60s Flight Attendants Were Meant To Be Sexy And Lonely

60s Flight Attendants Were Meant To Be Sexy And Lonely
60s Flight Attendants Were Meant To Be Sexy And Lonely

Video: 60s Flight Attendants Were Meant To Be Sexy And Lonely

Video: The Sexy Flight Attendants Of The 1960s-1980s. [32 Photos] 2022, December

In the 1960s, working as a flight attendant in the United States was like serving a gentlemen's club at high altitude, with mandatory sexy attire and mild gender discrimination.


Before being a flight attendant was seen as a serious profession, the girls pacing between the rows of chairs in the 1960s and 1970s were viewed solely as cocktail carriers. At a time when airlines were struggling to fill planes and stay afloat, one of the most effective marketing tools was the idea of ​​dressing up flight attendants in sexy short dresses.

To become a flight attendant, a girl had to have strictly defined qualities. First, only a single high school or university graduate could apply for such a position, and no one had even heard of male flight attendants at that time. In addition, the girls had to be from 155 to 179 centimeters tall, weigh strictly in the range from 47 to 61 kilograms and have a charming smile. The girls had to be neat, friendly and willing to wear short dresses and high heels all the time. Those who passed the selection and got into training were also sent to trainings in beauty salons so that they could learn how to do hair and apply makeup.

This brochure, for example, focuses on the daily life of a flight attendant. The point is that it is a rather harmless profession, which involves serving food to passengers and enjoying daily travel to cities such as New York, Mexico City and Chicago.

Passenger flights in those years were not like modern ones: dishes were served on real tables with tablecloths and china, people were allowed to move around the cabin, and alcoholic beverages flowed like a river. Back then, the passengers were mostly young businessmen, and advertising campaigns were aimed at bringing them on board.

Largely because of this, airlines deliberately exploited male fantasies about sexy flight attendants. From the 1960s to the mid-1970s, advertising brochures - such as those issued by Pacific Southwest Airlines - contained explicit, overt sexual connotations. The covers depicted groups of openly dressed flight attendants accompanied by the words “PSA Gives You A Lift” (“PSA cheers you up!” Or “PSA will give you a lift!”).

At a certain point, the Italian designer Emilio Pucci even developed a special uniform that could change with a slight movement of the hand, becoming more and more frank: the girls began flying in coats and helmets, and by the time of landing they remained somewhere between long psychedelic underwear and silk trousers.

One of the most controversial advertising campaigns was carried out by the airline Fly National and subsequently led to protests by the American National Organization of Women. The ad featured a pretty stewardess named Cheryl and carried the slogan “Fly me”. Members of the National Organization of Women staged a protest, demanding that Fly National use the image of a man in addition to the image of a woman and the image of a man in an advertising campaign. However, Cheryl Fioravanti herself then did not agree with the protesters, becoming an excellent illustration of the fact that among the flight attendants there are women of all kinds of moods.

After the protests, Cheryl spoke publicly and spoke about her views on the activities of the women's rights movement: “I am scared and I do not agree with the ideas of the women's rights movement.I don’t think that household chores should be shared with my spouse, because I’m quite happy with the order of things in which I’m busy in the kitchen and my husband pays the bills.”

Cheryl's point of view was much more widespread than you might imagine: ex-flight attendant in the 1960s, Sonny Morrow Sims revealed that she took the job because she wanted to travel, not become a teacher, nurse, or someone's secretary instead. …

Many of the women who became flight attendants did not want an average life for themselves, the course of which could be predicted for years to come, and airline recruiting agencies were well aware of this. In career booklets of that time, one could often come across slogans like “A wedding is good! But shouldn't you first see the world?"

Still, the profession of a flight attendant at that time was not as attractive as you might think at first glance. Many girls have had to experience unwanted experiences as a result of the sheer amount of alcohol on offer, the male dominance of passengers, and the ubiquitous sexually suggestive airline advertisements. All this, coupled with the classic masculine fantasies that have become, put into the heads of some clients the idea that some kind of "adventure" awaits them during the flight.

Paola Kane, in her 1974 article, says: "If a girl has been flying for some time, it is likely that she really hopes that the male passengers will not flirt with her, get drunk and make scenes with her." Despite this, the use of sexuality for marketing purposes was still one of the main ingredients of this profession. Published in 1967, the book "Coffee, Tea or Me?" (Coffee, Tea, or Me?), A bestselling memoir of fictional stewardesses, further popularized fantasies of stewardess affairs among men, as well as the illusion of having sex with a stewardess as another onboard service.

Despite potential cultural implications, the flight attendant uniforms in the 1960s were cool. Without a doubt, her design unfortunately made many women the target of sexual harassment and the exploitation of female sexuality, but many of the girls were able to feel more confident getting their dream job and proudly pacing through the terminals to the airplanes. In the end, however, cuts in air travel budgets and tougher flight safety regulations played a role: increasing the availability of air travel ended the era of cocktail hawkers in short skirts and fishnet stockings.

See also:

Fasten your seat belts: stewardess revelations about how we fly

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