Pants On Fire: How United’s Leggings-Gate Led to My Facebook War

WOW – it started innocently enough. But then again, many battles may start innocently. It’s what happens after the first act when things go awry. This war led to one “friend” unfriended and probably two “faux” friends not speaking Facebook to me anymore.

When I read the news early Monday morning I was horrified by leggings-gate. And so I posted about it on Facebook and thought that was that. Then the storm came to my Facebook page. And the thunder came from women.

I see clearly that this was gender discrimination.  I don’t care what United Airlines tweets, “Tight fitting”, “ill-fitting”, “professional” are all code words for discrimination. And yet two women that wrote on my page did not see that.

My evidence is that this is not a code it is an opinion. What is professional or non-professional? IT IS AN OPINION. GO TO ANY LAW OFFICE ON A FRIDAY AND YOU WILL SEE WHAT SOME WOULD LABEL AS NON PROFESSIONAL attire. But they are mostly men so they are professional enough to represent that Firm. Because men’s dress code is not opinion, it is fact: wear button down shirts is not an opinion.

What is tight-fitting for some may not be tight-fitting for others. I am not crazy about a gate person deciding whether or not I can get on a flight, even a comped flight.

I have to endure men’s dirty toe nails, hairy toes, and hairy legs. That is professional? Skinny jeans are tighter than leggings, are they not allowed to be worn by a guy flying free?

I have to admit that I was often in the assistant principal’s office while in jr. high. Not for behavior but for dress. In those days skirts could not be shorter than 3 inches above the knee. When you were called into the disciplinarian’s office girls actually had to get on their knees and the hem was measured with a yardstick from the floor.

I remember no boys called into the office for dress.

So the lens I look at leggings-gate through is different than the lens of someone who did not have to get on their knees in front of grown men. Let me just say that as a high school senior I had that dress code changed at the school board level through hard work and protest.

I have a professional peer who is a stylist, who speaks about fashion. One thing she says is that leggings should not be worn outside of a work-out. In theory I agree with her. In real life I don’t. It’s not real life that we are not going to do errands, stop at the store, go to a recital, or even try to sneak in a business appointment, all while wearing leggings.

United Airline policy to me is blatant gender discrimination. Young people have felt discrimination but may not have realized it. Older women are used to it. It’s still gender discrimination if professional is applied differently to women of any age, than it is applied to men.

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