What Works Assignment #9

News media today is very progressive with a desire to keep up with what is current and what is trending. In recent years, I have noticed an increase in focus on gender and sexuality within the media, which I believe mimics society’s trend of drifting towards being more modern and inclusive. Just today, I was scrolling through many stories on several news outlets when I stumbled across an article that really baffled me. The article from The Washington Post, titled “Two girls barred from United Flight for wearing leggings”, discussed how a United Airline’s agent refused to let several women and girls onto a plane because they were wearing leggings, which the agent had constituted as the passengers not being “properly clothed”. There has been a huge uproar on social media regarding this incident because many people feel that the policy is very sexist and singles out women, thus making it a gender stereotyping issue.

Despite the controversy surrounding the actions of United Airlines, I think that The Washington Post and the author, Luz Lazo, did and effective job of portraying the arbitrary actions of the airline and the gender issues that came from those actions. In this case, the newspaper didn’t really have a choice on which side was right and which one was wrong because the public basically decided that via social media. Lazo did a lot of solid reporting and aggregated some solid sources from social media in order to gain the perspective of some fellow passengers that were there. I always think that social media is such a good deal when trying to gage how society is perceiving an event or an issue because you can just type in a keyword and immediately see what everyone is talking about. Lazo thoroughly utilized social media for almost all of her sources, which is why I question the credibility of this article because social media tends to blow everything way out of proportion. I liked that she used it, but I feel like this story also needed some primary sources, like a statement from United Airlines or an agent or a passenger that had witnessed the incident. If I had done the reporting I would’ve tried to get more credibility by gathering some primary sources and I also would’ve looked into United’s past issues with dress code violations.

In conclusion, I thought that this article was one of a several examples of how gender and sexuality is presented in the print media. The Washington Post and Luz Lazo did a great job of aggregating sources from social media, but I think they might have over done it. The article really lacked any credible primary sources or any data on previous instances, both of which would’ve have given the article more credibility. If I could’ve written the article I would’ve tried to interview someone from United Airlines or a passenger on the flight or just an average person on the street in order to gain some more perspective. Issues, like this one, appear in the media almost everyday and I think that issues of gender and sexuality are a hot topic in most newsrooms today. It is unfortunate that issues like this still occur in 2017, but, as can be seen via social media, society stands behind the women who were victimized by United Airline’s dress code.


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