Flight attendants’ roles have changed, but the stereotypes have not

There’s something about flight attendants.

The job’s mystique has made it a pop culture perennial, most recently in HBO’s buzzy mystery-thriller, “The Flight Attendant,” whose convoluted plot hinges on the title character’s mobility. Although the job is an increasingly demanding one that has changed dramatically over the years, many still view flight attendants — the term “stewardess” was retired in the 1980s — as hospitality workers at cruising altitude. And thanks to decades of airline-industry marketing, the hypersexualized image of female flight attendants persists in the public imagination. How did we get here?

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