Key words: Sexual harassment, well-being, stewardesses, aviation
Emotional and aesthetical labour is very important when working as a stewardess. Having to look good is a demand for this job but not to all of the airlines, instead to sound good and know how to manage your emotions is essential. Air stewardess jobs are highly recommended and popular choice for tourism jobs, it is a job for mostly women simply because they look better whilst doing the job and they know how to control their emotions more than men. There are many side effects to this jobs although it might seem so glamourous.
The ability to control your feeling within the stewardess job is essential as there may be many situations such as angry passengers or annoying co-workers which might want you to do bad. Looking good is key, it is also essential to human beings as they are being attracted to the physical beauty which makes them want to make judgements on others personal appearance. Customers are attracted by that and tend to like it when flying on a plane, not only to the old ones but to the young ones as well which dream of the career as a stewardess.
The importance of looking good and always showing yourself from the best side can have a negative effect. Sexual harassment is known to be happening in all work places and this is due to other people thinking they are better than others and that they can tell them what to do. As stated by Hochschild (1983:96) the importance of â€˜weight, figure, straight teeth, complexion and facial regularityâ€™ can lead to sexual harassment as men like what they see and they want it no matter what. Stewardesses are often threatened by the pilots of losing their jobs and not being paid because they donâ€™t want to have any physical contact with them. As stated by Feldman (2017), unwanted advances to groping, or forced physical contact or even assault or harassment are outwardly accepted as conventional by the flight attendants. Situations such as suspicious abortion or not turning up to work could be one of the results of sexual harassment at work (Feldman, 2017).
Although the regulations of the airlines have changed and they are no longer that strict, women which are curvier are started to be seen as stewardesses on the flights. This, of course, did not stop the sexual harassment but increased it as the other workers have more to comment about their bodies which for some may be uncomfortable and may lead to stress and depression.
Unfortunately, the more good looking and younger the stewardess is, the more sexual harassment she is involved in. Due to learning how to manage their feelings while working with passengers, stewardesses donâ€™t want to talk about sexual harassment and they donâ€™t want to inform anyone about those situations due to being threatened of a job loss or not being paid. Additionally, most of the airlines do not provide sexual harassment training and due to that, the workers do not have any knowledge about it and how they should respond to it.
Sexual harassment at work is not the only concern about air flight attendants. Another concern is their health and well-being. Stewardesses have a stressful job. There is a huge concern considered within the flight attendants of the rate of cancer incidence and the possibility of exposure to the physical, chemical and psychological factors which have been including the potential cosmic ionising (Bergman and Gillberg, 2016). Bergman and Gillberg (2016), has found in the studies that among the female flight attendants there are high levels of fatigue and modern to low levels of distress. The fatigue may be caused by the emotional exhaustion. It is a major burnout, as the stewardesses have to engage with their customers and this leads to prone of emotional exhaustion (Hochschild, 1983).
When thinking and talking about the well-being of the air flight attendants, some of the flights that the flight attendants have to work can lead to insolation and loneliness as they spend too much time at work (MacDonald et al., 2003). This particular job means flying to countries where they are asked to and in some cases to move to another country. Stewardesses get used to it as they can travel all around the world, but there are also times where they get lonely as they donâ€™t see their friends and family as often. Some may end up with anxiety or stress which has been reported often within the crew members and especially the flight attendants. (MacDonald et al., 2003).
It is important for someone to help the stewardesses to put a stop to sexual harassment and think about their feelings, emotions as well as health and well-being. it is important to make sure that all of the stewardesses get the right knowledge and training of sexual harassment by their company.
Bergman, A and Gillberg, G. (2016) The Cabin Crew Blues Middle-aged Cabin Attendants and Their Working Conditions. Nordic journal of working life studies, 5(4) 23-39.
Hochschild, A. (1983) Managed heart: commercialization of human feeling. Berkeley, CA: University Press.
Macdonald, L.A., Deddens, J.A., Grajewski, B.A., Whelan, E.A. and Hurrell, J.J. (2003) Job Stress Among Female Flight Attendants. American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45(7) 703-714.