The other truly transforming business invention of the first quarter of the century, besides the car, was the airplane–another industry whose plainly brilliant future would have caused investors to salivate. So I went back to check out aircraft manufacturers and found that in the 1919-39 period, there were about 300 companies, only a handful still breathing today. Among the planes made then–we must have been the Silicon Valley of that age–were both the Nebraska and the Omaha, two aircraft that even the most loyal Nebraskan no longer relies upon. Move on to failures of airlines. Here’s a list of 129 airlines that in the past 20 years filed for bankruptcy. Continental was smart enough to make that list twice. As of 1992, in fact–though the picture would have improved since then–the money that had been made since the dawn of aviation by all of this country’s airline companies was zero. Absolutely zero. Sizing all this up, I like to think that if I’d been at Kitty Hawk in 1903 when Orville Wright took off, I would have been farsighted enough, and public-spirited enough–I owed this to future capitalists–to shoot him down. I mean, Karl Marx couldn’t have done as much damage to capitalists as Orville did. Warren Buffett
Airlines have created value for their customers but not that much for their owners: the profit margin after 1970 has been only 0.1 per cent. Three in four airlines are privately owned but investors have more profitable alternatives. Airlines tend to put blame for poor results on external factors, such as high fuel prices, terrorist attacks or airport charges. However, the industry is in chronic disequilibrium with permanent overcapacity. Overcapacity is caused by many factors, including government policies and ease of acquiring new aircrafts (often with export credit guarantees by governments). This is reinforced by the obsession of airlines for higher market shares, often leading to falling yields. Passenger load factors have markedly risen during recent years, but at the expense of collapsing fares. ILO
Amotz Zahavi (1975), de l’Université de Tel Aviv, a trouvé que la valeur de certains ornements liés à la compétition sexuelle chez les animaux dépend de leur impact sur les chances de survie de leur porteur. L’idée est simple : une gazelle qui perd de l’énergie en faisant des bonds alors qu’elle est poursuivie par un lion n’est pas folle, elle prouve qu’elle a les moyens de le faire. Plus elle saute haut, plus ça lui coûte (de l’énergie) et plus elle prouve sa valeur. La sanction est directe : qu’elle se surestime et elle sera dévorée. C’est comme le Handicap (“Hand in Cap” = “Main au Chapeau”) de certains sports : seuls les meilleurs peuvent se permettre de gagner en s’imposant des contraintes supplémentaires et cette preuve aura d’autant plus de valeur qu’elle sera coûteuse. L’application est générale et les exemples sont innombrables : rouler en Rolls plutôt qu’en Golf prouve qu’on a les moyens de dépenser au delà de l’utilitaire (le coût ici est financier) et tout le marché du luxe bénéficie de ce besoin de “costly display” (c’est le terme). Le “costly display” a aussi été cité pour expliquer la mode de la minceur dans les pays riches, le bikini et la mode sexy, la poignée de main (prise de risque en l’éloignant de l’épée), le sourire honnête (…) et… la fortune des médecins urgentistes ! Neuromonaco
La compétition sexuelle est à l’intérieur de chaque sexe et l’habillement sert aux femmes d’abord à se positionner entre elles, le regard des hommes n’étant qu’un moyen dans cette guerre (…) Les mannequins Haute Couture ont des corps et des visages beaucoup plus masculins que les mannequins lingerie et les “pornstars” : en fait elles ressemblent à des garçons adolescents (…) La préférence des hommes pour des femmes plus ou moins “pulpeuses” est directement influencée par leur situation économique perçue : les plus riches préfèrent les plus minces (…) Les hommes ne privilégient la beauté du visage que pour des relations à long terme. Neuromonaco
De nombreuses études (…) montrent qu’il y a un lien entre la situation de séduction et l’achat de produits liés au statut : c’est l’affichage du statut (le “display”) pour montrer qu’on a suffisamment de ressources disponibles pour se permettre d’en dépenser sur des produits inutiles (encore le Handicap de Zahavi). L’effet est plus fort chez les célibataires pour les achats d’impulsion et Griskevicius et ses collègues (2011) ont même trouvé que le sex-ratio avait un impact direct : plus il y a d’hommes en concurrence, plus l’effet display sera marqué. Neuromonaco
According to one 1990 study by researchers at SUNY Binghamton and the University of the Witwatersrand (…) compliments from men were generally accepted, especially by female recipients, but « compliments from women are met with a response type other than acceptance »: as a threat. Men often see compliments as « face-threatening acts, » or acts intended to embarrass or patronize, the study authors found. What was meant as a nicety could be seen as a way to assert control. (…) Being the arbiter of someone’s attractiveness can be interpreted as an expression of masculinity that women are not traditionally expected to adopt. Further, it is possible that a good portion of men don’t want to be essentially « treated like women, » as their masculinity is dependent on being above the judgments women are often subjected to. (…) In life as well as in art, a man’s focus on his own appearance can be perceived as detracting from his perceived masculinity in the eyes of male reviewers. In her book, Extra-Ordinary Men: White Heterosexual Masculinity in Contemporary Popular Cinema, Nicola Rehling points out that in the movie Gladiator, Maximus had a muscular build but was not sexualized on-screen. In the movie Troy, meanwhile, Brad Pitt’s Achilles was practically groomed for the enjoyment of straight female and gay male viewers. Crowe’s body was not nearly as exposed as Pitt’s was throughout the movie. Rehling writes, « In the majority of reviews of the film, Brad Pitt was compared unfavorably with Crowe, with many expressing disappointment that he failed to import the primal masculinity that was such a big box office attraction in Gladiator. The adulation of Crowe’s Maximus would seem to articulate a desire for an undiluted, corporeal, physical male presence. » The consequences for women giving men compliments are also different than those for men giving women compliments. In a 2006 study from Williamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, researchers Christopher Parisi and Peter Wogan found that college-aged men were generally given compliments on skills, while women were given compliments on their looks. Parisi and Wogan also found that women felt the need to be cautious when complimenting men on their appearance because they didn’t want to be « too forward » or attract « unwanted attention. » That fear is supported by a 2008 study, conducted in Australia by Griffith University, which hypothesized that men are more likely to interpret or misinterpret female compliments as seductive or flirtatious than women are male compliments. Who knew complimenting could be so complicated? The Atlantic
Les plus belles hôtesses de Ryanair font monter la température en cabine. Eddie Wilson (directeur des ressources humaines de Ryanair)
Ces uniformes sont vraiment très serrés et ne sont tout simplement pas pratiques du tout pour le travail physique que nous avons à faire. Hôtesse Qantas
Les hôtesses de l’air ont de 20 à 60 ans et beaucoup d’entre elles, notamment les plus âgées, ne souhaitent pas porter d’uniformes trop moulants. Nous aimions les anciens uniformes créés par Peter Morrissey. Ceux-là ils étaient vraiment confortables. Hôtesse Qantas
Nous sommes préoccupées car nous pensons que cet uniforme pourrait causer des problèmes à bord, y compris du harcèlement sexuel. La compagnie aérienne explique que cet uniforme sert à attirer plus de clients, mais cela montre qu’elle considère la femme comme une marchandise …la priorité numéro un ne devrait pas être de raccourcir les tenues mais d’augmenter la sécurité. Syndicat d’hôtesses de l’air japonaises
Je ne pourrais pas me concentrer sur mon travail parce que je serais toujours en train de me demander si on ne me regarde pas. Hôtesse japonaise
Ah, le bon vieux temps quand l’avion était encore un plaisir !
Paréos hawaiiens, kimonos japonais, mini-jupes suisses, brunes chevelures espagnoles …
A l’heure où, entre le prix du pétrole, les coûts induits toujours plus élevés de la sécurité post-11/9 (alors qu’on est toujours sans nouvelles d’un avion malaisien mystérieusement disparu des écrans radar) et l’arrivée de nouveaux concurrents à bas coût (calendrier de charme – caritatif – compris!), les compagnies aériennes dont la profitabilité sur 40 ans n’a jamais dépassé les 0, 1% rivalisent d’astuces pour attirer les passagers (jusqu’à transformer l’intérieur de leurs avions en supports publicitaires) …
Et où, accusant leur compagnie d’utiliser leurs corps comme des marchandises, un syndicat d’hôtesses de l’air japonaises refuse, après leurs homologues australiennes l’an dernier, de porter leur nouvel uniforme pour cause de risque de harcèlement sexuel …
Pendant qu’une des compagnies aériennes mythiques des années 60 se voyait récemment célébrer dans une série à son nom à la télévision américaine …
Retour avec les archives du magazine américain The Atlantic …
Sur ces temps encore innocents où, avant les campagnes ouvertement sexuelles avec noms des hôtesses sur le nez des avions et badges suggestifs des années 70, hot pants et cuissardes ou petits carnets pour les numéros des hôtesses à la Fly me (fantasmes récemment repris, fausse compagnie aérienne comprise, par le fabricant australien de déodorants pour hommes Lynx/Axe) …
Et, sauf exceptions régionales, avant le sérieux et professionalisme actuel …
Les stratégies sexuelles des compagnies aériennes, centrées sur une clientèle d’affaires majoritairement masculine et donc leur personnel féminin, rivalisaient en subtilité pour vendre leurs sièges …
These days, air travel is anything but sexy. TSA pat-downs, inflatable neck pillows, reruns of CBS sitcoms—it can get pretty grim at 35,000 feet.
