Today news outlets around the world are covering a ban that the Indonesian government has put on women and their attire. Any woman caught wearing pants, a tight skirt or a mini-skirt will be apprehended and given a more appropriate skirt to wear. Authorities in the Aceh province are passing out 20,000 long skirts and have outlawed stores from selling tight pants and skirts.
The interesting thing to me in all of this is the fact that there is no criterion for what constitutes a tight pair of pants. It is up to the individual authority to decide in a pair of pants is inappropriate. If rules like this are going to be enforced due to the religious beliefs of the region, there need to be clear definitions in place so women know when they are breaking the law.
Additionally, according to most reports it seems pants, in general are seen as wrong on women. The AP is reporting that 18 women riding motorbikes were stopped and made to change out of their jeans into long skirts. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to ride on a motorbike or bicycle in a skirt; but let me tell you it is neither comfortable nor safe. Let alone the fact that depending upon the skirt’s length it may not even be modest.
Although, interestingly, this law applies only to Muslim women living in the area. Foreigners living there are exempt from the law, but authorities are asking that outsiders respect their criterion for dress.
I suppose, it is my American mentality, but this news item really grates on me. How can a government impose an undefined dress code on its women? Why are the women’s rights being usurped in favor of long skirts? This law takes a single grain of truth, the need the dress according to a women’s true dignity, and then distorts it to enslave…. Well, in my opinion anyway.
I’m interested to hear what you all think of this. Leave me a comment.
(pic from thejakartaglobe.com)