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Southwest Exposure

Sep
19
2007

These days, when it comes to fashion, I’m rather relieved I don’t have a daughter. I will never have to make a value judgment about what she is wearing.
Not so for the mother of Kyla Ebbert; mother and daughter appeared together on the Today Show after Kyla was almost thrown off a Southwest Airlines flight for wearing an outfit a flight attendant considered too provocative. When asked, Kyla’s mother said she would have sided with the airline if she truly felt the outfit was inappropriate. But she was appearing on television – lawyer in tow – to support Kyla’s wardrobe choice.
Now, as a citizen of the United States of America and all that stands for, I also support Kyla’s right to wear what she wants. And, since the airline has no dress code and certainly none that was posted, the flight attendant was out of line in making such a subjective judgment about a passenger’s attire.
Even as the mother of children other than Kyla, I have no right to require other people to conform to what I may or may not consider appropriate within my own children’s eyesight. What I consider passable may not be what others consider passable and vice versa.
But Kyla’s mother? All I want to do is ask her, “What the hell are you thinking?”
Seeing Kyla’s outfit does not quite do justice to why the flight attendant felt the need to issue the scolding that should have come from Kyla’s mother. You have to see the outfit in action, as we all did when Kyla stood up and sat down on the Today Show couch.
The amount of tugging and adjusting required once she stood negated any claim that she chose the five-inch skirt and skin-tight shirt for comfort. I will give the college coed the benefit of the doubt and hope she was wearing underwear on the flight as she was on television. The fact that I know she was wearing white underwear on the show should be cause for parental concern right there. . .
But, to be fair, Kyla assured host Matt Lauer that she did keep her legs crossed, which she demonstrated (flash of white panty crotch), leading to another concern. Obviously no nylon old-lady panties. There was enough hip displayed for me to know that those cheeks were right up against the couch fabric and, from the standpoint of a passenger on a later flight who might be sitting in the same seat where Kyla sat: Ew.
I don’t think anyone is arguing that the outfit wasn’t overtly sexy, though certainly not unique in terms of what girls are parading around in these days. It was, though, on the more revealing end of the spectrum. I can assure you it was because I watched the Today Show piece with my 16-year-old son, who was salivating all over his toast.
“If she sat near you on an airplane, what would you do?” I asked him.
He stared at the television, smiling lasciviously until he looked at me, at which point he pulled his face into a serious scowl and said, “I’d ask her what she thinks about the current administration and its foreign policy.”
He wouldn’t tell me what he was really thinking. So I know what he was really thinking.
“I don’t have to tell you that just because she’s dressed that way, it doesn’t mean she’s deserving of any less respect than any other woman,” I said, “do I?”
Eyes rolled. “No Mother. Of course not, Mother,” he droned into his plate.
“I mean it,” I cautioned and asked for eye contact. “I don’t care what your Neanderthal friends tell you. . .”
“Do I have Neanderthal friends?”
“Every guy has at least one Neanderthal friend who insists a woman is ‘asking for it,’” I said, making quote marks with my fingers.
“Only geeks make quote marks.”
Such is the nature of lectures around here.
Had I a daughter, though, the conversation would be markedly different. Because had I a daughter, I’d have already entered the fray several years earlier when all her friends were pining to be little eight-year-old Britney Spears. Had I a daughter by now she would be locked in her room wearing a burka a nun have no reason to board an airplane wearing little more than a scarf as a skirt because she’d know she was smart enough, strong enough and valued enough not to have to wear a ridiculous, uncomfortable, cheap outfit to garner positive attention.
However, Southwest Airlines, just fly the plane and get me to where I’m going safely. I’ll handle my and my kids’ morality.

Share  Posted by Jeanne Jackson at 10:10 AM | Permalink

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