There was a time, however, when flying was both the literal and figurative height of sexiness. “The good old days,” Mark Gerchick calls them wryly in the January/February Atlantic. “When travelers were ‘mad men’ and flight attendants were ‘sexy stews,’ when the ‘sex sells seats’ mantra drove some carriers to adorn ‘trolley dollies’ in hot pants and go-go boots.”
While air travel ads printed in The Atlantic in those days were a little more… buttoned up (than, say, this 1972 Southwest Airlines commercial), it’s clear the “sexy skies” gimmick was an advertising boon. The campaigns were wildly misogynistic, hopelessly fantastical, and maybe a little bit racist. But sell seats they did, from Narita to O’Hare. Gathered below are 10 such “sex sells seats” ads plucked from The Atlantic archives. (Click any ad to view a larger version.)
British Overseas Airways Corporation “takes good care of you.” (By putting gyrating hula dancers front and center.)
KLM: The premiere airline for tag-along wives and their crestfallen husbands.
Japan Air Lines masters the art of marketing orientalism, ensuring flyers that the only “real desire” of its “kimono-clad stewardesses” is “to serve.”
This Iberia Airlines ad bravely defies ethnic stereotypes by promising travelers a veritable rainbow of stewardess hair colorings: “blondes from Barcelona, redheads from Cádiz,” and for the traditional Hispanophile, “a liberal helping of the beautiful brunettes you pictured us having.”
Swissair promises “lakeside cafes, casinos, nightclubs,” and—most prominently of all—“friendly natives.”
This Japan Air Lines ad delivers a particularly cringe-worthy line: “She is our pride. And your joy.”
Not looking for love? Never fly Alitalia.
South African Airways offers one for the ladies: When Alec hits on you, he’s not being polite. “Merely sincere.”
Japan Air Lines does it again, demonstrating just how well-versed its “fairest” of the fair stewardesses are in the womanly arts.
Kris from Delta is “resourceful, alert, efficient, confident, and sociable.” But, most important, PRETTY.
Travel January/February 2014
Air travel hasn’t quite lost all its romance.
Dec 22 2013
Only true aviation geeks are likely to celebrate, or even notice, the milestone being celebrated this year in the history of aviation: the debut, a century ago, of the autopilot. In June 1914, at a historic aeronautical-safety competition in Paris, a 21-year-old American daredevil pilot-inventor named Lawrence Burst Sperry stunned the aviation world by using the instrument to keep a biplane flying straight and level along the Seine. According to his biographer, William Wyatt Davenport, Sperry stood on a wing as the plane, in effect, flew itself—a feat that won him the event’s $10,000 prize.
By eliminating the need for taxing “hand flying” on long journeys, and thereby reducing pilot fatigue, Sperry’s autopilot ultimately made flying much safer. But it had another, less obvious benefit. It freed up pilots to do other things with their hands—and bodies. The brilliant young Sperry himself soon grasped the possibilities. Legend has it that in late November 1916, while piloting a Curtiss Flying Boat C‑2 some 500 feet above the coast of Long Island, he used his instrument to administer a novel kind of flying lesson to one Cynthia Polk (whose husband was driving an ambulance in war-torn France). During their airborne antics, however, the two unwittingly managed to bump and disengage the autopilot, sending their plane into Great South Bay, where they were rescued, both stark naked, by duck hunters. A gallant Sperry explained that the force of the crash had stripped both fliers of all their clothing, but that didn’t stop a skeptical New York tabloid from running the famous headline “Aerial Petting Ends in Wetting.” For his caper, Sperry is generally considered the founder of the Mile High Club, a cohort that loosely includes all those who have ever “done it” in flight (though precisely what constitutes “it” remains a lurking definitional issue).
“Flying,” the 1930s stunt pilot Pancho Barnes is often quoted as saying, “makes me feel like a sex maniac in a whorehouse with a stack of $20 bills.” Today’s overcrowded, underfed, overstressed airline passengers, consigned to travel in “just a bloody bus with wings” as Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary puts it, are unlikely to share that enthusiasm. It’s all the more remarkable, then, that airborne sex remains on the bucket list of plenty of passengers, at least male ones. A “Sex Census” published in 2011 by the condom maker Trojan found that 33 percent of American men aspire to have sex on an airplane. (The top locale for women: a beach.) Similarly, nearly a third of the Brits who responded to a 2010 TripAdvisor poll said they wanted to try in-flight sex.
A lot of U.S. fliers may have already acted out that fantasy. In a global survey of more than 300,000 adults conducted in 2005 by the condom maker Durex, 2 percent of respondents worldwide (and 4 percent of American respondents) claimed to have had sex on an airplane. A 2010 survey commissioned by Sensis Condoms (when did condom makers become avid pollsters?) found a similar incidence of in-flight sex (3 percent) among its respondents. Assuming that about 100 million Americans have traveled by air, and discounting for lying braggarts, if even only 1 percent of them have indulged, then that’s a million or so Mile Highers.
Less-than-scientific anecdotes abound too. When Virgin Atlantic installed diaper-changing tables aboard its new Airbus A340-600 long-haul jets, in 2002, it wasn’t just mothers and children who found them useful. Within weeks, according to the airline, the tables were destroyed by “those determined to join the Mile High Club.” That said, the airline’s founder, the billionaire bad boy Sir Richard Branson, has waxed nostalgic about a tryst he had at age 19 in a Laker Airways lavatory (“It was every man’s dream”). Almost 20 years ago, Singapore Airlines, for its part, reported that a third of its cases of “unruly behavior” involved in-flight sex.
For the airlines, the “sexy skies” are all about marketing the fantasy. Actual in-flight sex is the last thing they want to deal with, especially since 9/11, when the preferred cabin ambience has become no-fun, no-drama—a shift more self-protective than puritanical. Is it just love, or is that couple huddled together in their seats trying to ignite explosive-filled sneakers? Even a visit to the bathroom can trigger a full-bore fighter-jet scramble, as it did on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, when a pair of F‑16s shadowed a Frontier flight until it landed in Detroit after two passengers made for the lavatory at the same time. Cabin crews working chock-full flights now also have no time, much less the inclination, to play chaperone.
Almost perversely, as the reality of today’s air travel for the ordinary coach passenger moves from bearable to downright nasty, reviving the lost “romance” of flying makes marketing sense. Branson, the master marketer, beckons passengers to “get lucky” when they fly Virgin America jets outfitted with seat-back touch screens that let you send “an in-flight cocktail to that friendly stranger in seat 4A.” After all, if you’re busy punching your video screen to chat up some “friendly stranger,” you’re not griping about an airline’s $7.50 snack pack. And when Singapore Airlines proudly unveiled for global media its super-jumbo double-decker Airbus A380 jet, the hype was all about the glories of its 12 ultra-costly first-class “suites.” Combine two of the private pods (about $10,000 each for the round trip from New York to Frankfurt), and you can share a legit double bed, shown in publicity photos strewn with rose petals, alongside a gold tray holding an open bottle of Dom Pérignon and two half-full champagne flutes. What are you supposed to think? Then there’s Air New Zealand’s “Skycouch” (three adjacent coach seats that can be transformed into a flat, bed-like surface), popularly known as “cuddle class.” It comes with the coy admonition to “just keep your clothes on thanks!”
“Flying,” said the 1930s stunt pilot Pancho Barnes, “makes me feel like a sex maniac in a whorehouse with a stack of $20 bills.”
Could we return to the good old days when travelers were “mad men” and flight attendants were “sexy stews,” when the “sex sells seats” mantra drove some carriers to adorn “trolley dollies” in hot pants and go-go boots and to offer “executive” (men-only) flights between Chicago and New York? Not likely, at least in the United States, where women constitute more than 40 percent of frequent fliers and half of international air travelers, and make most travel-buying decisions. How many of these women are really looking to “get lucky” on their next flight? Being hit on by an unseen stranger while buckled into a seat at 35,000 feet, online commenters have complained, is at best “a little creepy” and at worst like being trapped in a “mile high stalker club.”
