It’s almost unbelievable but true that it was less than three weeks ago that France overturned a law of more than 200 years that disallowed women from wearing trousers. At almost the same time, female flight attendants working for a South Korean based airline won their battle to have the airline’s strict dress code rules relaxed which prohibited them from wearing pants.
The French law required women to ask police for special permission to “dress as men” in Paris, or risk being taken into custody. In 1892 and 1909 the rule was amended to allow women to wear trousers, “if the woman is holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse.” The law was abolished on January 31 this year.
Meanwhile in Seoul, 3,400 female flight attendants at Asiana Airlines won their fight to have the carrier’s strict dress code relaxed which included ban on wearing trousers.
Some of us can take wearing clothes of our choice for granted but for many it is not always a free choice.
When a young women was raped on a bus in New Delhi recently which sparked waves of protests in the Indian capital, there were some politicians and officials who suggested what she was wearing on the fateful night may have contributed to the men’s behavior towards her. There are some local politicians who think that sexual harassment and violence against women will go away if they are covered from head to toe, another pathetic attempt to justify the animalistic behavior of some men.
But more surprising is the memo put out by CBS network for those attending the recently concluded Grammy awards. The memo reads as follows: –
Date: February 5, 2013, 10:39:56 PM EST
Subject: 55th GRAMMYS: Standard And Practice Wardrobe Advisory
CBS Program Practices advises that all talent appearing on camera please adhere to Network policy concerning wardrobe.
Please be sure that buttocks and female breasts are adequately covered. Thong type costumes are problematic. Please avoid exposing bare fleshy under curves of the buttocks and buttock crack. Bare sides or under curvature of the breasts is also problematic. Please avoid sheer see-through clothing that could possibly expose female breast nipples. Please be sure the genital region is adequately covered so that there is no visible “puffy” bare skin exposure. Please avoid commercial identification of actual brand name products on T-shirts. Foreign language on wardrobe will need to be cleared. OBSCENITY OR PARTIALLY SEEN OBSCENITY ON WARDROBE IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR BROADCAST. This as well, pertains to audience members that appear on camera. Finally, The Network requests that any organized cause visibly spelled out on talent’s wardrobe be avoided. This would include lapel pins or any other form of accessory.
The long and short of it is that women should decide what they want to wear while being aware of the sensibilities that have to be respected according to where they choose to go while wearing a particular piece of clothing. What women choose to put on their bodies is a personal choice and laws that specify what they should wear is an infringement on their rights. Along with the other rights that people fight for, the right to dress as people choose to do too should be highlighted.
We don’t hear anyone telling men what to wear, do we??