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Cabin crew of the Russian airline Aeroflot during the International Paris Airshow at Le Bourget on June 16, 2015. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty Images)

Unfriendly skies

2 men tell female flight attendants passengers don’t want to see overweight flight crews

April 26, 2017

Manterrupting. Mansplaining. Body shaming. This story has all of that, unfortunately.

Two female flight attendants held a news conference in Moscow on Tuesday to announce that they are suing the airline they work for, Aeroflot, for age and gender discrimination. But the presser was hijacked by two men who insisted that air travelers don’t want to see overweight and unattractive flight attendants.

Evgeniya V. Magurina and Irina N. Ierusalimskaya are both suing Aeroflot separately over a policy the airline enacted last year that calls for female flight attendants to be able to fit into clothing that is a maximum size of 48 — about a size 14 in the U.S. The two were dealt defeat in their initial case but are both appealing the ruling.

The women said they were prohibited from working on international flights because they were unable to fit into clothing sizes outlined in the airline’s guidelines, which led to a significant loss in their earnings. Magurina questioned how her “professional success” was linked to a specific clothing size.

That’s when the news conference took an odd turn. Two men piped up and spoke on behalf of the Aeroflot Public Council, of which they are among the 25 members. Pavel V. Danilin, a journalist, and Nikita A. Krichevskiy, an economist, listed in great detail their rationale for why they think the wardrobe guidelines are reasonable. Overweight flight attendants, they argued, present a real danger during an emergency. And, besides, they reminded the women, anyone affected by the policy should be glad the airline is taking an interest in ensuring their good health. What’s more, the men said, citing a survey conducted by the airline, passengers prefer good-looking flight staff. Danilin and Krichevskiy are neither paid by the airline, nor are they official spokespersons.

The body shaming and mansplaining didn’t stop there.

The more the two talked, not surprisingly, the more heated the exchange became. Eventually, Krichevskiy accused Magurina of boasting about her breast size during court proceedings. “She said she had big breasts which served her well throughout her life, and more recently started doing her a disservice,” Krichevskiy said, leaving the two flight attendants shaking their heads.

And, now, you’re likely shaking your head because it turns out Fox News hasn’t cornered the market on workplace sexism.

Read the full story The New York Times.


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