On Airlines, “Ugly Girls,” and the Politics of Personal Butthurt
Besides, airlines are obviously boys.
Insider airline misogyny! On Monday, Continental Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek announced the company's merger with United by leveling the following burn against United Airlines: "Smisek told analysts and reporters Continental began a whirlwind courtship with United after learning it was in merger talks with Tempe-based US Airways because it didn't want United to end up with 'the ugly girl.' He called Continental the pretty one."
United U.S. Airways shot back by claiming the "ugly girl" comment was offensive to women—but more importantly, it was offensive to U.S. Airways:
CEO Doug Parker addressed the slam, which he called inappropriate, in a memo to employees Tuesday afternoon, and said Smisek has apologized for the remarks.
"Like me, many of you found his comment both chauvinistic and offensive to the hard-working people of US Airways," Parker said.
. . . He said one employee asked, "Why are we the ugly girl?"
So which is it? Either you denounce the comment as being legitimately offensive to women, or you act all butthurt that your male-run airline has been compared to the most worthless form of woman (the un-pretty kind!).
Listen: I'm a heterosexual cisgender thin able-bodied atheist white lady. If someone attempts to insult me by using a slur that's offensive to gays, or trans people, or a racial group, or the disabled, or fat people, or a religious group, it's unhelpful for me to respond by saying, for example, "That's offensive to gays, and also, I'm personally offended that you would ever compare me to a gay person."
Also unhelpful: How U.S. Airways chose to resolve the flap:
[Doug Parker] said Smisek sent him an apology in which he said he "got carried away in the moment" and "really felt badly."
"I believe Jeff was sincere in his apology, have accepted it on behalf of all of us and am ready to move past it," Parker's memo said.
In conclusion, some guy has decided that he's ready to move past some other guy's sexism.
Photo via chrisny2, Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0