After United leggings row, women discuss the first time they were shamed for their clothing
United Airlines became embroiled in a fierce online row on Sunday after young female passengers were barred from boarding a flight at Denver International Airport while wearing leggings.
The airline defended the move, stating that the girls were travelling as ‘pass rider' passengers and were thus considered representatives of United, and obliged to abide by the company dress code.
However, the defence did little to quell anger over the decision, and United was roundly criticised for ‘policing' young women's clothing.
As the row gathered pace, author and journalist Dana Schwartz asked her Twitter followers to share when they had first been made “to feel embarrassed and sexualised” for what they wore.
“I was in 5th grade, shorts too short,” she added. “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 mom to bring pants.”
She received a number of responses:
4th grade, a teacher told me i should wear leggings with my dress because it was “overly revealing for plump people to wear dresses” https://t.co/lEA5EYiHxC
— lizzie (@thelizzieh) March 26, 2017
— Rachel Harvey (@ThatRachelH) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz Couldnt wear vnecks that other girls could because I was bigger on top. Felt like it was my fault, was always embarrassed
— no great matter (@BringDaNoyz) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz Wore a spaghetti strap dress to church in June without a shawl, religion teacher told me (7 y.o.) I was being intentionally disrespectful.
— DJ Genuine Porcupine (@ThrGrimm) March 26, 2017
4th grade. Wearing a white t-shirt. Was told I was “more developed” than other girls & needed to wear thicker shirts https://t.co/fWSs2fWWAQ
— Jackie Zantow (@j_zantow) March 26, 2017
A high school principal would stand in the hallway + stop girls wearing shorts + skirts as they walked by. I always wore jeans to avoid him. https://t.co/05A1C0brvq
— Carson Brockette (@carsonbrockette) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz 6th grade. My skirt was too short. My teacher called me frog legs and sent me home.
— RealMarjo (@RealMarjo) March 26, 2017
First time I remember clearly: vice-principal (ninth grade?) stopped me in hallway to say the straps on my shirt were too thin. https://t.co/JXFC6cxRBI
— Kathleen Jones (@KathleenEJones) March 26, 2017
I was in 4th grade and was told that my tank top was inappropriate. School made me wear a sweatshirt in May and I got heatstroke. https://t.co/4B0iywP8RC
— Kendra Syrdal (@kendrasyrdal) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz I developed D breasts at 11. told to button my uniform shirt all the way up, even though other girls cld have 1-2 unbuttoned
— joemuckalutz (@joemuckalutz) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz 5th grade: dance pants were too tight for school. 8th grade: friend & I wore matching tube socks & skirts. Forced to change.
— Jordon Cloud Rahmil (@jordoncloud) March 26, 2017
9/10. My mom told me to couldn't wear shorts/tank tops. I thought it was because I was fat. Turns out she caught adult men checking me out. https://t.co/gh0EhKHiDe
— Karen Trudeau (@karentrudeau) March 26, 2017
1st grade. My look was sparkly leggings and a tshirt. Teacher made me put on an adult's polo from the nurses office to cover my butt. https://t.co/hcrSq9uGRK
— boot cut genes (@ATXnicci) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz To this day do not ever feel comfortable showing cleavage after being shamed for (accidentally showing) it in the 5th grade.
— JL (@mmbaconomnom) March 26, 2017
@DanaSchwartzzz 6th grade, accidentally revealed part of my (training) bra when taking off my sweater, boys pointed and giggled
— ellen grace (@iwishiwasafinch) March 26, 2017
fter retweeting a number of the stories, Schwartz said: “Girls are taught from elementary school to be ashamed. It's humiliating. We still remember.
“Men, did you feel shame for breaking dress code? For women, it becomes a character indictment.
“If boys in school are staring at girls in shorts, teachers should be taking the boys aside and talking to them, not humiliating the girls.”