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While the first flight attendants were male and many early airlines had a ban on hiring women, flight attending would eventually become a quintessentially female occupation.  Airline marketers exploited the presence of these female flight attendants.  Based on my reading — especially Phil Tiemeyer‘s Plane Queer and Kathleen Barry’s history of flight attendants’ labor activism — there seem to have been three stages.

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By Barbara J. Risman, Professor and Head, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago

There is no debate about the remarkable lack of men as child care workers.  This occurrence of apparent gender stereotypes driving one man away from the profession illustrates some core issues in the continuing saga of a somewhat stalled gender revolution.   Another illustration of the state of current gender politics is a Stanford educated lawyer, once her husband’s mentor in a law firm, describing herself as the mom-in-chief.

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