Just when you thought the world was moving towards a more open mindset, you find out that women around the world are being punished, criminalised and shamed for wearing clothes that are deemed inappropriate by authorities, with restrictions in place from London to Khartoum.
A tuxedo in Louisiana
Looks like the south is at it again! A school in Louisiana told straight-A student Claudetteia Love that she was not allowed to wear a tuxedo to her high school prom. “[The head teacher] said that the faculty told him they weren’t going to work the prom if girls were going to wear tuxes,” her mother Geraldine Jackson told regional newspaper The News Star. “Those were his exact words: ‘Girls wear dresses and boys wear tuxes, and that’s the way it is’.”
The veil in France
The European Court of Human Rights upheld France’s ban on wearing the face veil. This angered civil rights groups across the continent. The law makes it illegal for anyone to cover the face in a public space. Normally aimed to balaclavas and helmets, critics say it is used to target Muslim women. “No matter what law is passed on the niqab, it will not stop me from wearing it,” Semaa Abdulwali wrote in The Guardian.“I don’t want to be controlled and told what I can and cannot wear: that is oppression.”
Miniskirts in Uganda
Just last year, the Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni signed an anti-pornography that banned women from dressing “indecently”. Dubbed ‘the mini skirt law’ by the local press, the legislation prevents women from revealing their thighs, breasts and buttocks. Campaigners say it has given men the excuse to criticise, humiliate and abuse women who don’t follow the rules. “Now people are more free to do it openly. They are going to judge women according to what they see as indecent because there are no parameters defined by law,” Rita Achiro, executive director of the Uganda Women’s Network told the BBC.
Lace underwear in Kazakhstan
Women protesting against a ban on lacy underwear were arrested in Kazakhstan a year ago. They were all taken in while wearing underwear on the heads and shouting: “Freedom to panties!”
Women in Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus have been denied the right to choose their underwear, after a “draconian trade ban” was introduced, prohibiting the import, production or sale of synthetic lace underwear. Officials advised women to wear more breathable fabrics, like cotton, for better vaginal health.
Red lipstick on the BBC
Television presenters on the BBC’s children’s television channel CBBC are now banned from wearing red lip stick on air because it may be too provocative. “We know that a lot of young girls will look at how our presenters are dressed, and they shouldn’t look too sexy,” said Melissa Hardinge, executive editor of CBBC Independents.
Cosmopolitan‘s Bridget March responded: ”While we applaud their concern, we don’t know if censoring women’s appearances is the way to fix it.”
Leggings in the United States
Republican lawmaker David Moore introduced a bill in February that would ban women from wearing “any device, costume, or covering that gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, anus region, or pubic hair region”. Rules like this one have emerged across the US, with several schools banning girls from wearing yoga pants and other tight-fitting clothing that could “distract” boys. These types of laws not only belittle women but, they send the message that women’s bodies are an “invitation for sexual aggression unless they cover up,” wrote Tara Culp-Ressler in Think Progress.
Trousers in Sudan
Women in Sudan can be arrested by police and sentenced to public flogging for wearing trousers or leaving their hair uncovered according to Amnesty International’s Amal Habani. The country’s public order laws are applied arbitrarily to the detriment of women and girls and fail to adhere to Sudan’s human rights obligations. In 2012, Habani was detained, beaten and tortured by police for demanding that Sudanese women be given the right to choose what they wear. Now that’s oppression at its finest.
Source: The Week