What the world is reading
- âBalaatkariyon ke liye Netaji ka mann ekdum mulayam haiâ
- Ramdev âgoes liveâ on poll funding, Congress hits BJP on black money
- Narendra Modi sent emissaries to open talks on Kashmir: Geelani
- After denying a 'Modi wave', Joshi endorses Modi as India's next PM
- Probe Ajit Pawar tape âthreateningâ to cut water supply: EC tells Pune collector
The declining hotness of flight attendants
Why are there fewer "startlingly beautiful" airline stewardesses in the US? Megan McArdle responds to a blog by Glen Whitman whose central argument is that when airline deregulation brought airfare down, travellers, though they enjoyed the "eye candy", weren't willing to pay higher fares—and since attractive stewardesses would have commanded more in pay, the tickets would have cost more. McArdle, a self-confessed libertarian, takes on that theory and says deregulation didn't play a major role. What did then? She says these jobs are simply not open to the "young, hot women...because airlines stopped firing all the old, fat parents. Thanks to a combination of feminist shaming, union demands, and anti-discrimination laws...If you look at the national airlines in countries where anti-discrimination rules and/or unions are less powerful, like Qatar or Asia, you'll notice that they spend a lot of time here advertising...their hot stewardesses. It's because the domestic labour market lets them get away with it, and ours doesn't."
The "housewives" of Britain
A recent survey of 2,000 women who had given up paid work to look after their families, said two-thirds rejected the label housewife outright, saying that it had "negative connotations" or was even "insulting". They preferred the title "stay-at-home mother", which they felt hinted less strongly at domestic drudgery. Jenney McCartney says that while on American television, the "ancient word 'housewife'" is still alive (Desperate Housewives, The Real Housewives of...), in Britain, the "housewife" is fast disappearing. McCartney finds it curious that "just when real British women are bristling at the label 'housewife', we are more in thrall than ever to the vision of smooth-running family life that is possible only when a certain kind of capable woman is single-mindedly planted at the helm. The recession has made us retreat into the refuge of our homes, at which point those of us in households in which both adults work have the opportunity to drink in the depressing extent of the domestic chaos." The writer confesses that "speedy imposition of domestic order is not a gift of mine, and I don't have time to do it slowly", and longs for an agency that would send round a bustling woman "to sort out the wardrobe while I'll rustle up a quick Victoria sponge".