So let’s talk about the latest airline scandal and girls.
In case you haven’t heard, United’s been getting some shit for prohibiting a couple of preteens from boarding a weekend flight re their leggings/yoga pants. Anytime I see the airline United, I typically cease reading — I have unfinished business with them (more on that another time). Anyway, I thought the “No shirt, no shoes, no service” policy was reserved for beach towns like Santa Cruz or my alma mater Isla Vista. Because, you know, those are fucking beach towns where that shit is actually applicable. Unless United now has portable beaches on their planes, I clearly missed the memo.
Anyways, back to the girls. Yeah, these two kiddos were initially barred from boarding their flight because they were wearing leggings. Some argue the plot thickened when it was revealed these gals were flying under “pass travelers,” which then gave United the right to inflict particular dress code.
Here’s what United tweeted:
“In our Contract of Carriage, Rule 21, we do have the right to refuse transport for passengers who are barefoot or not properly clothed. There is a dress code for pass travelers as they are representing UA when they fly.”
I know I simplified, but if you really want to bitch about that, go ahead and read some reputable coverage here.
The ordeal ended with the girls putting on additional clothing and eventually boarding the flight. But damn, that just got the party started, y’all. If you haven’t read Seth Rogen or Chrissy Teigen’s tweets on the matter, treat yoself and take a gander.
This is where I tell you that I think United fucked up and is completely in the wrong. So yes, United fucked up, and I’m going to tell you why.
The multi-faceted and layers of issues here are something that should not go undiscussed. To begin with, it seems rather sexist on a superficial level to block two 10-year-old girls from boarding a flight because they’re wearing leggings. Leggings. We’re not talking a Sasha Baron Cohen speedo or Ri Ri’s notoriously bad@$$ Swarovski dress — and as a side note, anyone should be allowed to wear whatever the fuck they want on a flight so long as it’s not a damn swastika or threatens or harms another individual. I’m pretty sure there’s some legal shit that bars airlines or companies or whatever from discriminating against customers. But I’m not a lawyer, so (don’t) sue me.
Back to the point. No airline, — or any company, period — should have the power to keep a customer from boarding re their attire. Secondly, a company shouldn’t even be discriminating or censoring people’s clothing. If you really love and respect your customers, you’re going to love and respect them as they are — and there shouldn’t be a dress code that determines that.
And honestly — if you’re going to use the bullshit excuse that travel pass flyers represent your company, then you need a reality check. Really? You really believe two little girls in leggings are going to be the poster children of your airline? I get that United wants to stand their ground. Good for you guys. And sure, maybe people flying under the traveler pass — which seems like a privilege — need to adhere to some common decency and ethical standards; everyone should. While I certainly think United’s travel pass policies are a grey area for issues like this, I seriously doubt two tweens in leggings qualifies as United’s definition of indecent or immoral.
This brings me to my next grievance. These weren’t any two 10-year-olds. These were two girls. Who got called out for their clothing as they stood next to their father, a grown-ass man, who was reportedly wearing shorts that were several inches above his knees. So I’m wondering, what was it about this dude’s daughters’ fucking leggings that were worse than their father’s short-shorts? In what universe is this not sexist? If so, I’d love to travel there and become their queer Latina messiah.
Seriously, this United fiasco isn’t about simply barring customers from getting on a flight. It’s about a company that inflicted some real patriarchal, hegemonic heteronormative rationale (not sure if you can call that kind of shit even logical) in their ruling. It is never, ever okay to write off a preteen wearing skin tight bottoms as indecent, immoral, or suggestive (and if you think leggings actually do that, I implore to reconsider hypersexualizing the female youth and females in general). And I know United didn’t literally say anything about these two girls being provocative or pulling a Britney “Oops I Did It Again” moment. But they didn’t have to. That’s the thing: our assumptions of what females wear — young or old — is tied to their morality or what is socially conservative enough. That’s the problem. We set women up to be knocked down in situations like these, because we gauge their decency and moral standards based on the clothes they wear.
And for the record, I do wear yoga pants.