Sunday, August 24, 2008

More on Mini-Skirts

A university in Mexico's Sinaloa province has banned mini-skirts, claiming that the new dress code will protect women from an atmosphere of violence. As Guanabee explains:
Director of Studies, Héctor Melesio Cuen Ojeda explained that with such a violent atmosphere existing in Sinaloa—the state spawned the country’s most fearsome drug cartel and is home to a bloody, ongoing battle with neighboring cartels in Tijuana— wearing such short skirts is “an invitation to be attacked or bothered, not only within the university facilities, but also on the outside.” Also discussed was the need to cover tattoos and remove face piercings.
Of course, we know that this type of 'lady clothes cause violence' logic isn't confined to Mexico, but common throughout the world. The problem with the ban on sexy as a protective device is that it simply doesn't work - in order to protect women, we have to change the attitude that abusing women is acceptable, we must stop victim-blaming, and we have to create a safe society where everyone can be comfortable walking around their universities and neighborhoods. This type of clothing ban hurts women in the long-run by promoting the idea that women can be responsible for the violence against them simply by being found attractive by an attacker. Perhaps another protest is in order.

You can read the original article, in Spanish, at El Universal.


frau sally benz said...

Even though I shouldn't be surprised by the fact that women are once again being blamed for attacks ON THEM, I can never understand how this makes sense in people's minds.

Basically, men are complete idiots led only by their sexual impulses, and instead of learning how to keep that in check, women have to anticipate it by changing their way of life. Nice.

I can only hope that a day will come when I can wear whatever I want wherever I want and not worry about being attacked.

Susan said...

I got into this with my Muslim boss once. He was advocating reducing violent crime against young women by use of "education in modesty".

With a big grin, I agreed with him: "You're absolutely right, Ali! Let's teach young men a culture of modesty. Let's teach them to regard women with respect, as equals, not as targets. Let's teach them not to think of sex as a predatory act. Let's teach them not to assume that a woman is 'asking for it' or 'deserves it' by the way she dresses or acts."

He fell oddly silent at that point.

Habladora said...

I had essentially the same conversation with a frat boy from South Carolina a couple of days ago, this 'modest women don't get harrassed' myth is really common. I've been cat-called while wearing a parka and knit hat (with a ball on top!) before, so clearly there is no type of attire that can completely shield a woman from unwanted attention. I think it is simply easier to try to control women's dress and feel like society is safer than to do the things that would actually increase security for everyone.

daedalus2u said...

The problem with this idea of how to prevent sexual assault against women is that it hinges on always blaming women who get sexually assaulted for being “too sexy”.

In any group of individuals, there will always be one who is "most sexiest" and one who is "least sexiest". The ranking of individuals as to “sexiness” is in the eye of the beholder. By this “logic”, anyone who is sexually assaulted, male, female, adult, child, is “at fault” for being “too sexy”.

By the same “logic”, anyone who is a victim of theft is “at fault” for being “too rich”. Car theft, for having too nice a car. Arson, for having too flammable a house.

daedalus2u said...

While reading the entry on gaming, I made a connection to computer security and the concept of security through obscurity.

This is essentially what those suggesting that women wear non-sexy clothes to avoid sexual assault are proposing. By wearing non-sexy clothes, they will obscure the fact that under those clothes is a sexy woman. That has to fool at least 0.00001% of the population, right? The only people it would fool are those who wouldn’t assault a woman even if she was naked.

Charity Childs-Gevero said...

I'm a mini skirt lover myself. But at the same time, I know that there are many different cultures in the world.

For example, mostly in Westernized countries, men are used to seeing women in mini skirts since they were little boys. But for example in Asian countries and especially in very religious Asian countries, girls are brought up in a different way, and different religions teach in different ways, too.

I lived in a little town in Asia once upon a time, and my classmates would go wild over just seeing a little bit of thigh when the wind would blow our high school uniform skirts up! To them, it was uncommon, and what a sight to see it was! And if a girl were to walk around in a mini skirt all over the campus, just imagine what a riot that would cause!

I think that it's also good if we can look into the different aspects of clothing and appropriateness with regards to cultures and religion. Afterall, there isn't just ONE way of thinking and there isn't just ONE culture and there isn't just ONE way that a woman should be, all over the world! :-)

And just because a woman is a certain way, it doesn't mean that she shouldn't think of the appropriateness of her clothing in relation to culture. Go to California and wear a bikini. Go to a small town in Asia and wear modest clothing.

It's not even about conforming. It's about being mannerly and showing that you are educated enough to understand and respect the various ways of many people all over the world. :-)

Habladora said...

I don't think that many people would argue against the idea that there's a right and a wrong sort of dress for different environments or cultures. That's not a problem, unless non-conformity or imperfect conformity to the dress code is being used as an excuse to victimize someone. Also, mini-skirts are common in Mexico, so what's happening here isn't that certain women are dressing inappropriately for the culture, but that rules are being made about their dress in order to 'keep them safe,' which can't work and only promotes this type of 'well, but she was wearing a mini!' type of attitude.