Vacations are always a fabulous idea right?! Picture this: You’re sporting comfortable leggings and a cute cutout top as you excitedly prepare for your ultimate getaway to Mexico or La Isla de Encanto. Life is good and you’re ready to explore the world, when suddenly, an unexpected obstacle hinders your path to vacation bliss. You are denied access to board your flight due to your attire; specifically, your "inappropriate" leggings.
That’s right chicas, L-E-G-G-I-N-G-S. Come on now, this is completely insane! Pero, this isn't in your mind. This actually happened Saturday night, when a United Airlines passenger tweeted that she saw a gate agent prevent three girls from boarding their flight because they were wearing leggings. What followed was a heated Twitter debate. Here's the problem: Who gets to tell women what to wear? Legging-gate, as some are calling it, is a clear example of sexualizing and policing women’s bodies. The response to the incident was swift, as girl power took over social media and celebrities and other women shared their thoughts on the matter using the hashtag #StopShamingGirls.
Check out some of the tweets on this topic:
I have flown united before with literally no pants on. Just a top as a dress. Next time I will wear only jeans and a scarf.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) March 26, 2017
Ladies, when was the first time you were made to feel embarrassed and sexualized for what you wore? I was in 5th grade, shorts too short.
— Dana Schwartz (@DanaSchwartzzz) March 26, 2017
She's forcing them to change or put dresses on over leggings or they can't board. Since when does @united police women's clothing?
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) March 26, 2017
Over the past decade, women's dress codes have been enforced to create structure, “safety", and an environment of equality. These days, every institution, from schools to workplaces to the White House, believes it has the right to determine what women “should” wear. But when does creating a safe environment go from protecting to policing? And where is the line between what I wear in my professional life and what I wear in my personal life? Should there even be one? If airlines can tell me that I can't travel in leggings, what's next? Will I, like Muslim women told by the French government that they can't wear burkinis on the beach, be told what I can and can't wear while sunbathing?
Fashion is and should be a form of self-expression, and all women should be able to wear what makes them feel comfortable and what they believe is “appropriate” attire. Though Twitter and many women and men sided with the young girls, United Airlines are defending the gate agents decision to deny the girls the right to fly, and issued the following statement:
"Let us take a moment to explain today's news: We care about the way we present ourselves to you, our customers, as we believe that is part of the experience on board our flights. One of the benefits of working for an airline is that our employees are able to travel the world. Even better, they can extend this privilege to a select number of what we call 'pass riders.' These are relatives or friends who also receive the benefit of free or heavily discounted air travel – on our airline as well as on airlines around the world where we have mutual agreements in place for employees and pass riders. When taking advantage of this benefit, all employees and pass riders are considered representatives of United. And like most companies, we have a dress code that we ask employees and pass riders to follow.
The passengers this morning were United pass riders and not in compliance with our dress code for company benefit travel. We regularly remind our employees that when they place a family member or friend on a flight for free as a standby passenger, they need to follow our dress code.
To our regular customers, your leggings are welcome."
Question is, aren’t buddy passengers consider regular customers as well? How would you react if you were in this situation? Sound off below in the comment section.