Stereotype Busters And A Need to Vent

Today is supposed to be a day of great fun. And the start to a weekend of great fun. I am en route to a girls weekend with my sisters, a niece and several friends. We are going to see Pink — yeah you know the woman who sings about not wanting to be a stupid girl or how you can hit me with an 18 wheeler and I won’t give up.

The weekend is a time to just enjoy life.

I had planned to write a blog post on this flight but it was on a totally different topic. I wanted to talk about National Ag Day…. Look ahead. I will write the post in a bit and will come back here and give the link, but right now I need to vent a bit and I don’t have anyway to do it other than writing since there is no wifi and I am traveling solo. So what prompted me to want to rant?

On a Flight Ready to Go

Let me set the stage. I am sitting in seat 2C thanks to frequent flyer status. I hate the first row cause I like my bag within reach. It’s snowing in St Louis again today and I am wondering if putting my coat in the tiny bin overhead was a good move. I have an empty seat and it seems I will have extra space through the flight. Several of us up front have extra elbow room.

Some are still talking on their phones even though we all can see the ground crew trying to get us out. Some are trying to wrap it up and others seem oblivious. There is someone steady talking in the seat ahead of me.

This is the image that is connected to my reason to rant / vent.

20130301-125637.jpg

Looking at the photo, I wonder what you are thinking. There are lots of things that can come to mind.

What I saw was enough to make me try and snap a photo. Here is what was going through my mind:

I have a few friends who pilot for Delta so I tend to glance up there when I am seated up front just in case I ever see David or someone glance back. I mean how fun would that be?

My nephew talks of wanting to become a pilot too. That has piqued my interest. I have talked to several pilots getting their recommendations and advice.

I saw bright blonde hair and thought “you go girl!” I think she could read my mind cause she caught me looking, taking the photo. She smiled.

I took another photo or two trying to get something better but it was hard with the ground crew getting last papers signed and the flight attendant getting us underway. It was destined to become one of those images that was in my head but would likely never get shared.

As the cabin door closes, the passenger in 1C sees the pilot too. This is when the teeth grinding sets in as he says to the person on the phone, loudly enough for all of us to hear, “doesn’t look like a pilot to me. Hope she knows how to fly this thing.”

My jaw just tightened again just typing the absurd words.

Stereotype Busters

This whole rant is about the way stereotypes are viewed.

To me stereotypes are probably necessary for our brains to confront all the stuff we see in a given day, but that doesn’t mean they are actually helpful to rely on. They damn sure are not a blueprint accurately representing people.

So was the stereotype about blondes, pilots or both? My guess, based on the comment, is 1C may have multiple stereotypes that help “keep people in their place.”

Why couldn’t the stereotype of commercial pilots held by 1C be one of training and expertise instead of a look? Well that is the stereotype I have so it can be.

To me, someone who is flying commercial planes for Delta or any other US airline has had a lot of training. It’s not like getting a drivers license when you are 16 where you study a little while, drive with your parents and are set out for the future. They have to log significant numbers of hours.

They have to study the mechanics of flight – while my dad insisted we know how to check the oil and some other basic, that’s not part of any test I have ever taken and I have had to take driving tests in five different states.

female pilot getting the job doneA lot of them go to St Louis or other areas frequently for simulator training and skill monitoring. The FAA has clear regulations (not guidelines but legal regulations) around the types of training needed and time required. It’s nothing to sneeze at if you have ever talked to a pilot about it.

Writing this post helped me vent through the stupidity I saw today… And now that I am sitting down at an airport, I can stop breathing fire down the neck of 1C.

In fact, I decided to be sure my view was solidly in my head as I left the plane which was smooth flying & landing. It’s of two pilots, getting their work done as they prepare for the next flight of their day. One of the pilots just happens to be a pretty lady with blonde hair. I bet she has been subjected to negative stereotypes before and will again. But she’s also busting them by simply being herself and doing what pilots do everyday for us…. Getting us on our way to those places we are headed and doing it safely.

So dear diary…. this girl is headed to a great girls weekend, reminding herself that she doesn’t want to be no stupid girl…. And she won’t let 1C lure her into that. Maybe I should have asked that they blow me one last kiss… Maybe one for the pilots too! 😉

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Postscript — I decided to make the top photo one for my 365 project. This is how I edited it to make it more appealing for that use. Hope you like it.

female pilot for Delta Airlines

 

About Janice Person

I'm Janice & this blog is about my passions -- photography, travel, agriculture & whatever else comes to mind. Putting all those things together is intriguing to me…. I can spend a lot of time soaking it up! It's almost always a colorful adventure!

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