A new TV show featuring five female flight attendants living together has been panned by critics who claim it is restoring sexist attitudes towards the profession.
Fly Girls, which debuted on US channel The CW yesterday, features five Virgin America flight attendants and follows their lives together as they try to get along in the one California household, as well as following their working lives at the airline.
The official website describes the show as following "five beautiful Virgin America flight attendants as they jet from one glamorous location to the next, including Las Vegas, South Beach and New York City, while pursuing good times, great parties, adventure and love."
Critics and unions have slammed the show for restoring the stereotype of the flirty, promiscuous flight attendant that the industry has been trying to throw off since the 1960s.
"The show implies that a flight attendant's main job requirement is to keep her legs oiled," wrote Megan Angelo in the Wall Street Journal. "The girls flounce from their sprawling house to cocktail parties and back again; the only time we see them on a plane is when they're discussing the (planted?) handsome guy in first class who invariably ends up hitting on one of them."
"Flight attendants will be losing any dignity that was gained if Fly Girls becomes a hit," wrote Walt Belcher in Tampa Bay Online.
Corey Caldwell, spokesperson for the Association of Flight Attendants, told the Wall Street Journal the show was a misogynistic throwback to the "Coffee, Tea or Me?" era of the 1960s.
The Transport Workers Union has claimed that, contrary to the glamorous lifestyle Fly Girls portrays, flight attendants in the US are poorly paid and sleep in cars or crew lounges because they can't afford housing.
The TWU is hoping to use the show to kickstart a campaign to unionise Virgin America's flight attendants.
However, the biggest problem with the show, according to critics, is that it's boring.
The AV Club's Todd VanDerWerff called the show "idiotic", saying much of the conflict and incidents in the so-called 'reality' show appeared scripted. He also criticised Virgin America's apparent role in the show, pointing out much of the action was dedicated to the airline's publicity events.
The five flight attendants fall into to the regular reality TV show stereotypes, with the debut episode featuring the designated 'mean girl' of the group stealing her colleague's seat in order to get next to Virgin boss Richard Branson.
- Sydney Morning Herald