Flight attendants are probably one of the most maligned segments of our work force. We treat them like servants, they’re repeatedly used as comic fodder in movies and television, and—worst of all—they’re required to dress incredibly well and appear both attractive and happy on the job.
I’ve always been bothered by the latter—the fact that flight attendants have to dress so fashionably and act so perky. It seems somehow unethical to require a person to seem so perfect day in and day out. Isn’t that asking too much? And is there any other respectable job—being a Hooters’ waitress does not count as a respectable job—that asks its employees to smile and be supportive throughout their workday and to do all of that while also wearing a pencil skirt, panty hose, and fabulous heels?
I don’t think so.
And we all know all too well that, in years past, the flight attendant industry has been plagued by instances of discrimination based on a woman’s looks or weight.
For this reason, I’ve always felt like a friend to the flight attendants of the world, a supporter of their rights if you will, so when I saw a headline about flight attendants challenging an aspect of their uniform, I immediately clicked on the attached article.
As it turns out, some of the flight attendants Delta acquired in their takeover of Northwest Airlines are fighting for their right to wear the uniform recently designed by Richard Tyler. Apparently, these fashionable red dresses were only made in so many sizes, thereby making it impossible for the curviest flight attendants to wear them. To add insult to injury, the flight attendants claim that the sizes of the dress are not even close to accurate, meaning that if you normally wear a size fourteen (like Meryl Streep), you’d need a size eighteen in the Tyler dress.
(The irony of this slight is that the Tyler dress appears to be a knee-length wrap dress, which I have found to be one of the most flattering things a curvy woman can wear.)
In my opinion, this move reeks of fat-ism and is another example of our society trying to send the message that larger women are not as attractive as smaller women, which we all know is simply not true. (Please see my gallery of gorgeous women to the left if you need proof of this fact.)
And if we let this go, I have to wonder what’s next. Will Delta start making flight attendants who don’t have perfect upturned noses wear masks??? Will getting a Delta boarding pass become as difficult as getting into the hottest New York dance club??? Will there be a red velvet rope and discriminating bouncers lined up to inspect your ensemble and makeup at the gate???
Of course, none of these things would ever actually happen, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s wrong to tell one group of employees that they can’t be treated the same as their peers, that they don’t have the same rights or perks.
Thankfully, the Association of Flight Attendants is having none of it. They’ve filed a grievance with Delta in order to make them offer the dresses in all sizes so that every flight attendant can wear them—no matter what their size. And I applaud this organization for standing up for the right of ALL of their members to wear this fashionable uniform.
Unfortuantely, Delta’s only response so far has been to say that they don’t know why the dress isn’t available in larger sizes and that there have been “few complaints.” The message is that if only a few curvy women are being kept from wearing the dress, then it’s not a big deal. But from my point of view, if one female flight attendant is not allowed to wear the dress, then all of us—men and women alike—suffer because of the dangerous precedent it sets, which basically sends the message that it’s acceptable to discriminate against larger people.
So I propose that we all let Delta know that this practice is unacceptable, upping their complaints from a “few” to a few hundred. To do that, go to this website:
Your complaint doesn’t have to be long. Just tell them that their practice of making the Richard Tyler flight attendant dress only available in smaller sizes is unacceptable and needs to be changed. (Feel free to copy my words if you’d like.)
The bottom line is that ALL of Delta’s flight attendants should have the right to wear Richard Tyler’s amazing red dress. After all, they’re the ones who have to deal with Sharon Stone when she starts screaming at them about wanting to bring an oversize bag on board. Doesn’t that earn them the right to this one little luxury?