At the airports I often wonder at the two dichotomies of femininity that present themselves there – policewomen and airhostesses. I have been scared of and found myself intimidated by the policewomen more than once. But it is their job to seem like that, I tell myself. They are stern and their voices and demeanour intended to intimidate you into order, so that you don’t jump line and stay behind the yellow strip while they frisk the other female passengers. They are intended to maintain order, and in a way so are the airhostesses, but the latter’s job requires a demeanour that is soft and courteous, intended to make the traveller return to the airline perhaps. They have the harder job, in my opinion, by trying to maintain order while appearing likeable. The policewomen, on the other hand, have no such compulsions.
However, the policewomen too are there because of their sex. If there were no women passengers, there would probably be no policewomen at the airports. There would still be airhostesses in the sky though, you can guess the reason why.
PS: As I am on the subject of airhostesses, I can’t let go of the opportunity to plug this heroic airhostess. Some of the details might have been exaggerated with time as people do with heroes, but I think she is still worth remembering – Neerja Bhanot.