Friday, 14 December 2007

Fly High...and naked.

MADRID, Spain: Spain's government-run Women's Institute has labeled a 2008 calendar for low-cost airline Ryanair featuring bikini-wearing air hostesses as sexist and said it would be sending letters of complaint to Irish and EU authorities.

The institute, which defends women's rights, said that while the fact that the proceeds from calendar sales would go to charity was positive, the photographs "represent the stewardesses as sexual objects" and "reinforce discriminatory stereotypes." Read Full News from the International Herald Tribune Europe

How do we put a line between exploitation and art? or exploitation and celebration of beauty? Are these girls victims? or are they just normal girls who would kill to become a model, in this case, in a calendar?

Much has been said about the exploitation of women. Everyday, there is always a case of someone who has been harassed at work, school, home in fact stats from wikipedia, shows that " Approximately 15,000 sexual harassment cases are brought to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) each year. Media and government surveys estimate the percentage of women being sexually harassed in the U.S. workplace at 40% to 60%. The European Women's Lobby reports that between 40 and 50 % of female employees have experienced some form of sexual harassment or unwanted sexual behavior in the workplace."

The Spanish are tolerant people. I love them to bits and when it comes to equality and defending one's rights, they are the first to stand up and make a difference. However, in this case, isn't it a bit just too much? True, the marketing ploy is a bit cheeky using their flight attendants to pose for it. But I'm sure a lot of people would agree that they wouldn't want a calendar with the seven wonders of the world each year, no? I'm sure they have loads of other girls who would have killed to be the face (and the body) of each month of the year . I would, if I were a flight attendant and if I had their body, which unfortunately, I don't. Come to think of it, why weren't there any protests with the NEW YORK FIREFIGHTER'S HUNK CALENDARS?

They are also naked (I've seen the insert pages and they are smoking hot!), they are also in a calendar and can be very well interpreted as well as sexual objects but nobody says anything against it! Is it because they are men...and men just don't care to expose their body to the whole world (on the contrary, they love it)? or Is it because the marketing ploy was better?---they called them HEROES, which they are, but the term can be subjective. We have our day to day heroes and I firmly believe that flight attendants are one of those! They treat you well so you can have a safe and pleasant flight, they combat turbulence in the name of service, they spend most of the time away from their families, and more often than not, they suffer from maltreatment and verbal abuse from passengers. They are , in their beautiful, smiling ways, heroes themselves!
The girls did the photoshoot with consent and they are adults. True, there might be people out there who must have been offended with the project, in this case, the women's organization in Spain, but for sure there are people as well who think that these girls needed a break from jet lag, air turbulence , crying babies and vomiting passengers.

There is always a thin line between sexual exploitation and art or celebration of beauty. Now, I am not an expert on this and I may not know how to define what exactly the borderline is; but one thing I am certain of is that the next time people see these girls in their flight, they will ask for an autograph and not a cup of coffee.


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