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(CBC) AC FAs Sexually Harassed by Management


Kip Powick
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There is a certain irony in your statement, Defcon. You ask; " If a woman dresses 'hot'....."

Therein lies the issue. Why is it " hot"? Because her attire accentuates that which appeals to your baser instincts? And so, you would restrict this person's choice of clothing so as to minimize the possibility that she would be alluring.....to you?

Methinks the Taliban had something similar in mind.

On the other hand, you have an employer such as Hooters which selects employees and mandates clothing that is intended to appeal to those " baser instincts".

If Air Canada ( emphasis " if") selected a uniform design that was intended to emphasize the sexuality of female cabin crew, would that be in contravention of existing laws.

That might be a very reasonable question.

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51 minutes ago, UpperDeck said:

There is a certain irony in your statement, Defcon. You ask; " If a woman dresses 'hot'....."

Therein lies the issue. Why is it " hot"? Because her attire accentuates that which appeals to your baser instincts? And so, you would restrict this person's choice of clothing so as to minimize the possibility that she would be alluring.....to you?

Methinks the Taliban had something similar in mind.

On the other hand, you have an employer such as Hooters which selects employees and mandates clothing that is intended to appeal to those " baser instincts".

If Air Canada ( emphasis " if") selected a uniform design that was intended to emphasize the sexuality of female cabin crew, would that be in contravention of existing laws.

That might be a very reasonable question.

Of course we can not forget those who line up to work under those conditions.........

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Does a universal standard exist, or will the resolution reflect the hearing official's sense of 'reasonable'?

I'm asking; without a common code, will the decision of the human rights commission be guided by the sensibilities of the guy with the Taliban perspective, or the one that frequents Hooters?

 

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10 hours ago, Malcolm said:

Of course we can not forget those who line up to work under those conditions.........

Malcolm..

That fact is also an integral part of the debate. If you have to wear skimpy clothing to generate generous tips, do you forfeit the right to object by applying for the job? The question presupposes the existence of viable options. For many, financial needs; lack of education; family history etc. reduce those options and one is left with few alternatives.

As an ancillary issue, if such jobs are consigned to the " physically attractive" ( according to today's values), what of those who do not qualify? In essence, they are being " body shamed"; excluded from certain economic activity simply because by accident of birth, they are not deemed attractive.

It is a very slippery slope and as we glide downward, we might keep in mind that the judgments being rendered....the "power" being exercised.....is by men.

Note....these are nothing more than comments within a discussion and are not necessarily reflective of my personal opinion.

Edited by UpperDeck
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3 minutes ago, DEFCON said:

Does a universal standard exist, or will the resolution reflect the hearing official's sense of 'reasonable'?

I'm asking; without a common code, will the decision of the human rights commission be guided by the sensibilities of the guy with the Taliban perspective, or the one that frequents Hooters?

 

You'll forgive me, Defcon, but the point may be that " that guy" might be a Hooters regular and have a Taliban perspective!! Consider the popularity of alcohol in many private Muslim homes in the Middle East.

The benchmark is " do as I say not do as I do".

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1 hour ago, UpperDeck said:

That fact is also an integral part of the debate. If you have to wear skimpy clothing to generate generous tips, do you forfeit the right to object by applying for the job?

The question presupposes the existence of viable options. For many, financial needs; lack of education; family history etc. reduce those options and one is left with few alternatives.

As an ancillary issue, if such jobs are consigned to the " physically attractive" ( according to today's values), what of those who do not qualify? In essence, they are being " body shamed"; excluded from certain economic activity simply because by accident of birth, they are not deemed attractive.

Oh, boo hoo!  So what.  I'll never play in the NBA and never front a Rock and Roll band 'cause I got no talent for either.  If you're born smart you take on a career that capitalizes on that, if you're born attractive you become a model and if you are not attractive you get a job working in radio.  Life deals out talents, attractiveness and luck randomly.  It's not fair or equitable.  Find your niche and do the best you can.

It is a very slippery slope and as we glide downward, we might keep in mind that the judgments being rendered....the "power" being exercised.....is by men.

Wrong.  Women hold the power and, BTW, where do you get this idea that we are "gliding downward?"  

Note....these are nothing more than comments within a discussion and are not necessarily reflective of my personal opinion.

