IWF and the mile-high club

Amanda blogs on a sickening op-ed by Charlotte Allen from the “independent” women’s forum about longing for the days when air travel was a bastion of sexism: Why are Airline Flight Attendents so Awful — and so Ugly? (yes that is actually the title). An excerpt:

Frankly, even as a woman, I miss the old sexist days, when stewardesses were stewardesses: pretty young things in cute mini-suits and little heels who oozed attention onto everyone–because who knew? They might end up marrying one of the passengers … Why does feminism have to mean the triumph of the ugly and the surly?

I’m too disgusted to comment further — and I think Amanda covered it exceptionally well, so head over to Pandagon and check out her post.

And although this is may be trite and terrible, head over to Redneck Feminist and sneak a peak at what us awful man-haters have apparently done to Charlotte Allen. Without feminism, the poor gal would probably look more like Elizabeth Hurley, right?

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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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27 Responses to IWF and the mile-high club

  1. mutant cat says:

    It comes across to me as bullshit! What woman would write that? Even non-sexist women have reasons to not exactly like being served by young and sexy women, particularly if they are travelling with their husband. Sure it’s nice to have friendly service, but to a woman the age and attractiveness, length of skirt and heel height should be irrelevent. I think she’s just trying to impress the boys by showing how anti-feminist she can be.

  2. Linnaeus says:

    It obviously didn’t occur to Ms. Allen that airline deregulation has vastly more to do with today’s airline experience than the age of flight attendants. But since the market is now God, it must be something else. Oh, yeah, those nasty feminists.

    Last time I checked, I flew on airlines to get somewhere, not to fulfill sexual fantasies. I can go any number of other places for that.

  3. Mary says:

    It goes beyond feminism… anyone who judges the worth of other humans based upon their looks and cute outfits is just pathetic. Unfortunately, that is the exception instead of the rule in this shallow society.

    Kindness, intelligence, respect, courtesy, manners… none of that matters. It’s all in how you look. This is too true in our everyday life, and too true in the workplace.

  4. Leanne says:

    I have never seen this website before and have been intrigued for the past 20 minutes to see what this thing is all about. It seems like most of her arguments do have to do with judging people based on the way they dress. Also, the way someone looks is definitely a reason why someone is not married:

    Frankly, I don’t see what’s wrong with pointing out that people dress like frumps. And I have no idea–and neither does Klein–whether Reno and Shalala are lesbians. I don’t even care; it’s none of my business. But I do think it’s OK to say that the two of them look like battle-axes (which is probably the main reason neither married) and strike a lot of folks as scary.

    It does not surprise me that Lynne Cheney has voiced her seal of approval at the top of the page.

    If I have never said it, thank you for having this website. Feministe inspires me to revamp my page for something a bit more important than my self-obsessed complaining.

  5. Harrison says:

    Apparently, according to the rocket scientists over at IWF, the reason that flight attendants are “awful” and “ugly” is because of feminism and unions. Those poor airlines, prevented from hiring attractive flight attendants by evil gov’t regulations (imposed by feminists and unions) and union rules, have to compete on price, which has also ruined the quality of air travel in general.


    Do the people over at IWF smoke crack? Or are they just so mind-bogglingly ignorant and blinkered that to them, everything is part of the Evil Liberal Conspiracy?

    I think it’s also interesting how right wingers love to call feminists “man-haters”. But with some of the things the right wingers say about women, they sure sound like women-haters…

  6. Ravenmn says:

    Sometime in the mid 1980s I worked with a group of women to sponsor a trip by bell hooks to talk about feminism and her latest books. At the time, her picture was not easily available. One of the women who had agreed to meet her plane asked, “How will I know you?”

    Her response: “I’ll be the only black woman on the plane.” And she was right.

    I don’t have the statistics to back me up, but I’m guessing that the average airplane passenger is upper middle class and white. And those folks have certain expectations that are meaningless to the rest of us.

    But, Jill, I don’t understand the post over at Redneck Feminist. Are people making fun of the writer’s looks?

  7. Jedmunds says:

    I don’t get that post at redneck feminist either. I mean I get it. I just thinks it’s more insidious than funny.

  8. Jill says:

    Charlotte Allen claims that flight attendents don’t fit current American beauty standards, that this is a bad thing, and that it’s the fault of feminism. The post at Redneck Feminism points out that Allen doesn’t fit those beauty norms, either; it’s not to say that her views are invalid because of her looks, just that it’s ironic that she should hold the view that “pretty girls do the job better” when she’s no spring chicken herself.

    I’m not trying to say that Charlotte Allen is ugly and therefore what she says doesn’t count. But her view is that women who are older than 25 and who don’t fit a narrow physical standard shouldn’t hold certain jobs. I’m pointing out that she doesn’t fit the very standard she sets, and I’m not sure she’d like it so much if she were to lose her job because of her physical appearance.

    Like I said, it’s a little trite, and I feel almost guilty for finding it funny. But sometimes, a taste of one’s own medicine is well-deserved.

  9. Yes, Jill sums it up well.

    Charlotte Allen is counting on feminists being too nice and politically correct to stoop to her level. And she is generally correct. I call it ‘feminist chivalry’.

    But I’m not nice or chivalrous or politically correct. (Well, at least my blog persona isn’t.) I think women who are sexist deserve sexist treatment themselves. Why not? It’s what they say they want.

