Career Requirements for a 1947 “Air Hostess”

Any working mother will tell you that they experience guilt from time to time. I currently work in a predominantly female industry, and have seen even the most badass career women endure moments where they just want to give it all up and stay home with their kids.

Three years ago, I remember dropping my son off at his first daycare when we lived in Chattanooga. I choked back tears as I handed my sweet infant to his daycare provider. She gave me a premade baggie of Hershey’s Kisses and said, “All moms cry on the first day, it’s okay.” I remember thinking to myself how simpler life must have been in say, the 1950s, where it was commonplace for all women to stay home and raise their children. I then pulled into my parking space at work and angrily threw my breast pump into my bag, mad at the world that my ultimate dream of idyllic postpartum womanhood wasn’t a reality.

I know that personal anecdote seemingly has nothing to do with the article I’m posting this week from Life magazine. I promise, there is some perspective here. The entire time I was reading this piece entitled “School for Air Hostesses” from the December 1947 issue of Life I was flabbergasted…utterly floored at what I was reading.

Contrary to my thoughts during that tearful ride from the daycare center to my job, life was not simpler in the 1950s. Women have come such a long way. We no longer have a shelf life of 26 years. We are taking care of ourselves now, not just working to achieve a trim figure as we wait on a man to marry.

And even though I still have days where I still don’t know what I want to be in life and question my role as a working mother, I’m really glad to be a woman in 2019, where the decisions are all mine.

In this article, we learn the requirements to become a flight attendant in 1947, which was only a career option for the young, beautiful, slim, poised, and unmarried.

(You may need to zoom in on the images for readability…the captions under the photographs are the most entertaining/cringeworthy!)

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Welcome, I'm Jessica. I renovated and moved into my grandparents' old home in early 2018. When my grandmother Jane was alive, she loved to sit outside on a swing with her cat Boots (who still lives here) and read. As we were cleaning up around the house I found a box of letters sitting in a swing outside that she was going through in the time before she passed. I stored them away and recently started reading through them myself. 100 Years of Letters is intended to share those family letters (some of which are over 100 years old) with the world and to keep the history behind them alive. Curl up with your coffee, a cozy blanket, and possibly a cat, and join me on this journey through history!

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