What the hell happened? Did I wake up in another century or suddenly find myself living under a repressive regime like the Taliban? I cannot even wrap my brain around this week’s news about 23-year old Kyla Ebbert’s treatment by Southwest Airlines. On her way to a doctor appointment, she boarded her flight on time and according to all policies and procedures. But amazingly, her clothing became an issue. Dressed in a denim miniskirt topped by a shirt which covered her breasts better than some of Hilary Clinton’s blouses cover the bosoms of the presidential candidate, this young woman was obviously persecuted for having blonde hair and a smoking body. Had she looked less enticing, I have no doubt the length of her skirt would NOT have been offensive to anyone. But apparently a passenger complained about Ebbert’s choice in clothing and some busy body unprofessional flight attendant decided to enforce the fashion standards of this one passenger.
That Southwest has not suspended the flight attendant and issued an immediate apology to Ebbert and those of us who had to listen to this misogynistic drivel, is even more shocking. As a frequent flyer on Southwest airlines, I am not only outraged that paying passengers are being screened for “being too sexy” but I can envision the climate of fear it will create. From now on, when those of us who possess breasts and alluring legs are packing for a flight, we may be tempted to wonder if our choice in attire will meet the standards of whatever nut job the airline has hired to bring us our beverage and remind us to put our seats in an upright position. To avoid a traumatizing event such as the one Ebbert was subjected to (whatever the flight attendant said to her had her reduced to tears), some of us may be tempted to opt for the standard American flight suit – sweat pants and a t-shirt.
Southwest can take a bow for destroying any impulse to look attractive which might have existed in those few American travelers who had not converted to the unwashed and unkempt look of the masses. But their greatest achievement is that of setting us squarely back in the 1960’s when we were still debating whether women should be allowed to go braless or wear pantsuits to work. Thanks Southwest.
If you want to join me in giving Southwest Airlines the verbal reprimand they deserve, here is their contact info:
Southwest Airlines P.O. Box 36647 – 1CR Dallas, Texas 75235-1647
Public Relations/Media Relations 214-792-4847
Customer Relations 214-792-4223 Mon – Fri, 8:00 am – 5:00 pm CT
You can also post a comment on the Southwest Airlines blog: http://www.blogsouthwest.com/2007/09/07/a-different-perspective/#comments
Oh and if you want to laugh at the hypocrisy of Southwest Airlines, check out these videos on YouTube. But be forewarned that the images would not pass the airline’s unstated and un-posted standards for proper attire today: