On Sunday United Airlines was accused of “sexism” after reportedly stopping three girls from boarding a plane because they were wearing leggings.
The passengers, one who whom is thought to be around 10 years old, were travelling as “pass riders”- meaning they received discounted tickets due to being the friends or family members of a United Airlines employee.
The company insisted pass riders are required to wear smart dress, but as actress Patricia Arquette pointed out: “Leggings are business attire for 10 year olds. Their business is being children.”
Many on Twitter accused the airline of “sexualising” the girls by placing this emphasis on their clothing, which led to journalist Dana Schwartz asking other women about their first experiences of clothes-shaming.
She was soon inundated with responses and the anecdotes are pretty eye-opening.
On Twitter, Schwartz asked: “Ladies, when was the first time you were made to feel embarrassed and sexualised for what you wore? I was in 5th grade, shorts too short.
“It was the second to last day of school. Hot out. I was a beanpole, everything was short on me. They made me call my mum to bring pants.”
Schwartz received so many responses that her question was soon turned into a Twitter moment. Here are just a few of the stories.
In a statement given to The Huffington Post UK, a United Airlines spokesperson said: “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.”