Secular Turks see red over airline’s lipstick ban

Flickr user:  sholeh!!
Flickr user: sholeh!!

Turkey’s national airline has barred female flight attendants from wearing red lipstick and nail polish, striking a nerve among secular Turks worried the country is becoming more Islamic.

Turkish Airlines, Europe’s fourth-biggest carrier, said the ban was aimed at keeping crews “artless and well-groomed with makeup in pastel tones”, as a natural look improved communication with passengers.

“As a consequence of our current cabin uniforms not including red, dark pink, et cetera, the use of lipstick and nail polish in these colors by our cabin crew impairs visual integrity,” the statement said.

Turkish Airlines declined a request for further comment.

The guideline follows other restrictions on employees’ appearance and on serving alcohol. Critics say they reflect the influence of the government’s conservative religious values at the fast-growing state-run airline, one of Turkey’s most recognized brands.

“This new guideline is totally down to Turkish Airlines management’s desire to shape the company to fit its own political and ideological stance,” Atilay Aycin, president of the airline’s Hava-Is labor union, told Reuters.

“No one can deny that Turkey has become a more conservative, religious country.”

Turkey is 99 percent Muslim but the NATO state and European Union candidate has a secular constitution.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, which traces its roots to a banned Islamic party, has relaxed the state’s control over the expression of religion, such as once-strict limits imposed on wearing the Islamic-style headscarf.

Such restrictions were aimed at reining in Islamism and improving women’s rights, but effectively prevented many devout women from studying at university or taking government jobs.

Turkish Airlines scrapped its own ban on the headscarf more than a year ago, and covered women now work at check-in counters and at other positions in the company, Aycin said.

Other Turkish carriers also have guidelines on the appearance of cabin personnel.

HIDDEN AGENDA?

The flag carrier caused a stir earlier this year when newspapers published mockups of a new Ottoman-style uniform for stewardesses with ankle-length dresses, a proposal the airline’s management appears to have since abandoned.

That was followed by a ban on alcohol on planes flying to most domestic destinations and some Islamic countries.

“They are objecting to the lipstick and nail polish that we have been using for years,” said Asli Gokmen, 30, a flight attendant who lost her job with more than 300 others last year during a union protest and is petitioning for her position back.

No current employees were available for comment.

Turks worried the government is undermining the country’s secular order see a hidden agenda.

On Twitter, women posted pictures after applying red lipstick. One wrote: “Why not just ban stewardesses altogether so we can all breathe a sigh of relief?”

Some male Twitter users were indignant over the insinuation that red lipstick would induce a sexual frenzy.

Turkish Airlines passenger Ahmet Yerli, 33, said he did not think the new guideline was a sign of creeping Islamization but that the ban was still “absurd.”

“I’ve never heard of a plane crashing because of a women’s lipstick,” he said before his flight.

(Additional reporting by Omer Berberoglu; Editing by Nick Tattersall, John Stonestreet)



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspected sex offender died during a shootout inside a West Village smoke shop that left two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective wounded, officials said.

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.