For those moved by the marketing, or otherwise compelled to act out the mile-high fantasy (Freud posited that the fantasy of flight itself has “infantile erotic roots”), there’s a better solution than flying commercial: your own plane. Think Playboy’s Big Bunny, a 1970s-era DC‑9 jet outfitted as a “party pit,” complete with a fur-covered oval bed, a shower, and a discotheque, all presided over by flight attendants (“Jet Bunnies”) in black-leather mini-jumpsuits: “Imagine Studio 54 with wings,” enthused a Playboy feature. That particular icon supposedly now resides, dismantled, in a small city in Mexico, but some air-charter services offer hour-long jaunts for adventurous couples wanting to live out the dream, or at least spice up their relationships. These outfits come and go, with names like Erotic Airways and Flamingo Air, but typically they equip their small Pipers or Cessnas with a mattress (in lieu of the customary four or six seats), overfly scenic spots like Cincinnati or western Georgia, and throw in a bottle of not-quite-vintage bubbly, all for about $500.
The sheets—no joke—are yours to take home as souvenirs.
Mark Gerchick, a former chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration, is the author of Full Upright and Locked Position.
La compagnie japonaise à bas coût a prévu pour son personnel de cabine un nouvel uniforme qui doit attirer davantage de clients. Le syndicat des hôtesses craint surtout les incivilités.
Skymark Airlines a peut-être pensé que petit prix pour le client rimait avec petite robe pour les hôtesses… Erreur: un syndicat de personnel navigant ne décolère pas contre un nouvel uniforme qui dévoile jusqu’aux cuisses. «Nous sommes préoccupées car nous pensons que cet uniforme pourrait causer des problèmes à bord, y compris du harcèlement sexuel», ont protesté les hôtesses à travers leur fédération de personnel de cabine.
«La compagnie aérienne explique que cet uniforme sert à attirer plus de clients, mais cela montre qu’elle considère la femme comme une marchandise», poursuit le syndicat selon lequel la priorité numéro un ne devrait pas être de raccourcir les tenues mais d’augmenter la sécurité. Skymark envisage de faire porter cette robe courte moulante qui couvre tout juste les fesses à l’occasion du vol intérieur inaugural de son premier Airbus A330 en mai prochain.
«Nous n’imposerons par l’uniforme aux hôtesses qui refuseraient de le porter», a déclaré récemment le président de Skymark, Shinichi Nishikubo, tout en regrettant que cette initiative vestimentaire ait été présentée «d’une façon déformée». Sur le site du syndicat, une hôtesse affirme «qu’elle ne pourrait pas se concentrer sur son travail parce qu’elle serait toujours en train de se demander si on ne la regarde pas», avec la crainte de photos prises par des mobiles et de mains baladeuses.
7 sur 7
L’ex Ange de Victoria Secret a servi de modèle pour les nouveaux uniformes des hôtesses de l’air de Qantas Airlines. « L’uniforme va vraiment bien à Miranda Kerr, mais malheureusement nous ne lui ressemblons pas toutes », regrette une employée australienne.
Réalisés par Martin Grant sur base des mensurations parfaites du mannequin australien, les nouveaux uniformes de Qantas Airlines ont été présentés en septembre dernier et seront portés par les 12.000 hôtesses dès aujourd’hui. Mais ils ne plaisent pas à toutes. « Ces uniformes sont vraiment très serrés et ne sont tout simplement pas pratiques du tout pour le travail physique que nous avons à faire », se plaint d’une des employées sur le site News.com.au.
« Les hôtesses de l’air ont de 20 à 60 ans et beaucoup d’entre elles, notamment les plus âgées, ne souhaitent pas porter d’uniformes trop moulants. Nous aimions les anciens uniformes créés par Peter Morrissey. Ceux-là ils étaient vraiment confortables », ajoute une autre hôtesse mécontente. Un porte-parole d’une association rassure: « Nous avons demandé à Qantas de modifier un peu l’uniforme pour répondre aux plaintes des hôtesses. »
le 14 décembre 2007
Présenté par la compagnie low cost comme le « calendrier 2008 le plus chaud », il met en scène ses hôtesses dans des poses osées. Du pur sexisme, selon des associations.En janvier, Julia assise dans le cockpit met le doigt sur l’un des nombreux boutons du tableau de bord, simplement vêtue d’un maillot de bain et de la casquette de pilote. En temps normal, la jeune femme assure la liaison vers Düsseldorf. Pas timorée pour un sou, en février, Jaroslava en bikini blanc se repose dans le creux d’un réacteur. Habituellement, la jolie brune travaille sur l’avion pour Rome. En avril, Nicola, hôtesse au sol à Londres montre, sifflet dans la bouche et tête ingénue, comment gonfler son gilet de sauvetage en cas de crash…. Et c’est comme ça douze mois durant sur le calendrier de Ryanair, baptisé Girls of Ryanair 2008.
Assurément très coquin mais aussi très malin de la part de la compagnie aérienne à bas tarifs d’Europe, qui fait parler d’elle tout en faisant sa B.A. : tous les bénéfices de la vente, 7 euros pièce, sont destinés à une œuvre de bienfaisance : l’association caritative Angels Quest, qui se charge de trouver des solutions d’hébergement provisoire pour des enfants atteints d’un handicap, afin de soulager leurs proches. Jusqu’à présent, 7 000 exemplaires – sur 10 000 – ont été vendus.
« Une atteinte à la dignité des femmes travailleuses »
« Quand nous avons lancé l’idée de mettre en scène des membres de l’équipage pour la bonne cause, 100 personnes se sont portées candidates, explique Peter Sherrard, de Ryanair. 12 ont été sélectionnées ». « Les plus belles hôtesses de Ryanair font monter la température en cabine », affirme le directeur des ressources humaines de Ryanair, Eddie Wilson, cité sur le site internet de la compagnie.
En tout cas, en voyant ces nymphes les mains dans le cambouis, le sang d’une association espagnole de consommateur n’a fait qu’un tour : Facua a ainsi accusé cette semaine la compagnie irlandaise d’utiliser ses hôtesses de l’air comme « des outils publicitaires ». Ce calendrier porte « atteinte à la dignité des femmes travailleuses en général et des hôtesses de l’air en particulier, en représentant des images stéréotypées de cette profession contre lesquelles on lutte depuis des années », a affirmé Facua.
Sexiste le calendrier ? Peter Sherrard de rétorquer : « On défend juste le droit des femmes à enlever leurs vêtements ». La dernière page montre une hôtesse dans un coin de l’avion, sourire pincé, peau fripée et maillot de bain fleuri, cette femme un peu défraîchie comparée aux donzelles précédentes est censée incarnée une hôtesse de Aer Lingus… Le principal concurrent de Ryanair, qu’elle a longtemps convoité jusqu’au « non » de Bruxelles. Charity business !
Valérie, hôtesse de l’air, 28 ans
La dernière fois qu’on vous a draguée ?
L’an passé, sur un vol Paris-San Francisco. L’homme en question voyageait en Business. Pas un playboy, mais un quinqua plutôt classe qui parlait bien de son métier.
Il bossait chez Calvin Klein et, entre un café et une mignonnette de Baileys, m’a proposé de me faire envoyer le dernier parfum. Naïve, sur la passerelle, j’ai lâché ma carte de visite.
Sur la sienne, en échange, j’ai pu lire «?RDV à mon Novotel ??». Berk.
Pourquoi votre métier fait fantasmer ?
L’image de Natacha hôtesse de l’air tient bon. Et puis, il y a le prestige sexy de l’uniforme, du tailleur au foulard (exit le calot, par contre).
On sent les regards durant notre show sur les consignes de sécurité. On s’en amuse même, parfois.
Vous vous y attendiez ?
J’imaginais pire. Pas de la part des passagers, mais plutôt du personnel de bord.
Aujourd’hui, les escales sont plus courtes – quatre jours maxi – et la rotation des équipages ultra rapide. Moins le temps de se laisser séduire par le pilote !
Tactiques des garçons ?
Souvent affligeantes : le soda renversé dans la travée centrale, obligée d’éponger… en tailleur, la boucle de ceinture introuvable… Le must : un homme m’a même demandé de border sa couverture.
Comment vous vous défendez ?
Quand tu es hôtesse, tu dois faire preuve de diplomatie. Surtout sur un long-courrier. Donc, je réponds «?Non, merci?» sur le même ton et avec le même sourire que quand je propose «?Thé ou café ??».
