MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Airline Tells Immodest Women to Cover Up

September 21st, 2007 Visited 4079 times, 1 so far today

When I flew for my job back in the late 90s, I used to favor Delta. I had this one really bumpy trip in the middle of a hurricane on my way back to Florida, and a stewardess was one of the nicest I ever encountered.

None of them, however, compare to the guys and gals of Southwest Airlines who are taking a stand for modesty– or at least taking seriously customer’s concerns.

In case you’re not up on what’s going on, September 7th:

[Kyla] Ebbert [(pictured above)] … was on a day trip from San Diego to Tucson, Ariz., for a doctor’s appointment and had no luggage.

She told Matt Lauer that just before the crew closed the plane’s doors, a Southwest employee asked her to come to the front of the aircraft.

“He told me, ‘I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to catch a later flight because you are dressed inappropriately,'” Ebbert said. “‘This is a family airline, and you are too provocative to fly on this flight.'”

“I said, ‘What part is it? The shirt? the skirt? Which part?’ He said, ‘The whole thing.'”

Ebbert said she was allowed to stay on the flight after she agreed to pull up her tank top and pull down her skirt.

The company answered that they were fielding a complaint by some passengers– and they took the complaint seriously. However, on September 11th:

Setara Qassim said she was flying home to Burbank, Calif., from Las Vegas in June when a Southwest Airlines flight attendant gave her a blanket and told her to cover up.

“The flight attendant came up to me and asked me if I had a sweater, and I said, ‘No, because why would I pack a sweater in the heat?'” Qassim said. “So I asked her why, and she said I needed to cover up.”

Now, these ladies clothing aren’t terrible, but they are distracting, and not something that you want forced into your vision for a long plane trip. What’s sad about all of this is that the ladies somehow feel that they are empowered by showing their bodies– and they feel insulted for being asked to be modest. The American Princess goes on at length about the implications to feminism, but here’s a good quote:

Do you know what the solution to all of your problems would be? Rather than a federal lawsuit, lets try not dressing like a stripper in a public location.

–snip–

These women objectified themselves for fun and profit in several arenas. They did what women fought so hard against men for having done; they’ve reduced themselves to nothing more than a set of boobs and a pair of legs, just dolls. The idea that this development is acceptable as a forward movement in women’s liberation is actually frightening. The argument is that we should, as part of our tolerant, liberated society accept their “choices” as to what they want to wear or what they want to do. When those choices are wrong, its up to us to put a stop to them, and those factors which give rise to that feeling that the right choice is unacceptable. Its the same with every problem. You get to the root. She may have a “choice” to wear what she wants, but her “choice” belies a deeper, societal problem.

It’s sad. Sad for the women, sad for those that are defending them. Sad all the way around. That they miss how special they are and feel that they are only worth something if they display everything shows that something’s missing in their lives. Something or Someone.

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  • Colleen says on: September 21, 2007 at 9:27 am

     

    Going out on a limb here….
    What bothers me about the first story is the inconsistency of the airline crews. On the way to California she was asked to cover up, but on the way back home she was complimented on her outfit by the crew. To my knowledge regarding this story, Southwest has nothing posted regarding appropriate attire when traveling. Just going out on a limb here, but isn’t “provocative” in the eye of the beholder? That might explain why one crew was okay with the outfit and other was not. What was provocative about the outfit? My only concern was the length seemed a bit short, but her breasts were not exposed. My thoughts are many regarding this particular story, but I want to say this: I’ve flown many planes in my life/career. Most of the time I hardly have any leg room, I can hardly see the person in front of, next to or even rows up or back of my seat; mainly just profiles. She didn’t have any luggage, so it was not like she was reaching up to the overhead bin or bend over to place something under her seat, she was just walking on to the plane to take her seat. Why is it the airline didn’t move the person(s) that had issue with her outfit instead of judging her and causing her to feel humiliated the entire flight to California.
    I guess I just all too often hear “society” putting the blame on women and not holding others accountable for their actions.

