There is hardly any other place where role clichés are cultivated as clearly as above the clouds: there are strict rules for airline crews as far as their appearance is concerned. While the gentlemen get away with it quite comfortably in smart trousers and ties, the female colleagues squeeze into pencil skirts, tight blazers and pumps.
This is not only unfair for reasons of comfort. After all, there should be women who don’t feel comfortable in skirts or who can’t identify with feminine clothing. And vice versa, there should be men who would love to show their personality – in a skirt. An airline has now understood exactly that: Virgin Atlantic is the first to give its employees the freedom to choose their work clothes – regardless of their gender. The cabin crew, the pilots, the crew on the ground, they all have “the opportunity to choose which of our uniforms represents them best”, tweeted VirginAtlantic.
Which of the wine and crimson designs by fashion rebel Vivienne Westwood will be worn by employees in the future is no longer linked to their biological gender or sexual identity. If a man is in the mood for rock, he can come to work like this. And if Ms. Hose finds it more practical, that’s okay too. And above all: smart, because those who feel good about themselves also deliver better work.
In the future, employees will also be able to put their pronouns on their name tags – i.e. show passengers whether they want to be addressed as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” In the future, the guests themselves should also be able to book their flight tickets in a gender-neutral manner.
So far, inclusion and individuality have mostly had no place on board. Women in particular suffer from gender stereotypes. Too strong, too tattooed, too small, too many earrings, too colorful nail polish – the other airlines are meticulous about the looks of their employees. During the training, which lasts several months, female candidates learn how to put on make-up, care for their faces, practice tying their collars and styling their hair. If you want to be part of the crew, you have to look flawless. Virgin Atlantic abolished the make-up requirement three years ago. Why not? After all, the crew’s job isn’t to look good, it’s to ensure safety tens of thousands of meters above the ground. How they do that is ultimately jacket like pants.