11/29/10

The Groovy Age of Travel #4: Maybe Not So Groovy After All



A lot of groovy aspects of the 1960s and 1970s have captured our attention on Retrospace simply because things were so remarkably different that it's hard to even imagine them as true. In this politically correct climate, the idea of a stewardess sexpot is damn near science fiction.  Sounds wonderful from a man's point of view.... not so much from the woman's.





In the book, Sex Objects in the Sky: A Personal Account of the Stewardess Rebellion (1974), author Paula Kane imagines what a male passenger is thinking:

"What is that pretty young stewardess thinking as she walks gracefully down the aisle to give you your third drink? Is she anxious to "Make You Feel Good All Over", as much of the airlines' advertising says? Or is she perhaps musing about last night's orgy, as films such as The Swinging Stewardesses and Come Fly with Me would suggest?"



Kane explains that,"if she is a stewardess who has been flying for some time, the chances are very good she is only hoping that you won't make a pass at her or get drunk or make a scene."

From the book Femininity in Flight (2007) by Kathleen Morgan Barry::

With ever bolder innuendo, airlines invited passengers to consider titillation by steardesses a main attraction of air travel.... By the early 1970s invitations to sexual fantasy had become the overriding theme of the most visible and innovative airline marketing schemes.... the general trend of the late 1960s and early 1970s was to replace hints that stewardesses' sexual allure was but one, albeit important, visceral pleasure of jet travel with coy but clear indications that sexual provocation was the ultimate thrill aloft.



Yes, truth be told, the "Groovy Age of Travel" was probably only groovy for the guys....  Or is it too simplistic to paint all these women as helpless victims? In another supposed personal account, Coffee, Tea or Me?, it was a time of sexual liberation, and not to mention great fun.

What's the truth of the story? I guess, like most anything in life, nothing is ever black and white.  There were gals having the time of their lives, riding the wave of the sexual revolution and loving every minute of it.  Then there were those stewardesses who were utterly disgusted by the manhandling from sloshed businessmen. 

Now we have professional women and men, skinny and fat, young and grizzled, flying the friendly skies in button down shirts and slacks.  Aren't we all much happier now?

2 comments:

  1. "There were gals having the time of their lives, riding the wave of the sexual revolution and loving every minute of it. Then there were those stewardesses who were utterly disgusted by the manhandling from sloshed businessmen."

    It doesn't have to be an either/or, though. A woman could be liberated and sexually active AND be put off by a gross obnoxious drunk. The sexual revolution may have meant being open to swinging and experimentation, but it didn't actually oblige you to do it with every single person who asked, no matter how unappealing. (As I learned to my great disappointment, some years after the sexual revolution was called off...)

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  2. Q: What's the diference between a Stewardess and a Flight Attendant? A: 125 pounds.

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