Voir par ailleurs:
Prenez plusieurs groupes de personnes. Placez-les devant un téléviseur. A l’un des groupes, on montre une émission avec du sexe, à un autre de la violence ; un troisième regardera une émission familiale du type « Les animaux les plus drôles ». Interrompez alors chaque programme par quelques spots publicitaires. Puis demandez aux personnes de se souvenir des noms et des marques qu’ils ont vus. C’est le groupe « émission familiale » qui s’en souviendra le mieux. Moins perturbé par les scènes « chaudes », leur esprit est plus disponible. Répétez plusieurs fois pour vous assurer du fait. Et voilà : la démonstration est établie. Les publicités liées à des programmes télévisés de sexe ou de violence ont moins d’effets que celles qui sont associées à des programmes familiaux. L’expérience était simple. Elle a été réalisée par Brad Bushman de l’université du Michigan et publiée dans une récente livraison de Psychological Science. Conclusion : s’il est connu que le sexe ou la violence font grimper l’Audimat et si l’Audimat fait monter les recettes publicitaires, cela ne veut pas dire que le sexe ou la violence font vendre. CQFD.
December 12, 2011
Faut-il toujours mettre la photo d’une femme sexy pour vendre ? A voir les pubs on pourrait le croire, mais en fait si le sexe a bien un effet puissant, il est plus subtil que ça.
1. Pourquoi le sexe vend ? (et quoi et à qui…)
Tout le monde ne travaille pas dans le secteur de la pornographie et le sexe n’est pas le sujet principal des pensées des hommes (pas même celui des femmes), pourtant il est, de plus en plus semble-t-il, le support principal des publicités. Pourquoi ?
De nombreuses études (ex : Janssens et al., 2011 ; Sundie et al., 2011 ; Wilson et al., 2004) montrent qu’il y a un lien entre la situation de séduction et l’achat de produits liés au statut : c’est l’affichage du statut (le “display”) pour montrer qu’on a suffisamment de ressources disponibles pour se permettre d’en dépenser sur des produits inutiles (encore le Handicap de Zahavi). L’effet est plus fort chez les célibataires pour les achats d’impulsion et Griskevicius et ses collègues (2011) ont même trouvé que le sex-ratio avait un impact direct : plus il y a d’hommes en concurrence, plus l’effet display sera marqué.
Et pour les femmes ?
Griskevicius et al. (2007) ont trouvé le même effet chez les femmes mais moins brutal et pas sur le même type de dépense, elles donneront surtout à des causes et chercheront à aider, comme le montre le graphique :
En fait, ce qui influence le mode de consommation des femmes est leur position dans le cycle menstruel : en période d’ovulation elles dépenseront plus pour des produits liés à leur apparence (Durante et al., 2010).Un message sexuel est donc un priming efficace pour activer chez la cible les programmes de séduction (et notamment ce display), ceux-ci montrant des différences sexuelles marquées. C’est un Priming plus direct que la simple beauté qui provoque donc plus directement les mêmes effets.
Si vos produits correspondent, une publicité directement sexuelle sera particulièrement efficace, sinon le risque est grand que la cible n’en garde qu’une désagréable impression d’overdose (certes, vous pouvez encore espérer que quelques féministes augmenteront gratuitement votre notoriété mais ça ne durera pas : elles finiront pas le remarquer !)
Photo : Campagne Diesel 2010 (“Sex Sells* / *Unfortunately we sell jeans”) présentée sur BlogoPub : “Diesel Sex Sells : du sexe et des jeans par Nono – le 3 février 2010″
2. Photo : Top Model, le prochain métier remplacé par des ordinateurs
Photomontage 20 minutes
La dernière campagne H&M Suède a fait beaucoup de bruit : elle n’utilise plus que le visage des mannequins, collés sur des corps en plastique retouchés par ordinateur. 20 minutes traduit le journal suédois Aftonbladet :
«Ce ne sont pas de véritables corps. On prend des photos des vêtements sur un mannequin (en plastique, ndr), et ensuite, l’apparence humaine est générée par un programme informatique»
La beauté correspond à des critères et n’est pas que dans l’oeil de celui qui regarde (la page d’Evopsy la plus citée sur les sites féminins) et cela fait longtemps que les robots peuvent noter tout seul la beauté d’une femme mais deux choix de H&M pour cette campagne sont à noter :
H&M a choisi de garder des visages réels
H&M n’a fait aucune distinction régionale pour la forme du corps
Pour l’instant les seules critiques semblent être les (classiques) accusations d’incitation à l’anorexie mais j’imagine que le point 2 ci-dessus sera aussi très vite récupéré.
En fait le vrai jeu est maintenant de se demander combien de temps encore les visages réels seront utilisés et quand les femmes pourront vraiment être remplacées par de (parfaits) robots.
Pour rappel :
La compétition sexuelle est à l’intérieur de chaque sexe et l’habillement sert aux femmes d’abord à se positionner entre elles, le regard des hommes n’étant qu’un moyen dans cette guerre
Les mannequins Haute Couture ont des corps et des visages beaucoup plus masculins que les mannequins lingerie et les “pornstars” : en fait elles ressemblent à des garçons adolescents
La préférence des hommes pour des femmes plus ou moins “pulpeuses” est directement influencée par leur situation économique perçue : les plus riches préfèrent les plus minces (Herbert, 2010)
Les hommes ne privilégient la beauté du visage que pour des relations à long terme (Confer et al. , 2010 : synthèse sur Evopsy)
Si vous voulez utiliser le même genre de technique, assurez-vous de faire appel à d’excellents infographistes pour ne pas souffrir des deux risques célèbres : le “désastre photoshop” direct (exemples : Photoshop Disaster) et peut-être la “Vallée dérangeante” (“Uncanny Valley”) découverte par Masahiro Mori dès 1970, qui hypothétise que la “presque-ressemblance” humaine des robots fait (très) peur.
Ou alors attendez un tout petit peu : Karsch & Forsyth (2011) ont développé un impressionnant programme d’incrustation d’images (fixes et animées) accessible à tous après seulement 10mn de formation (voir leur vidéo de présentation). A ce rythme d’évolution, les infographistes seront les suivants sur la liste à être remplacés par des ordinateurs…
Photo et liens : 20 minutes : “Quand H&M copie-colle de vrais visages sur des corps générés par ordinateur” (06/12/2011)
3. Nouveau : La mesure du fauxtoshoppage
Hasard du calendrier ou pas, une toute nouvelle étude (Kee & Farid, 2011) propose une méthode pratique pour mesurer la quantité de retouche d’une photo (voir quelques exemples d’avant/après), ses auteurs souhaitant que leur note soit publiée à côté des photos retouchée en tant qu’avertissement (exactement comme pour les marges d’erreur des sondages). Cela permettrait peut-être de répondre à une demande extrêmement fréquente : que la compétition sexuelle soit plus “loyale” (j’avais vu à la TV une femme maquillée et beaucoup refaite se plaindre du “manque d’honnêteté des hommes”…)
Il me semble cependant que ne s’intéresser qu’au fauxtoshoppage est beaucoup trop restrictif : il faudrait bien sûr étendre cette méthode à la chirurgie esthétique et surtout, par souci d’équité, noter aussi le degré d’embelllissement des reportages sur les hommes ayant réussi économiquement…
Articles cités :
Confer, J. C., Perilloux, C., & Buss, D. M. (2010). More than just a pretty face: men’s priority shifts toward bodily attractiveness in short-term versus long-term mating contexts. Evolution and Human Behavior, 31(5), 5. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2010.04.002
Durante, K. M., Griskevicius, V., Hill, S. E., Perilloux, C., & Li, N. P. (2010). Ovulation, Female Competition, and Product Choice: Hormonal Influences on Consumer Behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 37(April), 100827095129016-000. doi:10.1086/656575
Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., Sundie, J. M., Cialdini, R. B., Miller, G. F., & Kenrick, D. T. (2007). Blatant benevolence and conspicuous consumption: when romantic motives elicit strategic costly signals. Journal of personality and social psychology, 93(1), 85-102. doi:10.1037/0022-35184.108.40.206
Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M., Ackerman, J. M., Delton, A. W., Robertson, T. E., & White, A. E. (2011). The financial consequences of too many men: Sex ratio effects on saving, borrowing, and spending. Journal of personality and social psychology. doi:10.1037/a0024761
Herbert, W. (2010). Do poor and hungry men prefer heavier women? Do rich and full guys like skinny girls? On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits (p. 304). Crown. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Second-Thought-Outsmarting-Hard-Wired-Habits/dp/0307461637
Janssens, K., Pandelaere, M., Van Den Bergh, B., Millet, K., Lens, I., & Roe, K. (2011). Can buy me love: Mate attraction goals lead to perceptual readiness for status products. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(1), 1-35. Elsevier Inc. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2010.08.009
Karsch, K., & Forsyth, D. (2011). Rendering Synthetic Objects into Legacy Photographs. Proceedings of ACM SIGGRAPH ASIA (Vol. 30). Retrieved from http://kevinkarsch.com/publications/sa11.html
Kee, E., & Farid, H. (2011). A perceptual metric for photo retouching. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2011, 1-6. doi:10.1073/pnas.1110747108
Mori, M. (1970). The Uncanny Valley. Energy, 7(4), 33–35. Retrieved from http://www.movingimages.info/digitalmedia/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/MorUnc.pdf
Sundie, J. M. J. M., Kenrick, D. T. D. T., Griskevicius, V., Tybur, J. M. J. M., Vohs, K. D. K. D., & Beal, D. J. D. J. (2011). Peacocks, Porsches, and Thorstein Veblen: Conspicuous consumption as a sexual signaling system. Journal of personality and social psychology, 100(4), 664. American Psychological Association. doi:10.1037/a0021669
Wilson, M., & Daly, M. (2004). Do pretty women inspire men to discount the future? Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 271 Suppl, S177-9. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2003.0134
Whither the years of « charm farms, » little black books, hot pants and go-go boots? Come along with us for a groovy trip in time and style
18 July, 2012
Southwest Airlines flight attendants in the 1970s
Southwest Airlines’ motto in the 1970s is said to have been « sex sells seats, » and flight attendants were dressed to fit the bill. Widely known as « The Love Airline, » Southwest resisted hiring males until after losing a class action lawsuit in 1980.
