Cultural differences. I keep telling myself there are cultural differences and I should be careful not to judge. And yet, I can’t help but see this from anything but a humanist angle. And a bitter, snark-infused one at that. Swaziland, Africa’s last absolute monarchy, has banned miniskirts, and midriff-revealing tops, and will put anyone caught wearing them in jail for six months.
“The act of the rapist is made easy, because it would be easy to remove the half-cloth worn by the women,” police spokeswoman Wendy Hleta was quoted as saying in the Independent Online news.
The ban also applies to low-rise jeans. “They will be arrested,” she said.
The Royal Fashion Police, I guess. Wonder what peer-reviewed scientific evidence they used to build this entirely rational conclusion.
“I have read from the social networks that men and even other women have a tendency of ‘undressing people with their eyes’. That becomes easier when the clothes are hugging or are more revealing,” Hleta said.
Ohhh. Social networks. That’s LIKE data, right? So another argument of “men can’t help themselves but to rape if presented with a woman who isn’t wearing a foot thick concrete burka”. So progressive and evidence-based.
Of course, it’s good to be the king, and he doesn’t have to go through all the effort of undressing with his royal eyes. He gets a special festival where he gets to see the goods before he adds to his stable of wives.
However, the ban does not apply to traditional costumes worn by young women during ceremonies like the annual Reed Dance, where the ruling King Mswati III chooses a wife.
The flamboyant king already has 13 wives.
During the ceremony, beaded traditional skirts worn by young bare-breasted virgins only cover the front, leaving the back exposed. Underwear is not allowed.
Don’t expect local action to gain any traction either:
The law was enforced after a march by women and young girls last month calling for protection against a spate of rapes in the impoverished kingdom, almost entirely surrounded by South Africa.
According to the media report, the march was blocked by police.
But they’re totes listening to their people’s outcries against rape by telling women to put on more clothing and stop being so rape-worthy. As though wearing burlap head to toe would stop a rapist.