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.


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! 😉


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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24 Responses to Stereotype Busters And A Need to Vent

  1. Val B. March 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Thank you so much. I have a friend who did her training her in St. Louis (at Parks College) and now she flies internationally for Kenya Airlines. That is a huge freaking deal. So for 1C to say something like that and I was in earshot, umm, I don’t know what I would have said. 🙂 Thanks for the rant and kudos to Delta. What a way to start a weekend. I’m sure the pilot may also have some military training under her belt as well.

    • Janice Person March 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

      Awesome for your friend…. It does take work as do so many other fields…. I wondered if 1C rethought what was said later as I kind of thought my stare could be bothering them. But I kinda doubt it.

  2. Kelly M. Rivard (@KMRivard) March 1, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    This is an awesome post, JP. Awesome awesome awesome. I know I’ve been guilty of saying, “Some stereotypes exist for a reason.” It’s true — unfortunately, society pressures us to place labels on things. “Stereotypical” doesn’t always mean bad, but most stereotypes ARE; and, while they may apply to some of the population, I think a lot of people are WAY too quick to jump to stereotypes to validate their narrow-minded thinking.

    It kind of reminds me of a post I read recently on another blog that also resonated with me — about the size of the brush you paint with.

    I could rattle on for forever about how much I love this post, what a good reminder it is for me to keep perspective and remember that every person is an individual…but I’ll stop now. 🙂

    Thanks for a great afternoon read, Janice.

  3. jenniferdewey March 1, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Fantastic post! I cannot believe what people say out loud sometimes! Granted, I will admit that sometimes I find myself falling into stereotyping people based upon their looks. But it’s something I constantly try to dig my way out of. Rarely ever though do I find myself stereotyping men vs. women. My dad was an avid hunter as well as a butcher and he always encouraged me to engage in those activities when many girls would have threw their hands up and screamed “yuck!”. Just because I was a woman didn’t mean that I couldn’t clean a game bird, hook a worm on a hook, or help skin a hog. Wow this comment totally took a turn for the weird. Anyway… Anyone can be anything and I love that about our nation. But it makes me upset when men still stereotype women. Awesome post and power to that woman pilot, lord knows she’s seen had her fair share of comments and criticisms! Thanks for sharing Janince, I always enjoy your insights.

    • Janice Person March 2, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

      You are so sweet and I think today, we are encouraged to follow our passions whatever they are!

  4. Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids March 1, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Great post Janice. It is amazing what some people think and say! I’m afraid most of us our guilty of stereotyping from time to time but the thing I get the most out of this post is the concept of choice. We live in a country that allows us to have choices – choice of what to eat, choice of where to live, choice of what to say and choice of what to do for living. And I’m thankful that we get to make our own choices! Have fun on your girl’s trip!

    • Val - Corn, Beans, Pigs & Kids March 1, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

      are not our… I should proofread before hitting reply!

    • Janice Person March 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

      Agreed! I have never felt like I couldn’t do something just cause I was a girl. Lots of choices to make and working hard gets you there.

  5. Kathy Wilder March 1, 2013 at 3:26 pm #

    GREAT picture! Loved the first one the best! It was intriguing!

    • Janice Person March 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      Thanks! I decided to use it cropped for a long vertical on my 365 project!

  6. bocafrau March 1, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Great post. Awesome to Know there are female pilots out there.

    • Janice Person March 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      And I met another one as I waited at the gate for my next flight… She had hair down to her waist!

  7. Robyn March 2, 2013 at 6:39 am #

    It’s OK to rant and it’s OK to rave when you have an excellent point. I think we ALL stereotype others; it’s human nature. But, we have to be willing and able to take the initial stereotype and think about it realistically.

    We have to remember that people look at us and stereotype what they see. Is what they think really how we are?

    I hope you have a great weekend with your girls! I would LOVE to see P!NK!

    • Janice Person March 4, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

      I agree its important to remember that others thoughts don’t define us…. of course it is also true that when limiting stereotypes are too widely accepted, they can make it harder to be who we want to be.

      We had an INCREDIBLE weekend! And I will definitely be seeing her again…. Pink is an amazing performer!

  8. Jennifer March 2, 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    As a female working in a male dominated field (engineering), I love this post. I also know a few pilots – a job with a major airline requires a TON of training and experience. Great for your pilot, and good for you for venting on the blog instead of on the plane. I hope the rest of the weekend was a huge success!

    • Janice Person March 4, 2013 at 10:25 pm #

      It was awesome Jennifer! Thank you. I have to say that as we landed I considered saying something like “dang that girl can sure fly a plane” but I figured he’d think I was surprised too and I didn’t want to encourage it. Seriously, the weekend was AMAZING!

  9. Larry Olberding Jr. (@TheDailyCowman) March 4, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I am totally with you Janice and supportive of more female pilots, this keeps them up in the air and off my highways! LOL, sorry I just couldn’t resist!

    In all honesty as a father to 3 beautiful, smart, hard working and capable young ladies I just laugh when some other members of my gender think and act this way.

    My favorite example of a stereotype happened as I was walking in the airport in San Antonio Texas. A young family was walking towards me and the father had a very New Jersey (think Tony Soprano) accent. He was talking much louder than I think he thought he was when he said this to his wife about me, “These Texans really do the cowboy thing up, check out this guy in his boots, hat and belt buckle, that honey is a genuine TEXAN!” I about fell over laughing!

    • Janice Person March 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm #

      LOL! Well you do sorta look like a stereotypical cowboy!

  10. Reese Ford August 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    People shouldn’t be a “1C” I really like the simple deep meaning. I will be using that and referencing this post

    Well done.

  11. Mary graves November 7, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    Brie Bennett? Are you a pilot for delta? I remember that was your dream. I am Brooke Riley’s mother looking for you as I gly delta from Atlanta to sfo!

    • Janice Person November 7, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

      I am sorry, I didn’t get the pilot’s name. Hope you find Brie!


  1. Week 9: Girls' Weekend in Nashville to See Pink! - September 28, 2014

    […] such a prejudicial comment. I wrote it all up on my blog if you are interested…. I love that this woman was busting open the stereotype! Suffice it to say, my stereotype of pilots on commercial airlines is different than the person one […]

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