On Sunday morning, United Airlines turned away two young teenage girls from boarding their flight from Denver to Minneapolis based upon the sole purpose of their attire. The two teenagers were wearing leggings - a staple in female apparel from my 18 month old cousin to my peers and my mom! The gate agent wanted the teenagers to change or put something over their leggings before they boarded - they ended up boarding a later flight due to the inconvenience. Another family was nearly turned away from the same flight as a result of their 10 year old daughter wearing leggings, however her mother had a dress in her carry-on for her daughter to slip on over her outfit. Well, thank the Heavens for that.
In the situation, a single employee isn’t the one to blame - this policy is specifically stated in United Airlines Contract of Carriage Document. United Airlines has reserved the right to deny service to any (paying!) customer if their employees believe they are inappropriately dressed. As the situation progressed and gained attention from angry activists on social media (and the ladies of Sparta High School), it was reported that the two teens were pass travelers, meaning they are related to a United employee, and thus are expected to dress in a certain way as they represent the company. Had the girls been wearing cleavage-bearing cropped shirts, this situation would be more understandable. But please, let’s take note: who would have known that the girls were pass travelers? If they did, who would be disturbed by their outfits? No one is offended by legging-clad teenagers achieving maximum comfort on a flight than we are with the bigger message this is trying to portray.
Well, the grass is green, the sky is blue, our society is sexist. Females bodies are constantly objectified and in hopes of “modesty”, there are rules in place like insane dress codes that go even beyond just a school policy. There are some outfits that are completely inappropriate, and in such case I understand and agree with dealing with the individual completely. But a classic pair of leggings? They are a staple in every girls closet because we don’t feel restricted in comparison to wearing jeans. They can be worn with a sweatshirt on days you were up studying for APUSH or even with a nice blouse if you feel ✨✨fancy✨✨.
This behavior is something we see constantly and needs to end. Junior Sarah Haag commented, “Isn’t judging women something that was done in the 19th century? We should be far past sexualizing girls based upon what they wear while guys are never, ever targeted." United Airlines was extremely intrusive in this decision, but more, if you are uncomfortable by a female in leggings, you are the problem. Dress codes always ignite controversy. As previously stated, yes, sometimes girls wear outfits that are unacceptable in a specific setting. Some of it is understandable, but enough is enough. Every female is guaranteed to wear leggings at least once this week, and with PARCC week, I can guarantee three days out of five. Leggings, you rock. I’m sorry you have gotten a bad rep for being classified as distracting attire. You’re a simple go-to piece for every morning. We all have different body types, and you make us look and feel amazing in what we have.
Degrading young women leads to further self-image issues. You cannot call us out when you never even think to call out our male counterparts who wear shirts with naked women and curse words/suggestive language and as we approach the warm weather, the classic wife beater. “I found it absolutely ridiculous that young women are being punished for what we feel comfortable in,” began junior Becca Brancato. “Low esteem is a problem in teenagers to begin with, and this only furthers the issue! It shows us that we can’t wear what makes us happy.” United Airlines, we propose new attire for your flight attendants: black leggings. Maybe your newfound comfort will change your perspective on how you view young girls and ultimately make you realize, we’re just too comfy to pay attention as you perform the safety announcements.