The Great Stewardess Rebellion by Nell McShane Wulfhart

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline for The Great Stewardess Rebellion:

It’s truly amazing more men weren’t stabbed on planes.

Quick synopsis:

A look at the trials and tribulations of stewardesses in the 1960s and 70s.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like:

In 1971, Oprah won Ms. Black Tennessee.

Fun Fact for History Nerds:

Stewardesses were required to wear girdles. Also, male employees could perform a “girdle check” whenever they wanted.

My Take on The Great Stewardess Rebellion:

Now, a disclaimer is in order. I am a man and therefore, some of the things in this book were news to me. I have been informed by multiple women in my life, “It’s not that surprising to me. Men are terrible.” Fair enough!

When you hear something amazingly sexist, you tend to think it was in some archaic time far from where we are today. Sure, there are still many things we are trying to figure out between the sexes (understatement alert), but at least we aren’t expecting women to step on scales at work and then firing them if they are a pound over. We haven’t done something like that in like 100 years, right?

Nope! Welcome to the 1970s where stewardesses had such job perks as getting weighed at work in full view of coworkers, girdle checks by fellow employees, and when you turn 32 you are fired no matter what because you are old, and no one can possibly be a stewardess after 32. It’s just science.

Nell McShane Wulfhart uses this backdrop to tell the story of how multiple women came together to start making change happen in the airline industry. This book is a breeze to read even when talking about union politics which is no easy feat. Wulfhart mixes part biography, part workers rebellion and comes up with a great book. And before you start to think this is a book which bashes men, I would like to correct you. There is no male bashing in this book at all. Which makes sense since the men in this book make themselves look pretty bad without any help.

Verdict on The Great Stewardess Rebellion:

A great read. Buy it here!

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