Sunday, May 2, 2010
To those who say that study of women's clothing is a trivial pursuit, I counter with the evidence that it is actually of the very first interest politically and culturally. A great many people are very interested in telling women what not to wear, and not just in places that are repressive regimes. Western governments roundly criticized the Taliban for requiring that women wear burqas and noiseless shoes, but here in the United States there are people who constantly enforce their own restrictive moral views on other people's wardrobes.
Just consider the school districts that said that they would paddle girls who wore "inappropriate" clothing to prom. Let's even review our corporate work dress codes, which mandate no sleeveless tops, no shorts and no bare legs, no "too-short" skirts. (My daughter and I knew that Dana Walsh was suspicious on 24, when she was at work wearing a sleeveless top.) Most of these strictures involve what women should wear. We are very concerned that women dress "appropriately".(Because incorrectly dressed women drive men mad with lust, so they they are not responsible for their actions. That's the historical reasoning. I was told as a girl to dress modestly, or boys would get the "wrong idea" about me. I'm sure you were too. In rape trials the defense still sometimes tries to show that the victim was dressed suggestively.) These Clothing and Morals Police will even apply their strict code to history. Just this week Virginia Attorney General covered up the Goddess on Virginia's State Seal. As Mr. Hunting Creek observed, "Ken wants to be the only boob in Richmond."
What examples have you seen lately of social control through wardrobe enforcement?