Friday, 23 August 2013

The Nurse Stewardess and the Rebel Airline

In the 1930s, "the" new job was created for women: the stewardess. She became to US-American girlhood what policemen, pilots, and cowboys had become to US-American boyhood. Ellen Church, a nurse and trained pilot who wanted to work for the airlines but could not since airlines did not consider hiring women as pilots, proposed hiring nurses - an idea that among others led to the feminisation of the cabin service. From the start, the history of this profession was marked by a restriction to white, young, single, slender, and attractive women ... for a long time. Some airlines only hired single women as marriage would detract their devotion to serving passengers and in addition interfere with their wifely duties. In the 1940s, weight rules were taken so seriously that supervisors suspecting a stewardess to have put on an extra pound could ask her to jump on a scale and make sure that she got rid of it (Barry, 2007). And women only was a strict policy - in 1971, a male applicant sued Pan American because he was denied employment (via).

 

Here and then there seem to be some setbacks. Last year, flight attendants of an airline complained because they were told not to put on more weight. Another airline requires even teeth, a husband and children ... Nevertheless, situation, image and job description have changed, the former stewardess became a flight attendant, some airlines have raised the age limit for recruits to 45 years, since 1980 the median age of flight attendants in the US rose from 30 to 44 (via).

In 1965, Emilio Pucci (1914-1992) designed the so-called Space Bubble Helmet for the "rebel airline" Braniff Airlines. The glass bubble domes were supposed to protect from rain. Braniff Airlines on YouTube: e.g. The End of the Plain Plane here, the envisioned future here and the Air Strip here (photos via and via).

 

Barry, K. (2007) Femininity in Flight. A History of Flight Attendants. Duke University Press

14 comments:

  1. I need such a helmet for work! Great way to walk my toy fishes, too. ;-)

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  2. Abbey Winterburn23 August 2013 at 07:55

    Great pics!! Good morning, Laura.

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    1. Thank you, Abbey. And have a nice weekend!

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  3. The Braniff clip from the 60s! I watched it already twice. Great, Laura!

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    1. It does have some "addictive properties" ;-)
      Thank you, Tim!

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  4. Great posting, I really like the video clips, lovely find. Thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Kenneth. The one on what future would look like is my favourite clip.

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  5. You stole the show with this!!! Right, great find!

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  6. This reminds me of some costumes in Kubrick's 'A Space Odyssey', sweet find indeed! You always manage to have this superdry retro space touch to you articles. Love it!

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    1. Dear Sam, thank you so much for your sweet and kind feedback. I'm really happy to hear you like the retro space touch!

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  7. Love the commercials. A great ride into the past's future.

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    1. The 60s and future - a wonderful combination. Thank you for commenting, Macy.

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