    So I guess I’d like to serve as a sort of guilty pleasure for y’all. Get this… Charlotte Allen visited my blog and saw the entry. Heheh.

  10. Amanda says:

    I think you were justified, Redneck, because you weren’t doing the usual judging women by their looks thing. You weren’t saying Allen shouldn’t work because of her looks but precisely that she shouldn’t deny other women what she isn’t denied for that reason.

  11. flea says:

    RF – Did Ms. Allen send you a pouting e-mail?

  12. Blitzgal says:

    Holy crap, her response (in the IWF mailbag linked above) is “at least I don’t look like Betty Friedan and Andrea Dworkin?!” Talk about missing the point entirely. Sheesh. And totally unrelated to this…Andrea Dworkin died? I had no idea. I still vividly remember reading her statement that “all heterosexual sex is rape” in college and just being blown away. I didn’t fully agree with her theories, but that lady had some ovaries on her.

  13. I emailed her Saturday and saw (via sitemeter) that she had followed the link I sent. But I was very surprised to see that she acknowledged it in the Inkwell!

    I was not surprised, however, that she lied about me altering the photo. I have assured her that I got the photo from Dallas News and if the photo was altered, it was the fault of that damn liberal media bias.

  14. Amanda says:

    I don’t recall Dworkin ever appointing herself a judge of beauty, so it’s not really a fair comparison.

  15. Jedmunds says:

    Like I said, I get it. And you’re welcome to your point of view. But me, I’m too taxed by excercising restraint to really discuss it.

    Sometimes fighting stupid with stupid just makes everyone stupid.

  16. lou says:

    My mother became a flight attendant at age 55 because she could. She’d been laid off as a purchasing agent at the hospital she worked at, probably for ageist reasons and decided, what the hell? She couldn’t become a flight attendant in the 1950s when she applied because at 5’7″ she was too tall. Pilots fight each other to have her on their flights because of her maternal warmth. They prefer her to the cute, young things. She gets lots of praise from customers. And (unfortunately) she’s a full-blooded Red Stater. I’m tempted to send her Charlotte’s little diatribe. She is getting more and more disenchanted with those wealthy white businessmen who seem to think she’s a servant and treat her as such. Who knows, maybe this will turn her Blue!
    The horror stories she could tell about passengers. It’s not surprising the “help” is surly.

  17. Chris Clarke says:

    Andrea Dworkin died? I had no idea. I still vividly remember reading her statement that “all heterosexual sex is rape” in college and just being blown away.

    She never actually said that.

    I didn’t fully agree with her theories, but that lady had some ovaries on her.

    That’s for sure.

  18. badgerbag says:

    Oh for crying out loud. Am tempted to write a horrifying parody version asking whatever happened to good old Uncle Tom.

    It’s too perfect and too awful that non-perky unpantyhosed women are the enemy, so much more than things like the war…. gosh, that war and those security checks sure are annoying, but how much more so, not being smiled at by service workers! How dare the low class not be perky and cute, available, smiling, and presenting like baboons in heat…

    Slaves are not allowed bad moods, remember!

  19. Pingback: Pandagon

  20. mythago says:

    pretty young things in cute mini-suits and little heels who oozed attention onto everyone

    Did somebody accidentally knock on her closet door?

  21. Ravenmn says:

    You know what frightens me most is something that I think Redneck’s post misses entirely. I think Allen is perfectly willing to admit (and does so in her response) that she should be disqualified from being a flight attendant.

    I think she believes that a moral woman would immediately disqualify herself from all sorts of jobs solely because she dit not happen to be both young and glamorous. It’s the same concept that told all those Rosie the Riveters to quit their jobs once the men returned from war. Anyone else get that feeling or am I way off here?

    Badgetbar wrote:

    Oh for crying out loud. Am tempted to write a horrifying parody version asking whatever happened to good old Uncle Tom.

    Now you’re talking! In fact, Allen wrote:

    But mightn’t I be allowed to hanker every now and then for the glamorous days of yore when even coach passengers donned their best suits for traveling and were waited on hand and foot by beautiful, smartly dressed people?

    “Oh Ashley, Ashley, I do so miss my life at Tara,” sighed Charlotte. “Mammy, do get my another Mint Julip before I fade away!”

  22. Julee says:

    As a lactivist, Charlotte Allen has been on my s-list for a while. But I was truly taken aback by what she wrote about flight attendents. I suggest she stick to this airline.

  23. Perhaps, Ravenmn, but I still think Ms. Allen had her feelings hurt, even if she does “know her place” as she claims. She went to great lengths to describe herself as attractive (before I exposed her nasty photo, heheh). As soon as that photo went up, she backed down — but still had to validate herself by claiming that her husband thinks she’s beautiful.

    Right. I bet he’d rather stick his dick in a bowl of mashed potatoes.

  24. Jill says:

    Remember–for every Charlotte Allen there’s an Ann Coulter!

    …that’s her defense?

  25. Amanda says:

    Well, I have to thank everyone at least for the stellar time everyone at Pandagon had last night quibbling over who’s hotter than hot.

  26. I guess if Ann Coulter proves the rightness of obnoxious conservative views, people like Gloria Steinem and Naomi Wolf prove the rightness of feminism. In fact, let’s not even bother with columns – we can just display photos of pretty women who agree with us, and whoever has the most photos wins.

    And no one’s allowed any more complaints about “Hanoi Jane,” because, you know, looks are everything.

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