Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hillary The Flight Attendant

Personally, I prefer stewardess over flight attendant. "Stewardess" provokes visuals of mini-skirts and martinis, hosiery and jaunty hats. It provokes a sexist era where women let their men fight for them when they suffer a case of the vapors at the first sign of conflict.

Maureen Dowd asks whether Hillary Clinton should act like a Flight Attendant to get elected. That Boeing has already sailed, Mo Do. Hillary has a nice long pattern of cloaking herself in stereotype if the political climate gets uncomfortable.

If Hillary "crashes the Oval ceiling" as Ms. Dowd says, it will be because (or despite of, depending on how you look at it) she went Retro. I don't think she or anyone in her campaign believes that being a woman among equals will get her elected.

We'll know things have changed, when Hillary acts like a Pilot, taking command, during a crisis. So far, all we've seen is a Stewardess in distress.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Stewardess" is just the feminine form of "Steward", a crewman (or woman) who was responsible for the welfare of passengers on a voyage.

Ever notice that the "non-offensive" replacement words are more like long phrases in Bureaucratese? I think George Carlin had a bit about how "Shell Shock" (WW1) became "Combat Fatigue" (WW2) became "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (VIETNAAAAAAM!) And they only last until the Kyle's Moms get offended again by the new phrase.

I got nailed for using the term "Stewardess" in my first pro-published SF story. The character in question came from a culture whose language was completely gendered, with no neuter gender and masculine and feminine forms of each and every noun. Call her a "Flight Attendant" and she'd ask "Flight Attendant (Male) or Flight Attendant (Female)?"

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