Red Lipstick Forbidden on Turkish Airline Flight Attendants

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Photo: Herry Choi//TongRo Image/Corbis

Turkish Airlines, one of Europe's largest carriers, has just banned its crew — most notably, its female flight attendants  from painting red, dark pink, or any attention-grabbing color onto their lips or fingernails. As Reuters explains, the airline feels the use of such vibrant nail polish and lipstick "impairs visual integrity" in the team. The colors aren't on their uniforms, and thus, should not be worn. The Guardian added that the ban was aimed to keep the workers "artless and well-groomed, with makeup in pastel tones."

It's clear that different professions have different dress code regulations, but the sudden imposition of the anti-red-makeup policy has already caused women to lose their jobs, which happened to more than 300 women who protested against the union's decision last year. (One woman's claim: "They are objecting to the lipstick and nail polish that we have been using for years.") Also creeping in are some concerns the airline is turning more Islamic, and the ban on red lips is tied to the religion and any potential "sexual frenzy" that the color might induce on males in the sky. A concern to which one male passenger told Reuters, "I've never heard of a plane crashing because of women's lipstick."

Oh, the politics of lipstick and nail polish. We now live in a world where one airline bans red lipstick, while another intentionally produces a red hot hue for its crew.