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TravelWhy Airline Beauty Standards Are Still Stuck in the Past

22:45  10 april  2019
22:45  10 april  2019 Source:   cntraveler.com

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Outside of the U.S., airlines like KLM, Ethiopian Airlines , Alitalia, Air India, and Bangkok Airways have introduced uniforms with pant options for all in the last five years; they can now But despite this incremental change, several international airlines still have stricter beauty and grooming standards

The airline has deemed the Singapore Girl so integral to the carrier’s image that despite criticism, Singapore Airlines will stick with it, even with an upcoming brand refresh rolling out this year. The Bahamas want you to know they are still open for business, according to a report by My Sunny Coast.

Why Airline Beauty Standards Are Still Stuck in the Past© Getty

Last month, Aer Lingus and Virgin Atlantic announced they would be modifying their dress codes and no longer require female flight attendants to wear makeup. Pants, which were once available only by special request, would be given to all as a standard uniform option. Virgin Atlantic, in a statement, called these moves "a significant change for the aviation industry." But just how significant are fresh faces and pants? The answer: It depends on where you are—and whom you’re asking.

In the U.S., flight attendant standards have evolved significantly since eligibility for the job was restricted by age, gender, and marital status in the 1940s and '50s. John Hill, Assistant Director of Aviation at San Francisco International Airport’s Museum, says that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under Title VII helped women start challenging (and slowly overturning) restrictions based on gender discrimination.

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The airline has deemed the Singapore Girl so integral to the carrier’s image that despite criticism, Singapore Airlines will stick with it, even with The carrier has been doing something right: It’s been voted the world’s best international airline for all but one of the past 30 years in our annual Readers’

In the U.S., flight attendant standards have evolved significantly since eligibility for the job was restricted by age, gender, and marital status in the 1940s and '50s. John Hill, Assistant Director of Aviation at San Francisco International Airport’s Museum

“Through their efforts, the airline industry was placed at the forefront of many of the era’s social changes," says Hill, citing pay, gender, race, age, and weight equality as topics the industry was challenged over. But on the appearance and uniform front, the shift to functionality over sex appeal has been slow. "Requirements in grooming or appearance standards have remained in place but have been subject to legal challenge, particularly if they can be seen to have been imposed in a disparate manner between men and women,” he says.

Why Airline Beauty Standards Are Still Stuck in the Past© Nick Ponty/Courtesy Virgin All Virgin Atlantic flight attendants will now have the option to wear pants.

Most U.S. carriers now have similar uniform and appearance requirements for male and female cabin crew. Southwest, which dressed its flight attendants in hot pants during the 1970s, now offers long pants as a uniform option. Makeup isn't required, but "should be professional, conservative, and complement the uniform and the employee's complexion" if worn. (Male flight attendants may only wear bronzer or concealer.) JetBlue doesn’t require makeup, either.

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American Airlines Flight Attendants MUST ONLY Wear New Uniform Beginning 1st March 2020. This is the airline with the worst customer service in the industry. AOL - Ellie Conley.

Asian airlines ’ beauty standards remain stuck in the dark ages. By Mary HuiMarch 9, 2019. Virgin Atlantic’s announcement this week that it would no But it’s not just about bikinis. Singapore Airlines prides itself on its iconic “Singapore Girl.” Created in the 1970s and relatively conservatively-clad in

Delta, United, and American, too, all have similar “beauty” standards based on looking clean and presentable. “We do not have any makeup requirements. Overall, we just ask that our team members present themselves in a clean, well-groomed, neat, and professional manner,” says an American Airlines spokesperson. The messaging from United is the same, though their standards note that "extreme" hairstyles are not permitted. Delta does not require makeup, and says it allows men to wear a female uniform—and vice versa—so long as all of the items are from the same outfit kit.

Outside of the U.S., airlines like KLM, Ethiopian Airlines, Alitalia, Air India, and Bangkok Airways have introduced uniforms with pant options for all in the last five years; they can now be requested on British Airways, too. But despite this incremental change, several international airlines still have stricter beauty and grooming standards standards—whether they’re trying to sell a look and lifestyle or treading more carefully for cultural reasons.

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But why Asian Airlines aren ’t following suit? Some Asian airlines only started allowing its cabin crew to wear glasses and nail art last year. Female staff are still required to wear eyeshadow, lipstick, foundation, and blush at all times in specifically approved shades and to check it at regular intervals

“ Why airline beauty standards are still stuck in the past ” CNTraveler.com. “The smart ageing lessons we can learn from J- Beauty ” Telegraph.co.uk. I also write about beauty and science. I think so many people are interested in science and chemistry, but just haven’t realized it yet!

