A flight attendant job does sound pretty fabulous and desirable, and considering they get to travel to all sorts of destinations around the world, stay at hotels and wear those really cute outfits, it’s not that far-fetched to think so.
But on the other hand, airline companies have often been called out for enforcing some pretty sexist rules, which they require for the flight attendants to follow. Things like not being above a certain weight or height, not having “unusual” hair colors or hairstyles, no tattoos, being single, and, of course, being forced to wear makeup.
But one airline company is changing it up on that last one. Virgin Atlantic has just announced that the female cabin crew won’t be required to necessarily wear makeup anymore.
The airline -which has its own shade of lipstick called Upper-Class Red by Bare Minerals – have said that this decision was taken in order to give their staff “more choice on how to express themselves at work.”
The staff may still wear makeup if they desire, but it is no longer required. They have also been told that their makeup should follow “the airline’s suggested color palette.”
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president Mark Anderson said:
“We have been listening to the views of our people and as a result have announced some changes to our styling and grooming policy that support this.”
Yet another change done by the company is that they will now give their female cabin crew a pair of trousers in addition to the standard red uniform of a shirt and skirt. Before that, they had to specifically ask for them if they wanted them.
“Helping people to be themselves is core to our desire to be the most loved travel company,” Anderson said.
According to the Daily Mail, in a 1930s article the requirements for the position of a flight attendant – or as they were called, “hostess” – were “petite, weight 100 to 118 pounds, height 5 feet to 5 feet 4 inches, age 20 to 26 years,” and they had to guarantee they would not marry or become pregnant otherwise they would risk losing their job. Many flight attendants still report sexual harassment and assault while working.
Hopefully, Atlantic Airlines decision will be a new step towards ending the sexualization that female flight attendants face, and have faced for decades.