Flying used to be so sexy.
Back in the days when passengers had to walk across the tarmac to board a plane, they were greeted by « air hostesses » arrayed in knee-high boots, short skirts and white gloves.
In 1971, the now-defunct U.S.-based National Airlines ran a saucy and suggestive ad that featured a flight attendant named Cheryl, smiling affably and accompanied by the seductive slogan, “I’m Cheryl. Fly me.”
There was another one, this time with Jo.
Business reportedly jumped 23 percent, despite accusations of sexism.
Along with National Airlines’ advertising campaign (American Airlines may have given them a run for their money), Eastern Airlines encouraged flirting with stewardesses by handing out little black books to male passengers for storing phone numbers.
Flight attendants were trained at « charm farms » to maximize their feminine sex appeal and a book depicting the golden age of travel by two « adventurous » former flight attendants entitled « Coffee, Tea or Me? » further stoked the flames of the fantasy of flying.
The airline industry has since gone through some major overhauls.
Airlines have adopted a gender-neutral professionalism, austere security measures and the ever-widening gaps between the luxury seat and the cramped budget one.
Societal norms have changed for the better — it’s hard to imagine some of the outfits pictured here ever being approved.
Still, it’s interesting to recall the fashion ethos of yesteryear.
Only selected advertising
November 3, 2011
An essential ingredient of experimentation is not always knowing where things will lead you. In 2005 Lynx came up with a new marketing story to up the ante on it’s “sex appeal” image. In Australia, the launch of the fictitious airline LynxJet combined familiar features of air traval with elements of male fantasy including racy in -flight entertainment such as pillow fighting, spanking and mud wrestling. When Lynx tried to get the airline off the ground for real, with sexy Lynx air stewardesses, the high-flying fantasy of a private luxury jet came crashing to earth when it was grounded by the Australian Aviation Authority.
Lynx (Axe globally) is a male targeted bodyspray with an irreverent brand personality that is focused around public, playful fantasies. Lynx’s problem was that guys 17-25yrs were dropping out of the brand because they perceived it to be for their younger brother. Lynx needed to actively engage 17-25yrs males
The Media Strategy
The first overseas trip (without parents) is an AUSTRALIAN rite of passage. It represents the move into adulthood and is associated with freedom, including sexual freedom. It starts when they get on the plane – the mile-high club is within reach (in their dreams!)
To feed this fantasy, we created an airline – LYNXJET. Our strategy was to BEHAVE EXACTLY LIKE AN AIRLINE in media targeting young males. This integrated campaign incorporated an actual branded airplane (the LynxJet), real life air hostesses (Mostesses), a mock check-in service online and other airline-style communication. Young guys believed their fantasies had become reality!
Two distinct phases:
1/ CREATE THE MYTH: a plane was re-branded LynxJet; viral launched the ultimate mile high fantasy club; there was signage at check-in counters; locker/seat/ticket advertising; sampling girls (“Mostesses”) acted like air-hostesses and became walking billboards.
Human Moving Billboards, otherwise known as LYNXjet Mostess. On the streets of Australian cities, in bars and at the airport, you couldn’t miss them. They were flirting, they were handing out their business cards and guys fell at their feet. The boys would leave messages, SMSs and go to the website to fulfill their fantasy of an airline that never was. The Mile High Club Lounge travelled from city to city creating a live LYNXjet experience. Guys could get a massage, have their picture taken with a Mostess and then download it off the web. The Human Moving Billboards were designed to drive guys to the web and register for the Mile High Club. In total over 658,000 unique visits, 11,500 Mile High Club registratations, the airline was dicussed on weblogs globally along with significant coverage on TV current affairs shows and in the press which was calculated at almost a half a million dollars of free advertising.
2/ FEED THE MYTH: A playful edge was added to traditional airline infrastructure: we created a website (www.lynxjet.com) and mobile ‘Mile High Club’ lounge. Then we imitated traditional airline advertising, with messaging targeting males.
We copied airline behavior to fuel the fantasy and surround the target. We launched with TV in the World Cup Qualifier, crashing Qantas’s ‘airline’ exclusivity. We created content on targeted radio (e.g. interviews with ‘Mostesses’). Newspapers messaged Lynxjet prices.
Online, we created a mock booking system & we staged a recruitment drive for “Mostesses” on employment sites. We delivered an airline experience by taking a mobile ‘Mile High Club Lounge’ to the streets.
Controversy is a measure of success! The plane was pulled due to a threatened strike by actual cabin crew! Brand share jumped to 84.5% – an all time high! The measure ‘is a sexy brand’ increased by 10%. Over 658,000 unique page views (27% of the target!).
Anthony Toovey, Unilever’s Senior Brand Manager responsible for Lynx says,“In Lynx Jet we have the opportunity to make the fantasies that have always been a core part of the Lynx brand, come to life. This is a ground-breaking activation for Unilever globally and we’re enormously proud of it.”
Advertising Agency: Lowe Hunt, Sidney
Creative Director: Adam Lance
Direct Creative Director: Peter Bidenko
Copywriter: Michael Canning
Art Director: Simone Brandse
Grand Prix Media Lions
5 Gold Lion (Media, Promo and Direct)
2 Bronze Lion for the Campaign (Film & Outdoor)
December 18, 2013
Recently, a date said to me, « You haven’t given me any compliments yet. I’ve complimented you plenty of times. »
It made me think about how rare it is for a man to openly express a desire to be praised for his looks and question why I didn’t compliment men on their looks more often. When I Googled, « men given compliments on appearance, » Google suggested I try, « Men give compliments on appearance. »
The concept of women complimenting men on their appearance can still seem foreign. Men are often portrayed as using compliments as a social tool, but do they themselves want to be applauded for their physical attributes?
In wanting to be praised for his looks, it would appear my date falls into a minority, according to one 1990 study by researchers at SUNY Binghamton and the University of the Witwatersrand, which concluded that compliments from men were generally accepted, especially by female recipients, but « compliments from women are met with a response type other than acceptance »: as a threat.
Men often see compliments as « face-threatening acts, » or acts intended to embarrass or patronize, the study authors found. What was meant as a nicety could be seen as a way to assert control.
When it comes to compliments from their own sex, men often regard appearance-based praise as a come-on. In her 2003 book, Sociolinguistics: The Essential Readings, Christina Bratt Paulston writes that for heterosexual men, « to compliment another man on his hair, his clothes, or his body is an extremely face-threatening thing to do, both for the speaker and the hearer. »
In the book The Psychology of Love, Michele Antoinette Paludi points out that stepping outside of gender roles can reduce attraction between partners.
« Current research indicates that gender-atypical qualities are often turn-offs in intimate relationships … Women also experienced social costs for atypical gender behavior … both men who were passive and women who were assertive were evaluated as significantly less socially attractive by men than women who did not engage in self-promoting behaviors. »
Being the arbiter of someone’s attractiveness can be interpreted as an expression of masculinity that women are not traditionally expected to adopt. Further, it is possible that a good portion of men don’t want to be essentially « treated like women, » as their masculinity is dependent on being above the judgments women are often subjected to.
Men are also more reluctant to express behaviors such as envy, according to the 2012 book, Gender, Culture and Consumer Behavior, which suggests that men hesitate to display “low-agency” emotions such as anxiety, vulnerability and jealousy.
