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Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants
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Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  42 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
“In her new chic outfit, she looks like anything but a stewardess working. But work she does. Hard, too. And you hardly know it.” So read the text of a 1969 newspaper advertisement for Delta Airlines featuring a picture of a brightly smiling blond stewardess striding confidently down the aisle of an airplane cabin to deliver a meal.From the moment the first stewardesses to ...more
Paperback, 328 pages
Published February 28th 2007 by Duke University Press Books (first published February 7th 2007)
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Chris Cook
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This is one of the books we read for our Gender and Labor in American History course. Barry does an excellent and seemingly thorough job of describing the evolution of flight attendants, from the air nurse days in the 1930s to post-9/11. The highly feminine faces of stewardesses could be the poster children for women's labor evolution, and their struggles to be taken seriously in their chosen occupation echoes the struggles of many groups of women in the workforce--to include my personal interes ...more
John Rivera
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
Amazing book. If you're looking for something nostalgic, sexy, and exciting... well, this isn't the book. If however, you're looking for something that goes into the history of flight attendants, airline labor history, feminism, and the social consequences of an industry bent on selling sex--this is a excellent text.

I've flown very often on a variety of airlines across the world, I've dated a flight attendant, and I consider myself knowledgeable in labor history in general; however, this book to
Jun 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Labor Historians
A little less cultural or social history than I would have liked, less anecdotal evidence. For those who are interested in women's labor history and the co-evolution of Association of Flight Attendants-CWA and the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) this is a great resource.

There is a chapter on advertising that I particularly liked: "Come Fly Me--Fly Yourself!" that unlocked how attendants had to overcome their visual representation--that hospitality isn't work, and all they have to do is
Feb 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: duke-press
This is an especially readable one of our books. I took home the manuscript before publication and actually got sucked in. Barry relates a lot of fascinating and shocking information about what it was like to be a flight attendant before the mid 70s.
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
A look into the assumptions and prejudices around the flight attendant profession.
Feb 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
Interesting but a little dry. I would have like more stories from flight attendance and less labor union history.
Sean Collins
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Great read - focused more on the legal struggles of flight attendants and flight attendant unionism less so but still good.
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Kathleen M. Barry received a BA magna cum laude in history from Harvard University in 1992, and a PhD in history from New York University in 2002. She has taught American history at NYU and Cambridge.

In 2004 she served as an historical advisor for “Fly With Me: The History of the Flight Attendant,” a documentary film produced by West Park Pictures and Kaizen West Productions. The film was initiall
More about Kathleen M. Barry...