Thursday, September 6, 2007

Southwest Airlines and Prudery

From Feministing.
Come fly the slut-shaming skies

Southwest Airlines is apparently now telling its female passengers how to dress. Kyla Ebbert was reprimanded and nearly kicked off a flight for daring to wear a tank top, miniskirt, and cardigan. (This picture is of the outfit she was wearing at the time. Scandalous, no? How dare she walk around in 100-degree weather wearing that?!)

They walked out onto the jet bridge, where [flight attendant/fashion policeman] Keith told Ebbert her clothing was inappropriate and asked her to change. She explained she was flying to Tucson for only a few hours and had brought no luggage.

“I asked him what part of my outfit was offensive,” she said. “The shirt? The skirt? And he said, 'The whole thing.' ”

Keith asked her to go home, change and take a later flight. She refused, citing her appointment.

The plane was ready to leave, so Keith relented. He had her pull up her tank top a bit, pull down her skirt a bit, and return to her seat.

Guess we know what airline Wendy "Modestly Yours" Shalit is going to be flying from now on!

The San Diego Union-Tribune columnist clearly thinks Ebbert's treatment was unacceptable, but then he throws up his hands:

Who knows where the lines are drawn these days, particularly when it comes to dress? If you watch television, or visit the mall, or take in a game at Petco Park, you'll see women dressed in ways that, 50 years ago, were pornographic. Today they are stylish.

Uh, newsflash: 50 years ago, Southwest was requiring its own stewardesses to wear skirts just as short as Ebbert's. (Picture below the fold.) So much for the good ol' days of modesty.


The Filthy Titan said...

Bloody crap! Since when do airlines have that much control over their passengers? We pay THEM to get on the airplane, not the other way around. Flight attendants, especially some little crap nobody like this Keith appears to be, should not be able to dictate to others what to wear!

I clicked the link and looked at the outfit. There's barely even any cleavage on that suit! Sure, the skirt's a bit close, but this is America! We are supposed to be free in our decisions to do what we want as reasonable adults! Nobody has the right to tell us these things unless we are making a public fuss. Does this Keith know about a public fuss she created? No? Then he had no right.

Also, I can't help but believe that anyone who points out that "fifty years ago things were different!" is somebody desperately behind the times. There are no lines on dress, or anything else, so long as it causes no public stir.

And I leave that as my final answer.

feMENist said...

I can't say whether or not I think it is wrong for airlines to institute a dress code, but I can say it was wrong in this instance because a man would have been let on the plane wearing only his underwear. Regulating another's dress can be good or can be bad, but it can never be good if you are only limiting what a certain sex of people can wear.

I wonder what the motive of the airline was??? Though not specifically stated, I get the impression that none of the other passenger's complained, so why not no harm no foul? This does not seem to me to be traditional male action: with the general male mentality, the only dress code I would have forseen being instituted was one in which women wore less...

freedom-is-slavery said...

I have seen a picture of what Wendy was wearing when she boarded the flight. She was on the Dr. Phil show. If the airlines believe that she was dressed too floozy-like and that her dress was inappropriate, then many, many girls in high schools and at Morehead State had better watch out. Wendy's attire is commonplace. She is an attractive woman, which worked to her disadvantage in this particular instance. The weird thing about this is that a male representative of the airline was the one who asked her to cover up. Males are not normally jealous of attractive females, but females are often jealous of other attractive females.

At Wendy's appearance on the Dr. Phil show, I do not feel she was treated fairly by Dr. Phil. Wendy stated that she wanted an apology from the airlines, which Dr. Phil managed to get for her and read aloud on the show. Dr. Phil then pressed Wendy to proclaim that she would accept the apology and not sue the airline for the humiliation she claims to have suffered. She would not go that far, and Dr. Phil became very upset with her for not accepting the apology and dropping it.

Wendy deserves more than an apology. Money is the only legitimate way for a business to apologize because this is the only way to make a company "feel" the pain. Wendy should file a lawsuit, and I would hope would make the airline wake up to their discriminatory practices. I doubt she would have been asked to cover up had she not been about 5'10", roughly 140 pounds, with an ample bosom. To a Muslim society, the burqa is the remedy to the airlines' problem.

kydemocrat said...

I think the most surprising part of this whole story to me is the fact that any man found ANY outfit an attractive woman was wearing to be offensive. Usually men believe that the less a woman wears, the better. Unless, of course, it is a man's daughter or wife whose clothes are in question, in which case the men are afraid that the woman (or child) would be viewed as sexually attractive by other men).

Further, I can't imagine why this woman was subjected to such a harsh outcry. The girls in high schools and colleges, not to mention workplaces, have worn far worse without any problem. In fact, public schools often all but encourage this behavior, as the uniforms of cheerleading squads get more and more revealing as time passes. Consequently, girls have been conditioned to dress in such a manner, and are often condemned and rejected by society if they do not.

Therefore, once again, society has created another no win situation for women. Either way they dress--- modestly or revealingly, professionally or immaturely, modern or old- fashioned, unstylish or unstylish---- women are nonetheless oppressed, exploited, and rejected for doing so. Thus, it is nearly impossible for women to be able to determine, let alone do, what society has established to be “the right thing”.

Anonymous said...

This is awful, i mean i thought we lived in America. This is the kind of stuff i think Stalin used to do. This lady paid to ride on an airplane and she in turn got treated like crap simply because of what she was wearing. Its okay to have personal feelings about the way someone is dressed but it is not okay to make a spectacle of someone who is just trying to fly from point a to point b, especially since she is paying to do so. I think this also goes to aspect of jelously among women. Its no secret, right or wrong, women are jealous of other women who look better then them. The flight attendant was no different. She saw an attractive women get on her plane who was dressed in releaving (some whould say) outfit and she did not want the attention to be taken off of her by this passenger. So she reacted in way that could conteract this attractive woman. The article also says this is how southwest used to dress their flight attendants so we know the airline did not have a problem with what this woman was wearing, it was the female flight attendant who did.