Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Chickification: the process by which a formerly male activity is ruined for the men who enjoyed it.

I subscribe to a couple of airplane magazines.  In the past, the articles mostly covered maintenance and repairs, flying safety practices, and heads-up notices of regulatory changes.  There was endless encouragement to take kids flying to develop a love of aviation to keep the sport alive.  The phrase “$100 hamburger” was tongue-in-cheek (it refers to the practice of flying your airplane to another airport for no real purpose, just eat lunch and come home.  Adding up all the costs of owning and operating an airplane, that hamburger cost you $100, at least. But hey, considering the boat, motor and trailer, what did that walleye cost you? It’s not about the money, it’s about the sport).  Flying apparel was logo ball caps.  Flying club meetings were sitting on folding chairs in a hangar shooting the breeze with other pilots.

Lately, I’ve noticed a change in the magazines.  Now that the editors are women journalism majors hired to make the headquarters office acceptably diverse, the content of the magazines has shifted.  They’re all about getting more women flying, more girls interested in aviation.  Flying articles emphasize mothers juggling flying careers and family. Glossy photos show foodie destinations. Flying apparel is fashionable.  It’s a noticeable shift in emphasis away from old men in favor of 30-ish women.  I fully expect Standards of Conduct and Speech Codes for flying club meetings within the next year.   Nobody is allowed to say it, but adding women to a club changes the club and seldom for the better.

Women don’t need special programs or rules or encouragement to be accepted at a male activity such as flying (or shooting at the firing range).  Just show up and the guys will fall all over themselves welcoming you.  Forcing your way in is a sure way to force the guys out and after that, it’s just one big cat-fight which nobody ever wins until everyone stomps off in a huff and the club closes.

Joe Doakes

Which may be the goal, at least for some.

4 thoughts on “Neologism

  1. Ha! I used to have a boss that was a pilot and part owner of a Beechcraft 58 Baron(?). He encouraged us to look for sales opportunities in other states so we could fly there. The owner of the company was cool with it, but no one ever discussed the company’s liability if something went wrong. We had one customer in West Des Moines that we took two trips down to meet with via the plane. There was a little restaurant there that served huge pork tenderloin sandwiches and one Friday, four of us flew down there for lunch and then came back.

  2. As a college student I discovered that an easy way to hitchike was to hang out on the flight line at the Crystal, Holman, or Flying Cloud airports, in fairly short order you could find someone who was going several hundred miles in your direction. Sometimes you’d find someone who was just going to take their plane up that would decide Rapid City wasn’t that far out of their way. I once sky hiked all the way to Oregon in 3 hops: Flying Cloud to Laramie WY, to Ogden UT, To Eugene OR. I learned to dress warm, some of those CAP planes don’t have much for heat.

  3. When I lived on the East Side, there was a barber shop two blocks away that I really liked. Four chairs, manned by the two owners and two younger guys, and about half a dozen customer chairs. It was classic – just guys sitting around talking, getting our ears lowered and tickled from time to time by the banter, and breathing the scent of Pinaud. On a couple of occasions Herb Brooks walked in; he was a regular customer, and everyone was like, “Hey, Herbie” without making a fuss or paying him a lot of attention. Even after I moved away from the neighborhood, I’d go back there to get my hair cut.

    When the owners sold out to the young guys, one of the new owners thought he could build business by creating a beauty shop space in the back and hiring a gal as an independent contractor to work the space. The other guys and I were, “Eh, OK” at first, but after a couple of visits the sound of the hair dryer, the lady-chatter (much different than the guy-chatter) and the smell of chemicals threw off the whole vibe. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the unique, comfy place I’d known – in fact, it had become just another place to get your hair cut, and I could find plenty of those around that didn’t make me feel sad when I walked into them.

  4. Women in aviation is nothing new, but the in-your-face feminism is. My paternal grandparents were both CFIIs from since at least the 70’s, and my grandmother, now 102, was a member of the Ninety-Nines. Advocacy and mentoring? No problem. Were she to not be now suffering from dementia, I suspect she would shake her head at the way things are now. Was/is there sexism among pilots? Sure, my grandmother and those like her had to fight those battles for acceptance and equality. Flying is a job that demands professionalism, and gets it 99.9% of the time. The unprofessional pilots do not last long.

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