In life as well as in art, a man’s focus on his own appearance can be perceived as detracting from his perceived masculinity in the eyes of male reviewers. In her book, Extra-Ordinary Men: White Heterosexual Masculinity in Contemporary Popular Cinema, Nicola Rehling points out that in the movie Gladiator, Maximus had a muscular build but was not sexualized on-screen. In the movie Troy, meanwhile, Brad Pitt’s Achilles was practically groomed for the enjoyment of straight female and gay male viewers. Crowe’s body was not nearly as exposed as Pitt’s was throughout the movie.
Rehling writes, « In the majority of reviews of the film, Brad Pitt was compared unfavorably with Crowe, with many expressing disappointment that he failed to import the primal masculinity that was such a big box office attraction in Gladiator. The adulation of Crowe’s Maximus would seem to articulate a desire for an undiluted, corporeal, physical male presence. »
The consequences for women giving men compliments are also different than those for men giving women compliments. In a 2006 study from Williamette University’s College of Liberal Arts, researchers Christopher Parisi and Peter Wogan found that college-aged men were generally given compliments on skills, while women were given compliments on their looks. Parisi and Wogan also found that women felt the need to be cautious when complimenting men on their appearance because they didn’t want to be « too forward » or attract « unwanted attention. »
That fear is supported by a 2008 study, conducted in Australia by Griffith University, which hypothesized that men are more likely to interpret or misinterpret female compliments as seductive or flirtatious than women are male compliments.
Who knew complimenting could be so complicated? Perhaps if we better understand the social norms behind compliments, women and men alike could begin to feel more comfortable praising each other in a non-sexual way, and to not expect anything in return.
Voir par ailleurs:
Pan Am: When air travel was sexy
Melissa Whitworth dons her girdle to welcome a new retro-glam series from the US.
16 Nov 2011
Inside a warehouse in Brooklyn, New York, stands a vintage Boeing 707. A bell rings, someone shouts “turbulence” and a cast of actors dressed in immaculate Sixties costumes jiggle about as if the stationary plane has encountered some rough air.
This is the set of Pan Am, the latest retro-flavoured television drama to arrive from the United States, which starts on BBC Two this week. Like Mad Men before it, the series, which follows the lives of four Pan Am stewardesses as they travel the world, is set in the Sixties: the first season takes place in 1963.
Christina Ricci plays Maggie, a stewardess who compromises her bohemian ideals to wear the Pan Am uniform – a girdle was mandatory and the women were weighed regularly and admonished for any gains – to see the world.
“I think the Sixties is a really visually beautiful period. It’s gorgeous to watch,” says Ricci, during a break between scenes.
What sets Pan Am apart from Mad Men is its romanticised view of the period it depicts. While Mad Men’s plot lines highlight racism, anti-Semitism and wanton sexual harassment, Pan Am chooses instead to airbrush the Sixties. “I was aware of how misogynistic this period was,” says Ricci, 31. “And we don’t deal as harshly with that as some other shows do.”
As one American critic wrote when the series first aired in the US, “When the present isn’t very promising, and the future seems tapered and uncertain, the past acquires an enviable lustre.”
Nancy Hult Ganis, one of the show’s producers, was a Pan Am stewardess from 1969 to 1976 and is the in-house adviser on the precise details of air travel in the Jet Age. Passengers really were served seven-course meals, including turtle soup and caviar. Stewardesses were encouraged to interact with their charges, playing chess and cards with them.
Ganis also says that many of the storylines are taken from real life, including one that sees stewardess Kate (Kelli Garner) become a low-level CIA operative.
“It became known later that many [Pan Am] station managers around the world were somehow connected to the CIA. It was the perfect cover. Pan Am flew into Russia in the Fifties even though there were no official routes there until 1968.”
Pan Am is the latest American drama to focus not only on the Sixties but what The New Yorker recently identified as “the rise of the American female and the demise of the American male”.
Ricci believes there is still some way to go to eradicate misogyny. “We have just got a lot better about not writing these things down and handing out rules. It’s less overt,” she says. “The Sixties was definitely a very misogynistic time: women were not treated as equals.
“I love watching Mad Men,” she adds, “but that doesn’t mean I want to live in it.”
Stewardess chic is a flight of fantasy – with a weight limit
From the retro glamour of the Sixties to Carole Middleton, air hostesses still fascinate. So will the new BBC drama series take off?
16 Nov 2011
As a teenager at my staunchly academic girls’ grammar school, the daughter in our anachronistic French textbook boasted one ambition: to be a starched, suited and scarfed airline stewardess, à la the heroines of Pan Am, the airline that is the basis of a new drama series that starts on BBC Two tonight.
Back in the mid-Eighties, how we despised young Marie-Claude for the sexist sappiness of her ambition. Miss Bertillon waxed lyrical about the glamour, the jet-setting, the familiar platitude about seeing the world. While her brother, Philippe, the chauvinist cochon, satirised her inability to fit the job’s weight requirements. Role model for a group of gymslip-feminists the wannabe Gallic trolley dolly was not.
But, then, we had so much opportunity: with book learning came expectations regarding equality, education, economic and sexual independence. If we wanted to see the world, we would InterRail as casually as today’s youth accrue bucket-shop flights.
Originating some 20 years earlier, Marie-Claude was simply following the route to success of many a small-town girl. Among them have been several prime minister’s wives: Lyudmila Putina, wife of Vladimir Putin, Sara Netanyahu, wife of Benjamin, and Annita Keating, estranged wife of Paul. Others ensnared the rich: Irina, the second Mrs Abramovich, say; Alex Best, wife of George; Daylesford Organic supremo Lady Carole Bamford, and – most notoriously and most upwardly mobile – Mrs Carole “doors-to-manual” Middleton.
Time was when airline stewardesses were the girls most likely to succeed, by merit of being the girl with whom men would most like to succeed. These geishas of the air may have theoretically catered to both genders, but business flying meant businessmen, and their attendants, were schooled in the art of being the perfect mistress/wife. Accordingly, they learned how to mix cocktails, select wine, serve food and generally make their male passengers comfortable in the subservience-with-a-smile manner of a Fifties marital manual. As actor Robert Vaughn sighed in the BBC documentary Come Fly with Me (The Story of Pan Am): “I just remember the girls. They couldn’t do enough for you.”
The frisky addition was, of course, that these hostesses encouraged not only uxoriousness, but sexual fantasy, being – by contractual obligation – slim, single, under 30 and provocatively uniform-clad. “Fly me,” cooed the sirens in the jet age’s innuendo-laden adverts, encouraging mile-high fantasies everywhere. Air Singapore still trades off the beguilements of its Singapore Girls, albeit said campaigns exploit Orientalism as much as they do sexism. Fancy dress shops are awash with “naughty” stewardess uniforms, a guise that Britney Spears made her bottom-wiggling own in the mile-high-themed video for her hit single Toxic.
Pan Am, the TV series, relishes the full fetishism implied in this particular fantasy of flight. Hair is snipped to a regulation bounce, hats jauntily angled, white gloves pristinely laundered, bottoms pertly pattable, and every girl equipped with the compulsory Revlon Persian Melon smile. In the first episode, there is a weigh-in, a tweaking-based girdle inspection and a scandal over a snagged pair of stockings. As Mary Quant confessed in Come Fly with Me, passengers felt under equal pressure to scrub up: “You kind of dressed up to get on an aeroplane… It was glamorous. It was wonderful.”
Fashion is already experiencing a retro, besuited moment, in which such niceties do not seem entirely out of place. Indeed, modish Singapore-based label Raoul has based its current collection specifically on the Pan Am uniforms of the Sixties and Seventies: brisk blouses, A-line skirts and practical, across-the-body bags. Meanwhile, retailers are leaping on the bandwagon to flog their more traditional wares as “Pan Am-inspired” (thank you, John Lewis). Doubtless, the elevation of Carole Middleton’s daughter to spick-and-span poster girl/future Queen also has something to do with this, but neat-and-nippy suits, silk scarves, sensible courts and flesh-coloured hose are suddenly feeling minxily dapper rather than no-hopedly naff.
However, a TV series cannot flourish by fashion fix alone, and, for many of us, there will be something more than a tad depressing about American television’s fixation with a time when men were martini-swigging men, and women were resolutely second-class citizens. While Mad Men may have shown the struggle of our grandmothers’ generation to be accepted on equal terms, Pan Am lies back and thinks of (flying towards) England. Nevertheless, both celebrate a culture in which a pointy brassiere was more useful to a girl than a pointy head.
Why are conservative periods the only ones that attract producers’ interest? A suffragette drama could still feature frocks (in green, white and violet to symbolise Give Women Votes), a land girl mini-series could go big on headscarves and carmine pouts. However, at least in both we would be celebrating a situation in which women were more than Valiumed, barefoot and pregnant, or mile-high hot stuff.
