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Olympic Committees Literally Make Women Sit in the Back of the Plane

July 23, 2012 at 4:10 PM | by | ()

Even better than the fact that women from all over the globe now pilot commercial aircraft, we've progressed to where female flight attendants will summarily eject douchebag passengers who make sexist jokes about those pilots. We're totally serious about these being very good things.

With the exception of sexist ads from exactly who you'd expect, we long ago advanced from when women in planes were literally portrayed as dolls that you dress up.

Except apparently we haven't advanced that far. There's news coming out of the Olympics that the Japanese and Australian sports committees booked male athletes going to London in business class seats while relegating female athletes to coach. Seriously.

Put aside for a moment how this is many kinds of wrong—and we'll get to that in a second, because the ways in which its being described as wrong are actually kind of interesting—and just consider the optics of gender discrimination during the Olympics. It's an event where the purity of sport and competition is supposed to subsume everything else. Instead the people in charge of national teams banished women to the the backs of airplanes. For once we can't even mock the predictably outraged press releases from predictably outraged groups. The Australians and Japanese deserve a few days of bad press for this, and they're getting them.

Below the headline, there's a kind of interesting cross-cultural 'hmmm' factor to be had in how the complaints are being packaged by the women in various delegations. The Japanese athletes gave quotes like "it should have been the other way around...even just in terms of age we are senior." For their part the Australian women pointed out that their team was more successful than those of their male counterparts. It's cliched to point out, but different cultures describe privilege in different ways. And the sports committees for Australia and Japan managed to run afoul of all of those ways. Tools.

[Photo: Adam Bishop / Wiki Commons]

Archived Comments:

Not the whole story...

You might want to get the whole story here. For the Australian example, each team has their own budget. The mens team made the decision to use some of that budget to pay the difference between the economy class fares so they could upgrade to business. The women's team decided not to do this. But sexism always makes a great headline, huh?