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Deborah Douglas American Women and Flight

30 Jun 2017Other Essays

Literature plays an important role in the social awareness of the public. There are many forms of expression that could be done through various mediums such as speech, visual arts, and writing. Writing is one of the most notable forms of expression wherein an individual could be able to make his or her opinions and personal feelings known by using words. In relation to this, the author’s opinions or feelings are not the only things that could be learn from these literary pieces because these are also a way by which people could be enlightened about the situation of the society. There are important and pressing issues that the people must know about and properly understand and they can be able to do so through the help of books and other written products of a writer’s commentary about the concerns in the society. Moreover, historical events could be further and properly understand through the first hand accounts of writers that narrated social situations during their time. In this sense, the real incidents are indeed captured in writing by the author. This kind of adage is greatly exemplified by Deborah Douglas in her book entitled American Women and Flight.

The book that Douglas wrote played an important role in tackling societal issues specifically gender equality and opportunity for women. She was able to emphasize the development of women in aviation as well as being one step closer towards equality in this field of profession. This is due to the fact that she was able to summarize and narrate different stories regarding the experiences of women during that time when they were exerting their effort in order to be given a chance to enter aviation. In relation to these, Douglas also pointed out how women was able to participate in different areas of activity in the society including the military, which was normally perceived as a profession that is only for men.

Deborah Douglas tackled an important societal issue that deals with gender equality in the field of aviation during the Second World War. In her book, she gave a stimulating overview of women and aviation during the year 1940. Her writings was able to give due emphasis to the fact that gender matters in aviation. She further explained that even though planes may not be able to distinguish whether the pilot or other personnel that is involved in this profession is male or female, she pointed out that human beings give attention to such gender factor. In this comment of Deborah Douglas, she pointed out that there is indeed a distinction between male and female in aviation.

The difference between men and women was seen through the fact that there is an obvious discrimination against them in the field of aviation. This is quite observable in the fact that during the establishment of aviation and many years after it only men are allowed to pilots. In connection to this, the book of Douglas also shows how women have to struggle in order to become pilots. There are even instances wherein women wanted to serve as pilots but they were designated to become crews or to take other position that does not involve flying a plane (Douglas and Foster, 2004).

Moreover, Deborah Douglas was able to give a hint as to why the contributions of women in the history of aviation have not given its due recognition. The book the she wrote for the Smithsonian series that deals with the women in the United States aviation gave due account of the obstacles and barriers that they experienced but more than that, she also highlighted the vital roles that women played in this field of profession (Douglas and Foster, 2004).

Douglas also discussed the role of women in the military and in military combat in her book. She noted that since the 1970s the role of women in aviation has already developed and expanded, which is parallel with the developments of the American society. This is supported by the fact that women in the military were able to influence important individuals that have a position in the government and other powerful institutions in the society. The idea of women in military service received wide acceptance among these important individuals that paved the way for these women to influence policy and effect change. One of the areas that they were bale to influence in convincing some people in government of the important contribution that women could give in different profession that would help improve the society. In connection to these, she also narrated the story of the changing roles of women in the modern military. She was able to clearly exemplify this fact through the repeal of the combat exclusion during the wake of the Gulf War. Moreover, it also aided in the significant changes in the definition of American citizenship because it paved the way for the removal of all limits to the opportunities of women in serving their country. Due to the success of women in the military, it also helped all women in the area of aviation as well as commercial pilots to get the recognition that they deserved (Douglas and Foster, 2004).
 

Women also played an important role in the “selling” of commercial/passenger aviation. The economic downturn that was experienced during the Roosevelt administration open the door for a new kind of thinking regarding the marketing of aviation. Due to this, the idea that women could be used in order to increase the sales of aviation especially in terms of commercial flights emerged. The substantive contribution that women have in the selling of aviation is clearly proven by Ellen Church. She was one of the first women who tried how to become a commercial airline pilot. She was able to convince the officials of Boeing to hire women in order to take the responsibility in the steward duties that was previously handled by the co-pilot. The real intention of Church was to fly but even though she did not succeeded in such she was able to help motivate airline companies to give women the role of showing how safe air travel had become. The idea of having women flight attendants was well received by the passengers, which is why more commercial airlines started hiring women as it is attracting more business. The hiring of women flight attendant is recognized as the initial formal attempt to use women to “sell aviation” (Douglas and Foster, 2004).

The opportunity given to Ellen Church was helpful in giving women the chance to participate in the field of aviation. However, Church really wanted to be a pilot but she was designated to become a mere attendant rather than the person behind the control of the plane. In this scenario, it is quite evident that this field of profession still has its apprehensions when it comes to allowing women to become pilots. The distinction is quite clear because they perceived that women should take the lesser role and the men should always have to be on top of the rank. Moreover, aside from the evident discrimination, the way by which women were used to sell aviation might aid women in infiltrating the field of aviation. However, others see using women to sell something as degrading because they are using perceived weakness of women in order to increase the sales of commercial airlines. They are using the fact that if women could be in planes even though they are considered as weaker than men then it would also be safe for other passengers to ride one. Furthermore, women is also degraded in the sense that they are only used to sell aviation rather than to become the pilot that controls the plane.

Reference

  • Douglas, D.G., & Foster, A.E. (2004). American Women and Flight since 1940. United States: University of Kentucky.

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