  • Michael says on: September 21, 2007 at 10:51 am

     

    The angle that we don’t want an airline policing attire unless there is a dress code is the exact reason we need to pay attention to this closely. Do businesses need to post dress codes now? The more codes and laws we demand the less freedom we really have.
    I watched Kyla on Dr. Phil receive her apology which she now claims was not good enough because of its word play.
    I’ve been playing devil’s advocate with Kyla Ebbert’s story since I read it last week. And I find myself asking questions which lead me to seriously consider if the airlines acted justifiably. The outfit we see Kyla wearing on The Today Show and in The San Diego Union-Tribune is now in its most conservative state. In all likelihood the skirt was higher and the shirt was pulled down so the public could admire the new breast augmentation. While watching the clip from The Today Show I could see clearly see the crotch of Kyla’s white panties.
    Remembering this is in its most conservative state we have to ask ourselves to what degree could this same outfit be in its most liberal state. Is it possible she wasn’t wearing panties? Is it possible her wardrobe was inappropriate? This is a good story because of its shock value and because it involves a local, young college co-ed. If a 300lb man were sitting next to me on a plane in nothing more than a Speedo I would ask a representative of the airlines to address the situation. Is it illegal? No. Inappropriate? Yes.
    If a passenger boarded the plane wearing a shirt with a swastika logo, I would be offended even though that original symbol is thousands of years old its Nazi implications are overt. It is implied that we as individuals use good judgment when interacting with each other. And when someone doesn’t show good judgment, as is very possible in this situation, we ask a representative of the business to use their good judgment on our behalf. If you go to original Kyla’s myspace page, the first photo she chooses to represent herself is her in a black bra and black panties wearing high heels with a few friends dressed the same way.
    What we are doing by giving Kyla so much attention for this story is encouraging some of the same behaviors many of us find nauseating: Litigation because a business refuses to apologize for using what may have been good judgment. Does every business and public place need to outline a proper dress code? If we keep flaming this story from the perspective that Kyla is a victim of big business without first giving the airline the benefit of doubt, we are doing all of ourselves a disservice. It seems to me Kyla enjoys using her new breasts and her body, in general, to get attention and financial reward: her myspace page, Hooters, the lack of wardrobe, her many flights via Southwest, etc… And that is fine in the appropriate venues.
    She is making the circuit on as many of the media outlets which will have her before she ends up nude in December’s issue of a men’s magazine. But before we all feign outrage, I suggest we consider the flip side of this coin. It is possible she was dressed inappropriately. It is legal for a private business to weigh the circumstance and make a judgment. I would much rather Kyla’s stay offended during this media blitz because she didn’t receive an apology than for me to have to succumb to a detailed, written dress code in every public place I go. I prefer to use my own common sense when dressing, and would hope I don’t get pulled aside and asked to change my outfit because it is inappropriate or take a shower because my body odor is intolerable or stop using profanity while drinking too much or any one of many things which are legal but tasteless.
    Kyla was on KGB 101.5 on 09/12 in San Diego. She mentioned she flew with Southwest more than 100 times last year. Why and Where? Vegas perhaps. Also on her original (below) myspace she mentions she is “retired”. From what?

    http://72.14.209.104/search?q=.....incessKyla

  • Michael says on: September 21, 2007 at 11:01 am

     

    Kyla Ebbert’s background is questionable. She claims to have traveled via Southwest more than 100 times in one year. That is like one or two trips a week. On her original myspace (below) she claims she is “retired”. From what? She claims she wants to meet Hugh Hefner. Also the myspace ad screams volumes. If more people connected the dots I think there would be less people defending her as if she is an innocent victim randomly chosen out of a herd. She potrays herself as a possible call-girl / stripper. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is what we find out eventually. Then how many people would be feigning outrage?

    http://72.14.209.104/search?q=.....incessKyla

  • MInTheGap says on: September 21, 2007 at 3:19 pm

     

    The question comes down to appropriateness of the attire for the situation. If either of these ladies had shown up on the airplane in a bikini we all would be saying it was inappropriate. If she was in a sweat-suit, no one would be complaining. It’s because they wore something on the borderline that is the problem.

    A lot of families are trying to confront the non-stop sexual exposure that they and their children are shown daily. It’s in the mall in larger than life posters, it’s on billboards and all over television. These that want to stop the “pornification” of their lives shouldn’t be told that they are the problem, for they’re standing in the way of people choosing to exhibit their bodies anywhere they choose.

    There are certain places certain attire is not appropriate for practical purposes. Few people I know go horseback riding in a ball gown. Guys don’t usually work on the house in a tuxedo. When traveling a distance, it’s rare to find people not wearing comfortable clothes, but there’s no reason that you have to wear a revealing outfit.

    Michael, you make good points– but have you paid attention the last time that you went into your local convenience store? They have stickers right on the door (at least around here) where they say “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” There’s already a dress code for the customers. Let alone dress codes for employees.

    I understand the argument that “well, I can’t see those behind me or in front of me,” but what about sitting next to you, or across the aisle. What do you tell your child about the outfit? If you’ve chosen to take a stand, it’s not wrong to ask that the girl attempt to cover up– it’d be wrong to mandate that she change her clothes.

