Airlines and Gender Norms Essay

Submitted By Drummergurl4u1
Words: 1093
Pages: 5

GWSS 251
Assignment 3 Airlines of today Airline advertisements have evolved over the years from telling society to see the stewardess’s as their mothers to using sexual innuendo’s to fill seats on their planes. However it ads have also encouraged the gender roles of society as well as the placement of race in the workplace. According to Peter Lythe the major transition to believe “sex sells” began in the fifties and gained popular as the swinging sixties picked up speed as well as the popularization of playboy (Think of Her As Your Mother).To this day it is common to find advertisements that follow the basic concept of sex selling, for example Virgin Atlanta placed an advertisement of two panels one read “Play with yourself” the other with “9 inches of Pleasure”. (Example 1) At first sight one’s attention is caught by the blatant sexual innuendo, but after reading the fine print on the advertisements one finds that its writing about the nine inch screens that give the airlines passengers the ability to watch a variety of movies as well as play with video games. Another example of the over sexualized advertisements of today is the classic “M.I.L.F.”(Example 2) add that was presented by Spirit Airlines. This ad featured a voluptuous middle aged woman who wore a tight fitting white dress smiling in front of one of the company’s planes. Of course when there was conflicts due to the racy message of the ad (which was translated to be Many Islands Low Fare) the airline responded by saying it was an innocent mistake. Virgin Airlines also featured an ad that had surfboard wax titled Sex Wax, as the advertisement wrote “No ‘Sex Wax’ please, we’re British Airlines.” (Example 3) Obviously in this advertisement they really wanted to emphasis on the word Sex, however the ad was about the fact that surfboards fly free on British Airlines. From Over sexualized ads we move to the way women are portrayed in airline ads. A great example includes an advertisement that was put out by Bangkok based Nok Airlines that was trying to recruit stewardess. On this add it made sure to include all of the qualifications which included “minimum height 160 cm, (weight must be proportionate to height” “females age not over 25”, and best of all “must not wear dental braces.” This add nearly replicates the qualifications that American stewardesses faced in the 1950’s yet it was put out just this year. (Example 4) The airline for Cathay Pacific recently put out an advertisement of their stewardesses heading to work all the while the add was set up to create the image of them being a sports team, each having numbers on the back of their stewardess uniforms all the while helping people they meet on the way to work whether it be signing footballs, to pulling a cart with a big burley athlete in it. At the end the women are walking through a tunnel to a football field full of cheering crowd’s however when it switches views a trolley cart used by stewardesses is what exits the tunnel. (Example 5) There was also another ad that was put out by Virgin Atlantic that focused on children who were born gifted. In this add it highlighted multiple different children, each who ended up being a part of the airline industry. This advertisement was the most interesting and the most controversial that I had seen of all of them. The advertisement focused on five children two of which were women and one of the boys was African American. The two white males ended up getting very successful careers in being pilots or engineers. Both women and the African American male got the jobs of being the flight attendants. The red headed woman’s ability was to literally brighten up the passenger’s days and the stewardess of Asian descents ability was to be able to foresee the necessities of passengers (the ad also made sure to emphasize her origins in by starting with a scene of her at the doctor’s office and the father and doctor speaking in their ethnic language). The African