Or why not opt for later in the history of the hostess? Female flight attendants were at the forefront of Seventies gender campaigning. American activist group Stewardesses for Women’s Rights objected to company discrimination and sexist advertising that encouraged a culture of harassment, carrying many cases to court. Under pressure, the industry went on to drop its age, marriage and – finally – weight restrictions. Hostesses were routinely grounded without pay when their weight exceeded what the airline deemed appropriate.
“Flight attendant”, or “cabin crew” are now deemed more acceptable terms than the servile “stewardess” or “hostess”. Indeed, in the wake of September 11, 2001, society’s image of said flight attendant radically altered again. The selfless heroism of the women who battled to protect passengers and provided vital information about the hijackings is a matter of public record. Today, staff are trained to be physically robust and to take the offensive under attack rather than obeying commands. The passive and compliant trolley dolly has been forever grounded.
Yet a testosterone tang of sexism still lingers around ritzier air travel. When I have been fortunate enough to be flown business class, it frequently has the atmosphere of a gentlemen’s club. I have been asked whether I am “off to a wedding”, “a model” or a “pop star”. I regret to add that – more than once – mention has been made of the mile-high club, as if I may be travelling purely for the sexual entertainment of said male passenger. One regretted having taking a sleeping pill, because otherwise he could have had intercourse with me. That such an act might require consent did not appear to have occurred to him.
The “retro glamour” – for which read antiquated gender stereotypes – played out in Pan Am seems unlikely to improve the situation for the female flier, be she a customer, or one of the industry’s goddesses of the skies.
The high life of the air hostess? Hardly
Today’s trolley dollies face abuse – and even violence – from passengers during the summer exodus. Sally Williams investigates
30 Jul 2011
School’s out, the holidays are here, and Maria Selwick, 28, smiles with relief, thinking, thank God, that’s over. For three years, she worked as an air hostess for a budget airline company, flying to holiday destinations around Europe, and summer turned every day into a living hell.
“The kids and babies scream because their ears are hurting. People get annoyed. Kids kick the back of chairs and run up and down the cabin. It’s just a nightmare,” she says.
“People on board aircraft turn into animals. They boil into sudden shouting if you suggest the ‘hand’ luggage is too big for the locker. They get drunk, leave dirty nappies on the seat. Once we were landing and couldn’t let a woman into the lavatory so she pulled down her pants and did a wee in the galley.”
All the time, she had to recall her most important guideline: Be polite. She had no choice but to roll a trolley through this bedlam because a large portion of her pay depended on how much alcohol she sold.
How life has changed. Back in the 1960s when the jet age was just beginning, air stewardesses had an aura of glamour. It meant flying to tremendously exotic places, meeting lots of people. They wore hats and white gloves; handed out warm bread rolls from a basket.
Libbie Escolme-Schmidt, a former flight attendant who wrote Glamour in the Skies: The Golden Age of the Air Stewardess, remembers escorting passengers to their seats and folding their coats – “and this was in the economy cabin!”
Then, in 1989, the liberalisation of air routes in Europe heralded a boom in budget air travel. The democratic years began. Last year 211 million of us passed through UK airports – a 100-fold increase since 1950. But it’s often a bumpy ride. In 2008-09, the Civil Aviation Authority received 3,529 reports of “disruptive” behaviour on board aircraft. These included 796 reports of passengers arguing with crew, 983 reports of passengers disobeying crew, and 106 who turned violent.
This isn’t to say that the cabin crew don’t flip, too. Frequent-flier blogs ring with tales of “flight attendant rage”. Last year, Steven Slater, a JetBlue attendant, finally decided he’d had enough on the tarmac of Kennedy International Airport. After an argument with a passenger who stood up to fetch his luggage too soon, he launched a four-letter zinger through the public address system, grabbed a beer from the drinks trolley and slid down the emergency chute.
So what’s going on? “The passenger clientele has changed dramatically,” says Judith Osborne, 47, who recently retired after spending 25 years working for such airlines as Dan Air and British Airways. “When I first started it was the elite few and then it was families on package holidays. Now you’ve got the people who are generally 18 to 25.” By which she means drunk quite a lot of the time.
“About seven years ago, I was on a flight to Ibiza, lots of drinking on board, and this couple who’d never met just got together in the loo. There was a queue outside and a passenger said, ‘Someone’s been in there a long time.’ ”
When the couple came out, she took things in hand. “I did a passenger announcement,” she recalls. “I said, ‘Could everyone applaud the couple coming out of the toilet. They’ve just joined the Mile High Club.’ The passengers all applauded and the couple looked embarrassed. In the early days it never happened. I’ve now come across it nine times.”
“It is extremes of human nature writ large in a tiny space,” explains Imogen Edwards-Jones, author of Air Babylon, an exposé of life in the sky. In an aeroplane, she says, you are sealed off from the outside, cocooned in another world. “It’s like when you go through the revolving door of a five-star hotel – normal rules no longer apply. People think they are perfectly entitled to be rude to the air hostess, have sex with the person next to them, and drink everything going.”
She thinks bad behaviour is cabin-specific. “There’s more sexual activity in first class. You are given a bed and for some reason people think it’s more private than it actually is. And it can be quite weird if you end up sleeping next to your boss in a confined space after three glasses of wine – which is basically a bottle, because one drink in the air is worth three on the ground.”
People in economy, on the other hand, are just aggressive, says Edwards-Jones. “I think passengers behaved better when you could smoke. You’ve had a stressful journey there, you’ve had to take your shoes off, your belt off, everyone has searched you. You are more cramped because they pile more people in and you are fed with too much alcohol. Then the person in front of you decides to put their chair back and you’re eating your food under your chin.”
“We’re demeaned and demoted,” agrees Phillip Hodson, a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. “So we’re already irritated, bolshie and desperate to get our full rights in regards of the ticket we’ve paid for. And we perceive the poor flight attendants as enforcing the class division. They draw that curtain to hide us from our betters.”
But we also “eroticise” air travel, he says – “we’re in a flying phallus!” – more specifically the flight attendants themselves. After all, Ralph Fiennes had sex with an Australian stewardess on flight QF123 from Darwin to Mumbai. And Ashley Cole was recently revealed to have slept with air hostess Kerry Meades.
“I heard lots of stories of businessmen hitting on the hostesses,” confirms Edwards-Jones. This is partly because advertising campaigns have always played up their sexual allure. In the 1970s, the motto of Southwest Airlines of Texas was “sex sells seats”. Hotpants were part of the uniform. At the same time, another US airline, the now-defunct National Airlines, ran a famous ad with a pouting stewardess proclaiming, “I’m Cheryl. Fly me.”
To be fair, it wasn’t just companies. Coffee, Tea or Me?, the alleged memoirs of two fictitious stewardesses, published in 1967, launched three sequels, a TV film – and a million male fantasies.
“There’s a great deal of bending over, so it’s a question of cleavage and bottom, I’m afraid,” says Hodson. “But the men are also chosen for their looks, and there’s a market for that. You’ve got somebody serving you and it engenders fantasies.”
Because, of course, we now live in a different era. People have realised that those with a Y chromosome are equally able to serve drinks and stow luggage.
But still stewardesses must look a certain way. “If your hair is longer than your collar you have to wear it up,” says one. “If your ponytail is longer than six inches you have to wear it in a French pleat. You always have to wear high heels.” Even budget airlines, which make cabin crew buy their own uniforms (usually around £300), dictate the colour of tights. “Hazelnut,” says Selwick.
But the job has definitely changed. Rising oil prices, commercial pressure, heightened security and budget cuts mean the whole reason for pushing trolleys through different time zones at 35,000 feet – namely, actually seeing the world – has gone. A trip to Venice, say, is followed almost immediately by the trip home again. “We used to have two whole days in Nairobi and you were free to go off on safari,” remembers one stewardess. “Now it’s a night stop in a cheap hotel.”
“Air hostesses used to be glamorous,” agrees Edwards-Jones. “Now they wear an orange bib and people chuck rubbish at them as they walk up and down the aisle.”
*Some names have been changed
The Daily Mail
5 October 2011
Sheila Riley will never forget the moment the jaw-droppingly handsome man flashed her a dazzling smile and politely asked: ‘You wouldn’t care to join me for dinner, would you? I hate eating alone.’
The invitation came from movie star Paul Newman and the only reason Sheila hesitated was because she was meant to be working.
It was the summer of 1963 and British-born Sheila was a Pan Am air hostess. She was accustomed to meeting famous passengers, but nothing prepared her for the meal she shared at 35,000ft with one of greatest film heart-throbs of all time.