    We need to be respectful of those around us.

  • Colleen says on: September 21, 2007 at 5:57 pm

     

    Thanks for entertaining my opposing opinion. I was hoping to get a conversation going.

    Who knows, maybe this was all a ploy for publicity, which she is getting apparently from several talk shows and various internet sites.

    Asking her to cover up as oppose to changing her clothes I guess would be the compromise in this situation. Many of these situations (with older kids) might be used as an educational situation. I think for the benefit of all customer it would be nice to have some type of policy available, which I assume might come from this story and situation on Southwest’s part.

    I guess I wonder if a someone entered the plane wearing an Atlanta Falcon #7 jersey if they’d ask him to cover it up? Or perhaps another offensive shirt, hat or article of clothing?

  • mandikaye says on: September 21, 2007 at 7:56 pm

     

    The question isn’t, “was what she wearing inappropriate?” but “who deems what is appropriate or not?”

    I’m with Kyla on this one. I don’t think the airline had any right to police what she was wearing (unless, of course, she tried to get on the plane nude).

    And I have to say…her occupation should have no bearing on the discussion.

  • MInTheGap says on: September 22, 2007 at 10:02 am

     

    Colleen, there’s definitely a difference between an offensive saying on a shirt and a sexually charged outfit. Although I get your point, I don’t think many would find a request to cover up a team shirt something worth the time.

    mandikaye, since you pay for the privilege to ride their airline (they have the right to refuse you passage, just as they have the right to limit the number of carry-on items you bring, what you store where, …) it is their decision what is appropriate. Just as a business owner can say “no shirt, no shoes, no service” the airline could say “if you dress provocatively, or like you’re on the beach, or they could go so far as to say if you went in Alanta Falcon #7 we can refuse you passage. It’s their right. It’s their airline.

    However, I think the standards should be well published, and if they refuse you passage, you should get some if not all of your money back. You shouldn’t be surprised when you get on to find that you’re breaking the rules– but the airline has the right to ask you to cover up or not to board.

  • Colleen says on: September 22, 2007 at 8:16 pm

     

    I’m a big propionate of having things in writing. I feel it’s easier to hold people accountable that way, so there is not confusion of what is acceptable. Great dialogue and post, thanks Min.

  • Loc says on: September 22, 2007 at 10:05 pm

     

    I don’t currently have the specific article (I’ll make an effort to find it then post it), but in one article they said the other passengers near her said her outfit was fine and that they did not complain about it. There is a lot of concern with this story that a man in a place of authority chose to abuse his powers to push his own belief. Because of the clothing she wore and many people’s personal feelings we don’t see it in this light, but if we just look at it another way it all makes sense.

    Say I walked onto an airplane tomorrow carrying a bible. Say then a flight attendant stopped me and told me that this was a multi religious airline and the bible I was carrying is offensive to some of the passengers. Then the only way I may continue my flight is if I agree to hide the bible from sight.

    People would be in an outrage about the event then. Not because it would be any less the airlines right to say I can’t carry a bible on their plane, but because a flight attendant would have abused his authority to enforce his own morals.

  • Arthur Eiss says on: September 23, 2007 at 8:03 pm

     

    So, modesty is still an external value?

  • MInTheGap says on: September 24, 2007 at 3:31 pm

     

    Colleen, the question then becomes “to what end”? Should every business have to have a documented list of what is appropriate in their store? Should they have to employ receptionists whose sole purpose is to make sure that they hand out the “Common Decency” card to new clients? Perhaps a system where logos are affixed to doors on the way in? And who would enforce this?

    I agree with Michael that we have to have a better education in common decency because more documentation just leads to more mess and more litigation.

    Loc, good illustration. If the airline steward/stewardess asked me to put away my Bible I would comply. Why? Because it’s their airline. They have the right to do whatever it takes to make the trip the most comfortable for the most people. That’s why they can mandate that you don’t go to the restroom within 30 minutes of descending, that you should leave your seatbelt fastened when taking off or descending, and that you have to have your seatbacks up and tray-tables stowed.

    However, a more appropriate illustration would have been if you had brought a Playboy on the plane and opened it and the steward/stewardess asked you to stow it. Because that’s what was the problem here. Not a Book that is nothing but words and no one could see what exactly you are reading, but an open invitation to gawk at someone’s body.

    Airlines and other businesses have the right to enforce family-friendly atmospheres. It’s up to them to decide if it’s part of their core beliefs, and how it effects them business-wise. And besides, if you don’t like their rules– take your business elsewhere. (Which is what I would do if they told me to stow my Bible– not cause a stink so I can get 15 minutes of fame looking silly.

