Sunday, July 12, 2009

Delta red dress double-fail

I just came across this article, which is about Delta's failure to provide larger sizes of their signature red dress for the flight attendants to wear. I would like to point out that the article itself is fail, with the title "Some NWA flight attendants want to wear red dress." By "some" I assume you mean the ones that can't squeeze into the sizes offered. It's discrimination and this dress is being denied to them because they're apparently too big.

The union that represents flight attendants who worked for Northwest Airlines before it was bought by Delta Air Lines is crying foul over Delta's failure to offer bigger sizes for its signature red dress uniform designed by Richard Tyler.

When he was hired to create his uniform collection, Tyler said he wanted them to "look sexy and great."

The Northwest chapter of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA has filed a grievance with the world's largest airline operator, asking it to offer the red dress up to size 28. The union hopes the grievance will go to mediation in August.

The red dress currently is only offered up to size 18, though a Delta spokeswoman said the airline offers a range of outfits in other colors and styles up to size 28 that flight attendants can wear.

Patricia Reller, who handles grievances for the union's executive committee, said Friday that even if there was only one flight attendant who wore a size over 18, that person should be able to wear the stylish red dress.

"I think red is an eye-popping color and it's not subtle, and to me by not offering it in a size over 18, Delta is saying, 'We don't want you wearing that if you are over size 18,'" Reller said. "But the job isn't about being sexy. It's about safety."

So, first the dress is designed to be eye-poppingly sexy. And is clearly only about women looking sexy, because I have a feeling if a man decided to wear the dress Delta would have a fit. There's another quote by Patricia Reller in this article is particularly spot-on:

“Red is a color that attracts attention and someone, somewhere has made a decision that they don’t want to attract attention to someone in a dress that’s larger than a size 18,” said Patricia Reller, vice chairwoman of the grievance committee at the flight attendants union’s executive council at Northwest. “I’m very offended by it.”

This dress is made to make the flight attendants look sexy and appealing, yet the fact that it isn't offered above a size 18 certainly says that anyone over that size doesn't get to wear the sexy dress, leaving one with the implication that fat people are disgusting and decidedly unsexy. Oh, but it's okay, because there are other colors the uniform comes in for the fatties, so if you were unaware of your fatitude, you get to wear a different color from your sexier co-workers as a sort of color-coded shame. Fucking. Lovely.

Then there's this issue of sexiness being important to a job that is about maintaining the safety of the passengers: uh, why? This sexiness is clearly being played to the male fantasy of the sexy flight attendant, which removes any semblance of professionalism from these women. Their job is to be hot and available.

So there you have it: a double-fail. If this wasn't about reducing women to their bodies then they'd offer their uniform for women of all sizes. And it wouldn't be about their damn looks either. I'm surprised Delta hasn't gone and said "Fatties need not apply." Well, yet, anyway.


Nell Gwynne said...

Personally, I think the red uniform looks very professional. On one hand, I'm glad the designer is showing that someone can look professional without having to wear something black/grey/navy, but I am very upset that they are limiting the sizes.

I'd love to boycott Delta, but all of my airline miles are from Northwest.


Anonymous said...

I am a Delta F/A, and I have been wearing the Signature RED DRESS since it was offered to us as a uniform piece. I recieve compliments from passengers EVER trip I fly. I have about 5 red dresses in my closet that I can still wear, but they have lost their red vibrancy so I have tried to order a few more. The problem is.... The uniform company is making them smaller and smaller. I still have uniforms that fit just fine, but when I order that size again, it is so small I cant zip it around my shoulders. I have been deemed TOO BIG for the red dress, and I feel very sad and discriminated against.