Men can’t sit next to unaccompanied children on Virgin Airlines Australia, according to the policy handed to firefighter Johnny McGirr.
Whether you spell it “paedophile” or “pedophile,” it’s a dirty word. Yet airlines are calling half their adult customers potential child molesters when they maintain policies preventing unaccompanied minors from being seated next to adult male airline customers. Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow reported on firefighter Johnny McGirr being asked to move from his seat for precisely this reason, after McGirr wrote about it on Rant Nation. A stewardess on the Sydney to Brisbane flight asked a young woman to change places with McGirr because he “wasn’t allowed to sit next to the children. That was the explanation given.”
“It was an uncomfortable situation and I felt ashamed which was a weird feeling because I hadn’t done anything wrong,” McGirr writes.
Doctorow blames the way men are still seen as suspicious in the presence of children on the media repeatedly blaring “stranger danger” news articles when the real danger of child abuse usually lurks in the home, not with a random stranger on a commercial flight. McGirr wonders if internet culture has taken us so far from reality that we no longer recognize what is a genuine threat.
What do you think? Is this a sexist and unfair policy?