in , ,

Woman Claims She Was ‘Slut-Shamed’ For Her Outfit By Airline Employees

Serah Nathan @serahann / Twitter

Serah Nathan of Melbourne, Australia charged budget airline Jetstar Airways with slut-shaming her. Nathan was waiting in a communal lounge for a flight with rival airline Tiger Air in the Sydney airport.

According to Nathan:

“I sat on his knees and we just talked about mundane nothingness for a couple of minutes.”

The pair are in a long-distance relationship and werenÂ’t going to see each other again until Christmas.

“A uniformed Jetstar representative … sidled up and instructed me to ‘sit on a separate seat because there are children watching’.”

“My partner and I saw no children in the immediate vicinity and were bewildered at both this request and it’s relevance to how I was seated.”

The couple didnÂ’t see any children around and stayed as they were.

The Jetstar representative returned with a Team Leader who repeated the demand that Nathan sit next to her boyfriend and not on his knees.

“I calmly asked her to clarify why I couldn’t converse with my partner while sitting on his knees.”

“She reiterated there were children around and added, ‘you’re disrespecting the parents here by straddling your boyfriend’.”

Nathan disagreed with the characterization of her seating arrangement.

“I wasn’t treating a domestic airport terminal like a strip club.”

Nathan—who is half Sri Lankan—felt “slut-shamed” and believes she was only targeted because of her nationality.

The Jetstar Team Leader also commented on Nathan’s attire, stating she could be denied her flight—even though Nathan wasn’t flying on their airline.

Australia is in mid Spring headed toward Summer with temperatures already reaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Nathan was wearing workout clothing: sweatpants, a crop-top over a sports bra and running shoes.

The Team Leader then told Nathan she needed to follow their commands or leave the communal lounge and go to the Tiger Air only lounge

Nathan said:

“I noted the caucasian woman sitting opposite me wore a very short strapless dress but was left to her own devices.”

“It seemed to me that Team Leader was in the mood to bully a woman of colour who looks a lot younger than my 33 years of age, and is therefore an easy target.”

Feeling humiliated and angry, Nathan acquiesced to their demands.

Jetstar Airlines, however, argued it is their mission to be inclusive so they believe what was said to Nathan could not be discriminatory. They did not have an explanation for why only Nathan’s clothing was called out publicly.

A Jetstar representative said:

“We don’t tolerate discrimination in any form and our teams dispute allegations they were acting in this way.”

Nathan pursued the issue when she returned to Melbourne, this time contacting the airlineÂ’s online customer service. She sent the representative a picture of what she was wearing the day of her flight and a retelling of what had occurred.

Nathan—who kept screenshots of the DM—said:

“There were some very odd responses from their online complaints handling team, which only added salt to the wound.”

The representative responded to the picture of her outfit: 

“I have checked the photo and I think you are very beautiful, your boyfriend must be very lucky to have you…”

When Nathan asked about whether the Jetstar team followed standard practices, the representative responded:

“I can understand that you were not engaging in a sexual activity, but then again I believe that this kind of body language must be done in a private place.”

Serah Nathan/Facebook


GIPHY

Nathan shared what happened on Facebook as well as Twitter…

…but because it’s the internet…

…people called out Nathan for a lack of class while keeping their responses super classy.

Regardless of public opinion, Jetstar Airlines apologized to Nathan for their online customer service portal responses. They also ensured an investigation is still open regarding what happened in the airport.

In an official statement, Jetstar said:

“We are speaking to our airport team to better understand what happened.”

“We apologize to Serah for the manner in which her query was handled by our online customer service representative which fell well short of the standards we expect.”

The book I Am Not a Slut: Slut-Shaming in the Age of the Internet is available here.

McKenzie Lynn Tozan

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan lives in North Chicago, where she works as a poet, freelance writer, and editor. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, and her BA in English from Indiana University South Bend. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, the James Franco Review, Thank You for Swallowing, and elsewhere; and her essays and book reviews have appeared with Memoir Mixtapes, The Rumpus, BookPage, and Motherly, among others. When she's not reading and writing, she's in her garden or spending time with her family. For more, visit www.mckenzielynntozan.com.