To be an airline stewardess — you know, what we call a flight attendant now — back in the early part of the jet age, you didn’t need technical skills, geography knowledge, safety know-how, or travel experience. What the airlines were really looking for was simple: women who were pretty, slim, young, and single.

Here’s a look at some of the requirements and preferences that put you in the running for a coveted stewardess job back in the ’40s.

Back in the 40s, to work as a stewardess, you had to be single — at least when you started. (Widows and divorcees were allowed in some situations as long as they were “unencumbered.”) For many years, if you got hitched, you’d have to trade your wings for a wedding ring. You could pick one: a husband or your job.

Some were grounded in reason — for instance, a woman shorter than 5’2″ probably couldn’t reach into the overhead storage area — but many of the job requirements were just plain sexism in action.

In fact, someone came across an advertisement for a “TWA Air Hostess” that ran back in the mid-1940s. The ad was looking for a woman with various “qualifications” that would be considered illegal during the hiring process for our current generation of workers.

The job was only looking for a female that was very young, impressionable, and likely to appeal to the men who largely flew on the airline across the United States for business and other engagements.

According to AWM, the job posting was shared on Reddit, where it accumulated more than four thousand comments from people who both applauded and ridiculed the sexist nature of the advertisement.

“My aunt was a flight attendant in the ’60s. They had to be pretty, maintain a certain weight, and be single. If they married, they had to quit. They were also required to wear makeup and do their hair according to guidelines.”

“My mom was a flight attendant in the ’70s. She trained herself to sleep on her back in full hair and makeup in case she got called in. I can’t even imagine that today.”

“My mom was also an attendant in the 60s. She was weighed before every flight. If she were a pound over 135, she was not allowed on the plane and not paid for the day. It had absolutely no effect on her mental health and relationship with food, and in no way passed that trauma to her children. It’s all cool and good.”

“As a graduate of a top private college and military vet father, I was called in for recruitment as Federal Air Marshal, a.k.a. Sky Marshal. One of their sales pitches was unlimited sex with stewardesses who were dormed with other flight crew before return flights.”

Source: AWM

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