In a small but symbolic step, Virgin Atlantic airlines will no longer require its female cabin crew to wear makeup.
“We have been listening to the views of our people and as a result have announced some changes to our styling and grooming policy that support this,” Mark Anderson, Virgin Atlantic’s executive vice president of customer, said in a Monday statement to HuffPost.
If a Virgin Atlantic flight attendant would like to wear makeup, she or he should abide by the airline’s suggested color palette outlined in the company’s handbook. Additionally, female cabin crew, known for wearing an iconic red uniform, will be provided with a pair of pants in addition to the standard shirt and skirt. Prior to this announcement, crew members had to specially request pants.
“Not only do the new guidelines offer an increased level of comfort, they also provide our team with more choice on how they want to express themselves at work,” Anderson said. “Helping people to be themselves is core to our desire to be the most loved travel company.”
Airlines have a long history of objectifying and sexualizing female flight attendants. Many women crew members have reported sexual harassment and even assault while working on the job. Small guideline changes ― that allow crew members to work makeup-free or to wear pants instead of skirts ― are a small step toward combatting a sexist and sometimes dangerous work environment.