 

Edited by seeker
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2 hours ago, UpperDeck said:

M

It is a very slippery slope and as we glide downward, we might keep in mind that the judgments being rendered....the "power" being exercised.....is by men.

Note....these are nothing more than comments within a discussion and are not necessarily reflective of my personal opinion.

Not necessarily in this day and age. Some people of all genders enjoy looking at attractive people of the opposite sex, now if there was only a universal definition of attractive. :D

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15 minutes ago, Malcolm said:

Not necessarily in this day and age. Some people of all genders enjoy looking at attractive people of the opposite sex, now if there was only a universal definition of attractive. :D

All genders?  You mean both of them?

Universal definition of beauty?  Yes, that exists;  clear skin, symmetrical features and a waist-to-hip ratio of .70 with high cheek bones (for women) square jaw (for men), that's all you need.

Symmetric faces are construed as more beautiful than asymmetric faces in all cultures (irrespective of the race of the person being evaluated and the race of the evaluator). You can visit Bedouins in the Middle East, the Yanomamo in the Amazon, and Inuits in the Canadian north, and they will all agree as to who is or is not beautiful (based on facial features). Clear skin is a universal preference. Certain morphological features that connote masculinity (square jaw) or femininity (high-cheek bones) are universally preferred. Rotund Rubanesque women, heavier women preferred in Central Africa, and catwalk thin models, while varying greatly in terms of their weight, all tend to have hourglass figures that correspond roughly to a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.70 (although cultural settings can slightly alter that preference). Babies who are insufficiently cognitively developed to be influenced by socialization gaze at symmetric faces for longer periods than they do at asymmetric ones. I can provide numerous other examples that support the universal components of beauty but I suppose that you get the point. It seems that irrespective of the number of times that these points are made, social constructivists simply cannot accept the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence in support of the universality of some beauty metrics.

 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/homo-consumericus/201004/beauty-culture-specific-or-universally-defined

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55 minutes ago, seeker said:

All genders?  You mean both of them?

Universal definition of beauty?  Yes, that exists;  clear skin, symmetrical features and a waist-to-hip ratio of .70 with high cheek bones (for women) square jaw (for men), that's all you need.

Not just two At least 3 traditional (you forgot bi) and then according to some, there may be 60 or more gender differences. ....... I think 3 is enough.

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8 hours ago, J.O. said:

Well the downward spiral of this thread was predictable. Sad, but predictable.

Hah!  You're sad and predictable!  Oh, wait, that doesn't help does it?

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This article is somewhat dated but little has changed (or so I am lead to believe)

Flight attendant uniforms: Why do airlines still make female flight attendants wear skirts?

Natalie ParisEtihad Airways latest uniforms for its crew, launched last year.
  • Virgin Atlantic's new Vivienne Westwood uniform collection.
  • Virgin Atlantic's new Vivienne Westwood uniform collection.
  • Skymark has faced criticism over its flight attendants' short skirts.
  • Shinichi Nishikubo, president of Skymark Airlines, poses for a photograph with members of the company's cabin crew.
  • The sarong uniform worn by Singapore Airlines flight crew has been criticised for being impractical.
  • British Airways The airline decided to allow female cabin crew staff to wear trousers in 2004 but now it says only ...
  • British Airways decided to allow female cabin crew staff to wear trousers in 2004 but now it says only skirts are allowed.
  • Lufthansa flight attendants will wear dirndls for Oktoberfest.
  • There were calls last year by Cathay Pacific flight attendants to redesign their uniforms because they are too revealing ...
  • There were calls last year by Cathay Pacific flight attendants to redesign their uniforms because they are too revealing ...
  • Flight attendants in original Qantas uniforms from the 1970s at the launch of the airline's new retro-livery on its ...
  • Air New Zealand flight crew.

Airlines, these days, release new uniforms to much pomp and ceremony. In a bid to outshine each other, fashion designers are called in to create new looks, with Vivienne Westwood behind Virgin's striking new designs – which for women combine "hot red" skirts with frill-front blouses and oversized collars.

One of the more recent was unveiled by French airline La Compagnie, which was one of the first to offer staff the option of culottes – the loose-fitting shorts that in 2014 made a fashion comeback.

Handy, you might think, for those who can't decide between wearing skirts and trousers. But actually, for cabin crew, that choice rarely exists.

