in a primarily male facility in a position that is also usually filled by a man. So these guys ask me this because when they see me in the airline services industry in a position that isn't tailored for women, they ask me why I don't just go take that position that would be more "appropriate" for my gender.

I've also overheard a male coworker talking about flight attendants on a certain airline and joking about how they should go work for an airline that flies 777s and 787s because their airline flies in smaller planes and the flight attendants were all fat (which is why I mentioned my size. Airlines are notorious for discriminating against attendants for weight and looks in general).


I hope that things are getting better for flight attendants. With the Campaign Against Sexism that started in 1997, I believe, it's good to see sexism and discriminatory practices receiving attention, at least, but it is still a huge problem. Assault against flight attendants is a very real thing, too. The only sexism I experience as a part of the airline industry is the kinds of comments I receive, but flight attendants have so much more to deal with than I ever will in this industry.

I also found this book written in 2007 by Drew Whitelegg entitled Working the Skies: The Fast-paced, Disorienting World of the Flight Attendant. There are tons more books out there on this subject but I hadn't heard of this one so I may have to look into it.


Also if anyone is interested, the International Transport Worker's Federation has something called a Sex Doll Poster that they launched as part of their Campaign Against Sexism. It caused quite a ruckus when it came out and you can see a PDF of it here.


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