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Smile, Particularly in Bad Weather: The Era of the Australian Airline Hostess
Air hostesses took to the skies in the 1930s, proud and excited to have the most glamorous job in the world, barely looking over their shoulders as they boarded aircraft. Air travel had created a new type of modern workplace—this was a job like no other—filled with adventure, shiny new technology and work that was thrilling, demanding and exhausting. Young women flocked in droves to be measured, weighed and squeezed into snappy uniforms.
Smile, Particularly in Bad Weather tells a story about the development of this pioneering profession. It describes the shift from the 1930s, when the girl-next-door took to the air with a great degree of bravado, through to the 1960s and the ‘coffee, tea or me?’ stereotype where airlines sexualised the air hostess as a point of marketing difference, then on to a crucial period where the air hostess fought back, no longer wanting to be stereotyped nor discriminated against in terms of fair working conditions. This job shaped working women to become something more, it tested their independence, it encouraged self-enhancement and sophistication and it took them to places they hadn’t dreamt about.