We know they’re miserable – we made them miserable! »« Falsehood in advertising

A dangerous contempt

Taslima has a great post showing sexist advertising in the airline industry, with picture after picture of gorgeous pouty women falling out of their tiny shreds of underwear. Great stuff for selling sex, but peculiar for selling a way to get from A to B in a hurry.

Taslima quotes an official on the subject:

Civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho says, “I don’t want to give this airline the free publicity that its rather grubby little ad was designed to attract, but this kind of thing matters. Cabin crew are there to save your life, not to offer sex. Portraying them as flying centrefolds undermines their ability to ensure a safe and comfortable journey for passengers – and can make their working lives unbearable. It can breed a dangerous contempt that undervalues them as individuals and also as the people who have to get you out in an emergency or deal with abusive passengers in air rage incidents…The portrayal of cabin crew-members as sex objects undermines their key safety role and diminishes the level of respect passengers are likely to have for their professionalism and competence. This applies regardless of the gender of the individuals involved. For this reason, the federation believes the decision to promote such images to have been irresponsible and reckless. This kind of initiative does not foster a positive aviation safety and security culture – instead it damages safety.”

That’s an important point, and it doesn’t get discussed enough. It’s not that sexy pictures of gorgeous pouty women falling out of their tiny shreds of underwear are bad in themselves, certainly, and it’s not that it’s bad to enjoy looking at such pictures or to use them as inspiration when a real woman isn’t available. It’s that using them to sell airline travel translates women doing jobs into sex toys. That can breed a dangerous contempt that undervalues them as individuals. It’s tits or GTFO – it’s you’re either here to turn me on or you’re in my fucking way. It diminishes the level of respect passengers are likely to have for their professionalism and competence.

Comments

  1. Lyanna says

    Excellent point. Proves that people who dismiss these concerns as mere “political correctness” are being stupid.

  2. Claire Ramsey says

    Haha and as a consequence, Mexicana went bankrupt a few years ago. See what happens when you use a terribly sexist and stupid ad campaign.

  3. kassad says

    Ont the other hand “grubby little ad” seems to be exaclty the right amount of contempt in this case.

    Another little thing, without trying tho pull a “what about the men” argument, how is there no contempt for the targeted audience too with this crap? Hard not to feel insulted.

  4. Dave says

    Note that most of the airlines involved seem to be eastern European, or desperate low-fare crap-artists. It is well-documented that communism ruined feminism for the Russians and their cousins, and it will probably take another whole generation for them to take it seriously. But everything over there is fecked. Ryanair, OTOH, are a bunch of shits who do this kind of thing deliberately just to piss people off and get free press. I believe [though I thankfully do not know from experience] that actually flying with Ryanair is about as far from erotic frisson as it’s possible to get, and not actually be standing in a field of cow-muck.

    But then, anyone who chooses which airline to fly with based on a model’s tits is a cretin anyway, and how much work should we need to do to change cretins’ minds?

  5. Jef says

    @Dave

    It’s certainly not just the airlines you mention there. The Virgin Atlantic 25 years ad escaped condemnation from the ASA here in the UK because Virgin claimed that it was an ironic, humorous poke at 80’s attitudes. That they threw in the implication that their cabin crew are more glamorous and fuckable than anyone else’s (and exclusively female, for some reason) was apparently irrelevant.

  6. mnb0 says

    That’s a good point. I like pictures of sexy ladies. I resent the idea that companies think I can be seduced to use their service that way. The thought that these pictures actually make that service worse at the moment I need it the most is quite unsettling.

  7. Dunc says

    I believe [though I thankfully do not know from experience] that actually flying with Ryanair is about as far from erotic frisson as it’s possible to get, and not actually be standing in a field of cow-muck.

    It’s rather worse than that…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>