Why Airline Beauty Standards Are Still Stuck in the Past© Getty Southwest's revealing uniforms in the 1970s.

One such carrier? Singapore Airlines, which has been a brand largely tied to the image of a seemingly flawless female flight attendant since its inception. Just read the airline's very specific “Singapore Girl” backstory: “She was born in the ’70s. A time of fashion, invention, and transformation. Yet she remains timeless across generations. Her beauty, unfading. Her elegance, always in style. Dressed in her signature sarong kebaya, she’s the symbol of Asian hospitality recognized the world over. And she only gets better with age,” the description reads on the airline’s website.

Then, as now, a “Singapore Girl” is always dressed in a Pierre Balmain sarong kebaya, a traditional floor-length skirt and blouse, and sports one of five airline-approved hairstyles: a pixie, a bob, a bun, a French twist, or a French braid. (The women are reportedly told which hairstyle flatters them best; "It's about making the girl as attractive as possible, and her flaws less visible," Amy Ling, the airline's grooming consultant, told Australian Business Traveller in 2017.) Eye shadow should be coordinated with uniform color, which is indicative of rank—blue for flight crew; green for leading stewards; red for chief flight attendants; and purple for in-flight supervisors. Male flight attendants don’t necessarily a free pass either, and have rules around their hair, which must be cut every three weeks and can be no longer than 0.3 cm in the back. Nails, too, must be kept short—no longer than 0.2 cm—and beards and mustaches are not allowed, according to ABT.

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The airline has deemed the Singapore Girl so integral to the carrier’s image that despite criticism, Singapore Airlines will stick with it, even with an upcoming brand refresh rolling out this year. “As we carried out our review it was clear that our underlying branding approach, which consists of the iconic Singapore Girl and an emphasis on customer service as a crucial differentiator, remains current and continues to set us apart in our industry,” the airline noted in February 2019. The carrier has been doing something right: It’s been voted the world’s best international airline for all but one of the past 30 years in our annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

Why Airline Beauty Standards Are Still Stuck in the Past© Getty From left, vintage British Airways and Singapore Airlines uniforms.

Singapore isn’t the only award-winning airline in the spotlight for its decades-old rules. Last year, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific granted approval for its female flight attendants to start wearing pants after employees complained that the skirts were too short and made it difficult to perform certain job functions, like putting luggage in overhead bins. The airline's skirts-only policy had been in place since the carrier was founded in 1946. “The stereotype of the flight attendant is very old-style already: looking pretty, full make-up, and wearing a skirt. It is a good time to have a revamp of our image,” said Vera Wu Yee-mei, chairwoman of the Cathay Pacific Flight Attendants Union. Still, the change hasn’t come immediately: it could take three years for the airline to refresh its uniform, according to the South China Morning Post.

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Dubai-based Emirates, another award-winning airline, also closely controls hairstyles (either a French twist or a bun), requires female flight attendants wear an "Emirates red" lipstick with lipliner, and sets guidelines for eyeshadow and nail color, which must be clear, a French manicure, or red. The iconic red Emirates hat—which has been used by crew since the airline's inception in 1985—incorporates a white silk scarf reminiscent of a veil, worn by many Muslim women for religious purposes. Says an airline spokesperson, "We are an international airline based in the Middle East and expect our uniform to be conservative and respectful to the area where we live."

Abu Dhabi-based Etihad has also approved specific makeup color palettes, meant to match skin tone and complement the airline’s purple Ettore Bilotta uniforms; as does Doha-based Qatar Airways, which made headlines in recent years after an investigation found the airline was firing female flight attendant who became pregnant. (Qatar Airways has since changed its policy, and female flight attendants who become pregnant are now given temporary jobs on the ground.)

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But like most things, beauty and uniform standards for flight attendants aren’t just about appearance alone. You can’t talk about them without examining a whole lot of other cultural and societal norms, says Dr. Sylvia Maier, a professor of global gender studies at NYU.

“The debate about flight attendant uniforms brings together four, as I see it, equally legitimate issues: a woman’s (or man’s) right to dress as she/he wishes while on the job, the principle of non-discrimination between male and female flight attendants, the desire of a company to sell their brand and project a particular image, and safety and security needs,” says Maier.

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Though Maier points out that all businesses—airlines included—have a right to determine their brand image within the contours of the law, she says that the key is finding a balance between maintaining a brand’s uniform image, the ability of flight attendants to express themselves as individuals, and the right of flight attendants to not be subject to arbitrary rules relating to physical appearance. Across the board, though, she says a greater shift is necessary.

“Ultimately, however, what really needs to happen is a fundamental rethink of how society—and corporations—view women and women’s bodies: not as commodities but as human beings to be valued for who they are, for their talents and achievements,” she says.

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