Newman had already set hearts fluttering when he boarded the plane, quietly storing his bag in the overhead locker before settling into seat 2F in the first-class cabin.
‘I took his coat to hang it up and offered him a drink,’ says Sheila. ‘I was all of a dither, even though I tried not to show it.
‘He was devastatingly good-looking and I had him all to myself because I was the only hostess working first-class that day.’
Sheila had to seek the permission of the captain before taking a seat opposite Newman to share a meal of caviar, lobster and profiteroles, washed down with Dom Perignon champagne.
‘I wasn’t meant to drink alcohol on duty, so I swigged my champagne out of a coffee cup so no one would notice,’ says Sheila.
Despite his fame and good looks, Newman didn’t flirt with 25-year-old Sheila. Instead he spoke about his joy at being a husband and father.
‘He was the perfect gentleman. He was happily married to Joanne Woodward and it was obvious how in love he was. It was so refreshing to hear a man talk about his wife in such a loving way,’ says Sheila.
Glamorous: The stars of Pan Am, set to be screened on the BBC this autumn
‘He wanted to know all about me and the places I had travelled to. It was a couple of years after he’d made The Hustler and he was a big star. He said he envied me my freedom.
‘After 45 minutes I said I had better get back to work. He thanked me for my company and settled down for a snooze before landing.’
Sheila was a stewardess during the golden age of flying when service always came with a dazzling smile.
Pan Am, a TV series to be screened by the BBC this autumn, captures that glamorous heyday. The show takes a romanticised look at the lives and loves of the handsome pilots and beautiful air stewardesses who travelled the world seeking adventure and romance.
In their smart, sky-blue uniforms and pillbox hats, Pan Am air hostesses were the envy of women the world over.
‘It wasn’t a job, it was a lifestyle,’ says Sheila. ‘We shopped for gloves and shoes in Rome, perfume in Paris, pearls in Tokyo and had our clothes made in Hong Kong.
‘We had a knees-up on every stop-over — the first thing we would do on landing was buy bottles of gin.’
Now based in New York, 73-year-old glamorous grandmother Sheila was born in Bolton. She started working for the U.S. airline in 1960 at the age of 22 — one of only three applicants out of 2,000 to make the grade in that round of hiring.
She applied out of a spirit of adventure. ‘All my friends were getting engaged and married, but I didn’t want to do that. When I saw an advert for the job, I knew it was my escape route,’ she says.
It is a sentiment shared by Bronwen Roberts, also now in her 70s. Brought up in Porthmadog, she was heading for a staid life as a teacher when she applied to Pan Am in 1958.
The jobs were so coveted that both women became mini-celebrities in their home towns and appeared in the local press. ‘Now she’s to be an air girl!’ exclaimed a headline in Bronwen’s local newspaper.
They were flown first-class to New York on Pan Am flights to start their new lives. Training for the coveted winged badge was rigorous — it included being dumped in the ocean and having to swim to a life-raft. But mostly it was about learning the art of serving the lucky passengers who could afford to fly in that era.
Golden age: Pan Am recreates the time when air travel was the height of glamour
Meals in first-class were provided by the famous Maxim’s restaurant in Paris: seven-course affairs presented on fine china and table linens.
For this, they earned £80 a month — a small fortune in those days and far more than a teacher or secretary.
Such privilege came at a price: Pan Am girls were subject to a beauty inspection before each flight.
‘When you checked in for work you’d go into the office and there would be a grooming supervisor on duty all the time,’ says Bronwen.
‘She could say « Your hair’s too straggly » or « You’ve put on weight » and send you home until you fixed it. We all tried to conform and look our best because none of us wanted to be grounded.’
All the stewardesses were given a long list of grooming requirements in the flight service manual they had to follow at all times. Everyone wore the tailored blue two-piece Pan Am uniform, designed by Don Loper of Hollywood, along with a crisp white blouse. Underwear had to be a white bra, full slip, girdle and stockings.
There was even regulation make-up: Revlon’s Persian Melon lipstick and matching nail polish. Charles Revlon was on the Pan Am board of directors.
Sky high ratings: Pan Am stars American actress Christina Ricci as a stewardess
‘If you were caught wearing, say, blue eye-shadow or scarlet lipstick you were told to wipe it off because they wanted us to look natural and wholesome,’ says Sheila.
You had to be single. Married, divorced or separated women were banned. These petty rules seem laughable today, but Pan Am cabin crew in the Sixties thought it was a small price to pay for the freedom to travel abroad, still a relatively rare experience for most people.
Pan American World Airways — as the airline was officially known — was unique among airlines in that it focused on international flights. Celebrities flocked to fly on its Clippers, as its planes were known.
Bronwen remembers The Stratocruiser, which had a spiral staircase leading down to a bar, a bridal suite up front and pull-down beds for passengers.
On one occasion in 1961, she was on board a 707, one of the early jets, when Sir Winston Churchill flew back from New York to London after cruising in the Caribbean with Aristotle Onassis.
The Greek ship-owner had bought out the entire first-class section of the aircraft for the former prime minister and his entourage, which included his private secretary, two nurses, a bodyguard — and a budgerigar.
‘We were waiting at the top of the steps to greet Sir Winston when a bodyguard came on board carrying a little bird in a cage,’ says Bronwen.
‘It turns out Onassis had bought Sir Winston the budgie as a present. It was called Byron and chirped throughout the whole flight, which was rather annoying.
‘Sir Winston ploughed his way through lobster thermidor and roast beef and drank several glasses of Chateau Lafite Rothschild. He followed that up with cognac and smoked two cigars — everyone smoked on flights in those days.’
Bronwen remembers Churchill as being ‘absolutely delightful’ and also recalls the cleaners rushing on to the plane after he disembarked in London, searching the ashtrays for his cigar butts as souvenirs.
Though nothing tops her dinner with Paul Newman, Sheila met many celebrities during her time. She looked after David Niven on a flight to the South of France.
‘He was so charming and impeccably dressed,’ she says.
‘He came to join me at the back of first-class and said: « Let’s play a game. » For about 15 minutes we had to match the faces of all the passengers to imaginary dogs. So a lady with curly hair looked like a poodle and a man who was scowling looked like a boxer. I laughed so much I thought I might get in trouble.’
Peter Sellers and his then wife Britt Ekland were on another flight. ‘This was just after he had appeared as an Indian doctor in The Millionairess with Sophia Loren and I complimented him on his accent. For the rest of the flight, he spoke to me in an Indian accent and kept wobbling his head. He had us all in stitches,’ says Sheila.
But not every celebrity was as entertaining. According to the former stewardesses, Bing Crosby was ‘a miserable so and so’ while Joan Crawford, whose husband was on the Pan Am board, travelled with her own coolbox containing Pepsi and vodka.
‘To be blunt, she was a complete lush,’ says Sheila. ‘She started downing the booze from the minute she boarded.’
Predictably, Warren Beatty flirted with every stewardess he laid eyes on. ‘He hung around the galley all night on one New York to London flight,’ says Bronwen.
‘He was chasing a very pretty German stewardess, asking her what she was doing when she got to London and if she wanted to go out with him.
‘When she said she had a boyfriend, he wasn’t in the least discouraged — he just went on to the next stewardess.
‘He worked his way through all of us, but we knew his reputation and weren’t going to fall for it.’
Romance, of course, played a huge part in the lives of Pan Am stewardesses.
‘We had these long trips when we would be away with the same crew for 21 or 24 days,’ says Bronwen. ‘We’d be in romantic places such as Hong Kong or Istanbul, so romance — and affairs — were inevitable. The captains were nicknamed Sky Gods and that’s how we regarded them. They were rugged, virile, attractive men so, of course, we flirted outrageously. If you caught the eye of a captain, it was a feather in your cap.’
Sheila’s love life flourished when she was a Pan Am stewardess.
‘We were the supermodels of the day and every important man wanted a Pan Am stewardess on his arm, so we didn’t go short of offers,’ she says.
American-born Anne Sweeney, who worked for Pan Am from 1964 to 1975, says: ‘I remember walking as a group through airports and crowds would part to let us through.
‘Little girls would come up to me and say: « I’m going to be like you when I grow up. »‘
However, the airline went out of business in 1991. The downing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie by terrorists was a contributing factor, but bad management, rising fuel prices, the introduction of costly 747s and competition on international routes also played a part.
Today, many former Pan Am stewardesses are members of World Wings International, a philanthropic organisation that raises money for charity. They meet regularly at destinations around the world to do good deeds and remember the glory days.
‘We were a kind of sisterhood,’ says Sheila. ‘And we really did have the best job in the world.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2045365/Pan-Am-Former-hostesses-recall-life-airline-new-TV-airs-US.html#ixzz3Mngd8OPZ
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