    Arthur– no idea how to respond to your question.

  • Musicguy says on: September 24, 2007 at 5:57 pm

     

    “mandikaye, since you pay for the privilege to ride their airline (they have the right to refuse you passage, just as they have the right to limit the number of carry-on items you bring, what you store where, …) it is their decision what is appropriate.”

    I guess that also means that an airline could refuse passage to african-americans, gays, women, jews, muslims, etc, etc. Your line of thinking leads to some scary consequences.

  • Michael says on: September 24, 2007 at 6:59 pm

     

    In response to musicman’s concern over a businessess’ option of providing or declining product or service based on gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc… I believe that is covered in The Civil Rights Act of 1964 as are later and other protected classes such as individuals with disabilities. It is similar to employment law. For example, an employer may terminate an employee in an “at-will” state if the employee likes a different baseball team than the owner of the company. But the owner cannot hire or fire based on protected classes unless it is a bona fide occupational qualification. An employer is allowed to hire a person based on gender or race if it can be shown that those attributes are necessary for the job. In short, musicman, you can be rest assured that the list of classes you have given are protected and no business can discriminate based on the criteria you suggest. Any business is well within its right to deny product or service for any reason with the exception of those protected. Wearing whatever you want, whenever you want, is not protected. It is however, common sense. Something I hope we are able to avoid legislating.

  • Arthur says on: September 24, 2007 at 11:10 pm

     

    MInTheGap Writes:
    That’s why they can mandate that you don’t go to the restroom within 30 minutes of descending, that you should leave your seatbelt fastened when taking off or descending, and that you have to have your seatbacks up and tray-tables stowed.

    Aren’t these examles, not of ‘comfort’ rules, but of safety rules?

    MInTheGap Writes:
    Airlines and other businesses have the right to enforce family-friendly atmospheres. It’s up to them to decide if it’s part of their core beliefs, and how it effects them business-wise. And besides, if you don’t like their rules– take your business elsewhere. (Which is what I would do if they told me to stow my Bible– not cause a stink so I can get 15 minutes of fame looking silly.

    Welcome to the mystery of babylon.

    I agree MIn, that our focus as Christians should not be to press our rights… but on the same coin, it just seems like here we are talking about the culture of the world and ‘how it ought to be’ but we are forgetting that how it ought to be went out the window with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. Now the world is under the control of it’s own god, who is presently working to bring the entire globe under one government and religion. Sometimes I wonder if concerning ourselves with influencing society, trying to Christianize it or make it ‘family friendly’ isn’t just playing into the hands of the enemy, neglecting the Gospel and therefore our main purpose on this earth.

    I ask, “So, modesty is still an external value?” because I wonder seriously if you’ve considered it at all through our previous exchanges regarding modesty and apparel. MIn, have you seriously considered whether modesty is an external, physical attribute, or whether it is a heart condition? Because the language you use in this article still puts the focus of ‘modesty’ on the particulars of women’s garments.

    It is as though your whole appeal here is to convince people, not to be modest inwardly, but to support a business’s right to insist upon a dress code or even a subjective standard of apparel. Well, I appeal to you sir, examine your heart and the Word and see if you are perhaps missing something very special, something… set apart…

    We are living in the last age, and the return of the King is close at hand. We ought to live as though he were coming this very day. If He were, would you be worried about the clothes people are wearing or would you be concerned with their souls? I don’t come to this blog just to be a heckler or to draw people to my own (lonely) blog, I came with a genuine interest. The things you write about have made me think and question some of my assumptions. Nevertheless, this is my sincere challenge to you: consider your focus (meaning, of course, within the context of this blog) … is it on the things of this world, or is it on the things of the Spirit?

  • Edwin Vogt says on: November 18, 2007 at 11:20 pm

     

    The way a woman wears her apparel depends on her own sense of proprietty. If she has no convictions in regard to modest display, then the question has no relevance to her. Her intent may be to seduce, attract, or merely draw attention to her personal idea of beauty. What we may see as disgusting or improper, she may have no such appraisal. This is the problem we are faced with in public life. Because we are a free people and not of the Islamic persuasion which places strict codes of behaviour on both men and women, we are forced to tolerate exhibitions which are both annoying and not respectable. What is in question here is one’s dignity. If a woman has no scruples or has no thoughts as to right taste, then there is absolutely no solution to the problem.Except of course a complete change wrought by accepting the Person of Christ in her life (Romans 10:9,10).

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

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