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In recent years there appears to have been a move away from giving female staff the option to wear trousers.

British Airways staff, for example, are no longer able to wear trousers unless part of the long-haul only team, even though the airline introduced trousers for women in 2004.

A recent report in the Daily Mail claimed that some of BA's staff have complained about this, with a union representing stewards poised to take action, but the airline told us it had not received any complaints.

Etihad's uniform too, used to give staff the option of both trousers and skirts, but its new range also allows skirts only, a result, the airline said, of much consultation with crew.

"Don't you think it's a little sexist?" said Heather Poole, an American air stewardess and the author of Cruising Attitude: Tales of Crashpads, Crew Drama and Crazy Passengers.

Despite wearing a skirt while working herself, she said at times they can be impractical. "Flight attendants are there for safety," she said. "Pantyhose are highly flammable. If I'm wearing a skirt, I'm also wearing hose - as I fight a fire."

Ms Poole said she chooses to wear a skirt however for aesthetic reasons.

"I almost always wear the skirt, but that's because I don't look good in our pants [trousers]. They're not flattering. But when I'm standing outside the Denver airport waiting for the hotel van to take us to the hotel and it's seven degrees outside, I usually wish I had my pants on. Or when there's a blizzard in New York and I have to work, well, I think I'll wear the pants, regardless of those unflattering pleats."

Lee Cobaj, a travel writer who flew with Thomas Cook as a stewardess for 18 years, was surprised to hear that airlines were backing away from women in trousers but said that she struggled to remember seeing any female crew members wearing them.

"The uniform is a big part of projecting an airline's image," she explained. "The grooming standards that go along with that are extremely stringent too, a certain size of earring, say, and permitted ways to colour and wear your hair. High heels still have to be worn outside of the aircraft and Virgin even have specific lipsticks – I can't think of any other industries that would get away with it."

Sky-high standards

BA expects cabin crew to wear lipstick and blusher "as a minimum".

The sarong part of Asian uniforms, including the "Singapore Girl" uniform, worn by Singapore Airlines cabin crew, has been criticised for being impractical.

Last year, Japan's Skymark Airlines dressed staff in skimpy miniskirts which some said left them open to harrassment.

Virgin Atlantic's high heels gave staff blisters, according to some reports, and its new collars scratched necks.

British Airways' website makes it clear to prospective cabin crew that tattoos are only allowed if they can be covered up, something which is easier for men, being required to show less flesh. "Gentlemen may have tattoos on their legs as trousers can conceal them," it states.

Women, however, are not allowed tattoos even on their feet, as all female shoes "must be of the classic court style, which leaves the top and side of the foot exposed. The maximum permitted hosiery density is 15 denier and does not cover up tattoos."

The airlines contacted for this story had differing policies regarding trousers for women.

Most however, suggested that their strict uniform standards were an accepted part of the job, with the overwhelming majority of female cabin crew wanting to wear skirts. Even airlines that do allow trousers as an option said that few cabin crew, if any, take it up.

BA said the management team for its long and short-haul cabin crew had not received a request from female crew members to wear trousers in four years. "Our cabin crew are proud to wear one of the industry's most iconic uniforms," it said.

Virgin Atlantic, however, does give females a trouser option – Vivienne Westwood herself sported a riotous pair at the Virgin uniform's launch party.

"Virgin Atlantic has an iconic look for its crew of which we are extremely proud," a spokesman said, "and the standard uniform includes a skirt. However the comfort of our people is very important to us and therefore trousers can be provided with requests reviewed on a case by case basis."

Emirates refused to comment on the issue, while Etihad Airways said its new, skirt-only female uniforms had been "enthusiastically well received by our crew and guests since we launched them in December."

The female trouser option was dropped after criteria including safety, durability, functionality, and style for a workforce of more than 140 nationalities, were considered.

Etihad's crew were "deeply involved" in the creation of Ettore Bilotta's feminine designs, a spokesman said, and, while previously an option on a few specific flight sectors, "female cabin crew indicated a clear preference against trousers in the new design process".

Trousers are not an issue at EasyJet however. "EasyJet provides all of its female cabin crew with the option of wearing either a dress, skirt or trousers when on duty," a spokesman said. "The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is easyJet's highest priority and we comply with all relevant regulations."

