1970s Flight Attendant - AI generated

The Stewardess Rebellion of the 1970s

Flight attendants faced sexualization and unfair hiring practices in the 1970s. They found back in the “Stewardess Rebellion.” Find out more!

In the early 1970s, airlines decided to feature actual working flight attendants in their latest marketing efforts. This was a chance to demonstrate genuine women working hard to provide outstanding hospitality while traveling from airport to airport. That, however, was not the case. Instead, campaigns like National Airlines’ “Fly Me” were born. To boost the number of passengers per trip, these marketing efforts sexualized their female flight attendants. The worst part? It worked! Is it surprising that a “Stewardess Rebellion” was on the rise?

Flight attendants, originally known as stewardesses, were long noted for their glamor and social graces. When the profession began in the 1930s, there weren’t many occupations for women, so adventurous, unmarried (white!) women donned uniforms and flew the friendly skies until they married and had children. However, by the 1960s and 1970s, advertising firms and airlines had joined forces to sell seats with sex appeal… specifically, their stewardesses’ sex appeal. As a result, passenger ridership increased, and airlines profited handsomely. In addition to unfair weight, hair, age, and race restrictions, the women hired were required to wear uniforms with tighter tops and shorter skirts. Something had to give, and the Stewardess Rebellion was born. Watch the video below to learn more: