Fly Girls

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Fly Girls TV Poster Image
In-flight show airs mixed messages about women and work.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show's intro makes it sound like you'll be seeing "independent, confident, successful women who are in control of their lives"...but that's not necessarily what you're getting. The overarching message glamourizes the flight-attendant lifestyle and emphasizes that looks -- and feminine assets -- are important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Yes, the women are supporting themselves with careers they seem to enjoy, and two in particular are focused and professional. But at least one seems more interested in the job's perks -- including the parties -- and all of them are being objectified, whether they realize it or not.

Violence

Some occasional arguing between women that involves yelling.

Sex

The requisite Virgin uniforms are body-conscious without being too revealing, although the shirts tend to gap at the chest. Characters allude to sex and sexual situations (in particular, "the mile-high club"). A few also hook up with guys in clubs (sometimes we see kissing) or accept dates from passengers, etc., but most remain professional.

Language

Some bleeped swearing (including "f--k") plus audible words like "douchebag," "hell," "bitch," etc.

Consumerism

The series directly promotes the Virgin Atlantic Airlines brand and its attractive "in-flight team," with plenty of logos -- and appearances by Virgin president Richard Branson -- thrown in for good measure. One of the women regularly uses Skype to talk with her son.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some social drinking at parties, but the women are expressly forbidden from drinking if they're working.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series glamourizes the jet-setting lives of female flight attendants working for Virgin Atlantic Airlines and essentially functions as one, long commercial for the carrier. It also presents some iffy messages about the use of women -- and their looks -- to promote a brand. In addition, you'll hear some bleeped swearing (like "f--k"), audible language (including "douchebag," "bitch," etc.) and sexual innuendo, and see some social drinking.

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What's the story?

FLY GIRLS follows five different members of Virgin Atlantic Airlines' "in-flight team," commonly known to most people as flight attendants. But these women aren't your typical jet-setters; they're also members of Virgin's elite "promo team" who get to work corporate events and rub elbows with celebrities and VIPs. When they're not at work, they're living together in a California beach house they call "The Crash Pad."

Is it any good?

With the title alone, Fly Girls could rub some women the wrong way. After all, we're talking about working women in their 20s and 30s, who are hardly "girls." But it slips way beyond subtle sexism when it goes on to present their job as a fun way to flirt with IFB's (that's "in-flight boyfriend") and work parties with celebrity guests, where they're mainly there to serve as eye candy.

One could also argue that the show presents a positive alternative for women who don't want, as flight attendant Mandalay puts it, "the traditional life of settling down, getting married and having kids." But it's too bad that alternative seems to be squeezing into a form-fitting pencil skirt and fighting your way to the top of a fire truck to pose for pictures with the company president at a VIP event. As one of the "girls," puts it, it's "the coveted position."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about consumerism and how this series directly promotes the Virgin Atlantic Airways brand. How often do you see the Virgin logo? How often do the characters mention the Virgin brand? When characters talk, what words do they use to describe the airline and its clientele?

  • How do these women stack up as role models? Does it bother you that the airline seems to use them -- and their attractiveness -- to promote an image of luxury and sexy sophistication? Where are all the male flight attendants?

  • In terms of reality television, does the series portray the women's personal lives and careers in a realistic way? Can flight attendants afford homes like the "Crash Pad" featured on the show? Do you think any of the episodes are planned out or scripted? How can you tell?

TV details

  • Premiere date: March 24, 2010
  • Network: CW
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: Streaming

For kids who love reality TV

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