United Airlines decided to enforce a nonexistent dress code and refused to allow two girls onto their flight on Sunday morning because they were wearing leggings. The Washington Post reports that a third girl, who was approximately 10-years-old, was also wearing leggings and was asked to change before she could board her flight from Denver to Minneapolis. She ended up putting a dress on over her leggings.
Shannon Watts, a political activist who is well-known for founding the gun safety campaign Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, was at the gate, saw the whole thing go down, and tweeted about the event to her 32.7K followers, bringing the incident to a wider audience.
United made a statement in response to her tweet and the ensuing outrage, saying "United shall have the right to refuse passengers who are not properly clothed via our Contract of Carriage."
The airline clarified that "this is left to the discretion of the agents," but made no mention of what constitutes being "properly clothed." Watts then tweeted a series of thoughts and salient observations about the obvious sexism of the incident.
After Watts took them to task and the ridiculous story started to pick up steam, others, including celebrities Patricia Arquette and Chrissy Teigan, joined in to discuss how outrageous it was that United was trying to police these girls' bodies.
In a statement to the New York Daily News, Watts said "I'd like (United) to understand that leggings are part of a woman's attire in modern day America. It is not inappropriate or sexual." United, please hear us when we tell you it is not sexual, it's just comfortable.