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Flying in the Face of Reality: Gender Rules in Trans-Canada Air Lines and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, 1919–1947

Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures

ISBN: 978-1-78714-546-7, eISBN: 978-1-78714-545-0

Publication date: 5 July 2017

Abstract

In recent years, inspired by poststructuralist theory, the study of “sex discrimination” has moved from universalistic to con(textual) analysis. Alvesson and Due Billing (1997), for example, argue for analysis of localized constructions and understandings of masculinity and femininity, and Collinson and Hearn (1994, 1996) argue for a greater understanding of different forms of masculinity and the implications for discrimination. In this chapter, we explore the impact of local cultural rules on the social construction of gendered images in three different airlines—Trans-Canada Airlines (TCA), Pan American Airways (PAA), and the British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC). This comparative investigation reveals both differences and similarities across the airlines in the workplace practices that result in discriminatory outcomes for females. Using a rules approach (Helms Mills & Mills, 2000), this study explores the dynamic nature of localized, social phenomena that create, maintain, and unsettle gendered practices. It is through such an exploration that we interpret the notion of hegemonic masculinity and attempt to unravel the “truths” of unquestioned, mundane practices.

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgments

We’d like to thank Robin Ely and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft.

Citation

Mills, A.J. and Helms Mills, J.C. (2017), "Flying in the Face of Reality: Gender Rules in Trans-Canada Air Lines and the British Overseas Airways Corporation, 1919–1947", Mills, A.J. (Ed.) Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures, Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 265-286. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-78714-545-020171015

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017 Emerald Publishing Limited