Journalist and flight attendants. Sheraton Towers Lobby. Tuesday night. September 20, 2011.
I know. Not a good photo. Sometimes the cell phone camera surprises me with a great shot. Sometimes not. But I still like the colors here, but more than that I like the sketchiness of it. This vignette would have made a better drawing than a photograph, no matter how good the camera, and if I was a better, and faster, and bolder, cartoonist I’d have tried to make a sketch. I’m jealous of artists like ArtMagenta.
I also wish I could draw birds.
Aren’t those attractive uniforms though? I don’t have high expectations for the new TV show Pan Am---Get it? Airline, stewardesses, high expectations?---but I am secretly hoping it brings back the word stewardess back into favor. I understand why the word needed to die. But there’s no glamour in being a flight attendant, which is in keeping with the way domestic air service has become elevated bus service, and it’s such a clunky, functional term anyway. Flight attendant. It’s supposed to emphasize their place as part of the crew, the professionals who get you safely and efficiently from here to there, but that’s just it. It emphasizes their position as employees of the airlines. Flight attendants work for the corporation and take care of the company’s equipment. Stewardesses take care of their passengers.
Male flight attendants probably wouldn’t object to going back to being called stewards. It works for their seagoing counterparts.
Non-sexist language doesn’t have to be sex-less. You can change connotations as easily as you can change the terminology. I think firefighter and police officer are better words because they are more descriptive, and language is meant to be descriptive not prescriptive. Calling an actress an actor is less descriptive. Besides, while it doesn’t matter if the first responder who shows up at your burning house is a fireman or a firewoman, it probably does matter if the person auditioning for a part in your play is an actor or actress. It shouldn’t matter if the restaurant worker who serves your meal is a waiter or a waitress, but nobody’s come up with a good, that is more descriptive, alternative---the embarrassing to have to introduce yourself as server is best treated as joke between the waiter or waitress and customers. The word stewardess can shed all its connotations of Coffee, tea, or me?
Did I mention I wish I could draw?