In contrast, Ryanair, perhaps unsurprisingly for an airline that published an annual calendar of staff in bikinis until just last year, makes its female crew wear skirts.

A Ryanair spokesman said its uniform options are under review, along with all other aspects of the budget airline's operation.

One reason for cabin crew wanting to look glamorous is the feeling that it is important for airline staff stand out, giving them more authority in the eyes of passengers.

Lufthansa revived a tradition of staff wearing Bavarian uniform in 2005.

"It is important to convey a somewhat glamorous image – travel should be alluring - but are these airlines trying to say women can't look presentable – even fabulous - in trousers?" said Lee Cobaj.

"A uniform should be there to project authority and professionalism, so that passengers feel that they can rely on you in emergency, but not to attract sexual attention.

"There are a lot of crew who like wearing skirts and feeling feminine – and that should be fine too. But which attire one chooses to wear to work should most definitely be a choice for adults in 2015."

One which the airline industry, compared to other major industries, seems slow to recognise.

In Australia, cabin crew uniforms are required under law to be designed to meet industry safety standards, such as fire safety. However there is no rule limiting airlines from prescribing female flight attendants to only wear skirts and dresses, said Flight Attendants' Association of Australia (FAAA) national industrial officer for the international division, Steven Reed.

"The aesthetic and fashion value of uniforms, in addition to safety, is given different weight by individual airlines. Shapes and style that are flattering on the figure as well as colour are usually chosen to fit the airline branding."

While no airline in Australia has yet to set a "no pants" rule for its female flight crew, Mr Reed said this doesn't mean they can't, adding that if that ever happens; the FAAA will oppose such policies.

"The FAAA is in support of pants being included in individual airline's flight crew uniform policy from a safety perspective," said Mr Reed.

"Flight attendants need to conduct fire fighting and range of flight safety tasks, so uniforms need to have an element of practicality in their design to allow for a range of movements.

"Pants in these circumstances may be the choice for female cabin crew. For example, during an emergency evacuation requiring an inflated slide, wearing a skirt or dress with panty hose may prove to be more of a harzard if the panty hose rips or causes burn rashes when sliding down."

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3 minutes ago, st27 said:

Doing the best you can doesn’t cut it anymore at AC!

Back in the day it wasn't about doing the best you could, it was all about doing the best the company required or it was goodbye time.  Society has changed but the paying public demands / expectations have not.

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22 minutes ago, st27 said:

Doing the best you can doesn’t cut it anymore at AC!

Well I can't comment on FAs and Low Level Managers etc...but as a driver I think we always  did "the best we can" in hopes of getting the pax there safely and OT if all possible.

If any pilot was not flying at the best he can ...IMO...he shouldn't be occupying the pointy end.

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Agreed. Kip....as far as the f/as go, I think most of them try to do the best they can, which in a lot of cases is more than the co. requires....some still have old school values towards in flight service which the co. would rather forget about as it is “too expensive”.

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22 minutes ago, FA@AC said:

AC isn't amused, and is apparently filing a lawsuit against CUPE and/or the CUPE V.P. who was quoted in the CUPE press releases on the subject.

That may sort the "wheat from the chaff" or so we say in the west. 

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11 hours ago, FA@AC said:

AC isn't amused, and is apparently filing a lawsuit against CUPE and/or the CUPE V.P. who was quoted in the CUPE press releases on the subject.

Glad to hear it, CUPE is everything I despise about Unions.

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Only a few short decades ago airlines maintained "beauty Standards" for their flight attendants.  If those standards were no longer met then the FA was relegated to a ground position.  By looking at other harassment cases going on in the world today, there are thousands of flight attendants that have a harassment case stemming from forty years ago.

Professional Grooming and uniform standards can dictate, clothing worn (uniform including under garments), Make up (colour palette), Hair (short or long styling), nails (length and colour), and shoes.   Body size and shape are off limits. "attractiveness" is also off limits but is sometimes circumvented surreptitiously.   This applies to both Males and females equally.  You can tell me what to wear and how to wear it but you cannot tell me to lose weight or gain weight.

A Dress code is a dress code, calling it anything else is ridiculous.

As for the actual harassment accusations, they should be dealt with in a timely fashion. 

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