Sunday, December 21, 2008

Liberation in being a flight attendant?

I suppose it is all relative . . . and this story is about Arab women. Here's an excerpt from Katherine Zoepf's story in Monday's NYT, part of the paper's Generation Faithful series. I like the comparison of these women to American women half a century ago, who also found liberation of sorts as an early wave of "stewardesses" and "air hostesses" for the likes of Pan Am and Eastern Airlines.

Here are some excerpts from Zoepf's story:

Flight attendants have become the public face of the new mobility for some young Arab women, just as they were the face of new freedoms for women in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. They have become a subject of social anxiety and fascination in much the same way.

* * *
And many say that the experience of living independently and working hard for high salaries has forever changed their ambitions and their beliefs about themselves, though it can also lead to a painful sense of alienation from their home countries and their families.
The story includes lots of information on the women's lifestyle, including its restrictions. In many ways, though, the Arab women are depicted as resembling American college students -- at least in terms of the dorm lifestyle. Read the rest here.

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