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China's 'High Speed Sisters' Are a Throwback to a Bygone Era

iStockphoto/Thinkstock (file photo)(BEIJING) -- In China, much is made about forward progress, but an increasingly popular job is a throwback to a different era -- one that might raise the eyebrows of a few feminists.
They’re called "high speed sisters" -- the more than 300 female attendants on the bullet train between Beijing and Shanghai.  Candidates learn to smile showing only eight front teeth by practicing daily chopstick-biting exercises.  They must also know three different types of bows.  An apology for bad service, for example, requires a bow at precisely 45 degrees.

High speed sisters debuted on the bullet train last summer.  Now, China Southern Airlines is following suit in its search for new stewardesses.  The company even held a televised, American Idol-style search.  To be eligible for the position one must be single, not wear glasses and be 25 years old or younger with straight legs.

Those requirements did not seem to put off eager job seekers; tens of thousands of women applied.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio