You may have read about Kayla Eubanks a while back. She was scheduled to fly from New York to Chicago on Southwest in early October. However she was stopped by the boarding gate staff at LaGuardia because they said her halter top was in breach of the airline’s dress code. Eubanks said the words they used were, “Lewd, obscene and offensive.”
Here’s a picture of her shirt, from her Twitter account:
Y’all I was KICKED OFF my @SouthwestAir flight because my boobs are “lewd, obscene and offensive.” I was told that passengers may look at me in my attire and be offended. The attire in question: https://t.co/tOAxZsFDU5 pic.twitter.com/S9W9gFXpg6
— Kayla Eubanks (@UziSuzy) October 6, 2020
From Southwest Airlines dress code policy:
“Dress to impress. While Southwest’s dress code is relaxed and casual, you will be expected to present a clean, well groomed, and tasteful appearance.”
The airline was not able to clarify what would be considered a breach of their dress code.
Eubanks, 22, believed she was stopped because the employee and airline were trying to police a woman’s body. From her Facebook:
“I was initially shocked, then I was very annoyed because this is discriminatory. I literally cannot remove these from me, I’m a woman, and they’re mine, I can’t leave them at home, I can’t detach them so for you to tell me that my body part is offensive, I don’t know what you want.”
“I’ve seen men on planes shirtless,” she continued. “I’ve seen them with tank tops where I can see their nipples on the side – not to make it about other people, but I’ve seen a lot of other things on planes.”
And her Twitter:
“How will my shirt impact my flight, for myself, the other passengers or even the pilot? Y’all have a dress code for CUSTOMERS who pay to get on a plane? It’s the constant policing of women’s bodies for me.”
The Southwest staff held Eubanks at the gate for about a half-hour, finally allowing her to board only after the flight’s captain spoke to her and loaned her a shirt.
Although glad she was eventually allowed onto her flight, she was still not happy with the inconsistencies and vagueness of the dress code, saying:
“It seemed like everything that was going on was based on personal biases, and I just don’t feel like that’s appropriate,” she said. “If there is a policy, then let that be the policy for everyone, every day.”
To their credit, Southwest did apologize, after Eubanks’ videos went viral. Besides the formal apology, they also said in a statement:
“Our Employees are responsible for the well-being and comfort of everyone on board the flight. Southwest has a Customer policy in our Contract of Carriage that prohibits clothing attire that is ‘lewd, obscene, or patently offensive.’ Our Employees discreetly notified the Passenger of this clothing policy and attempted to resolve the conversation before boarding. She boarded her scheduled flight to Chicago. We also directly reached out to her to refund her fare as a gesture of goodwill.”
However, Eubanks doesn’t think that’s enough. She believes Southwest needs to change its dress code so there’s a specific standard.
“I think they need to update the policy,” she said. “I think it needs to be nondiscriminatory. I think that as a woman, specifically a Black woman, my body is constantly policed and over-sexualized, and that’s not fair to me.”
Feature Photo: Needpix.com
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary