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Dec 27 2012

Swaziland bans ‘rape-provoking’ miniskirts

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.

13 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Women in burkas still get raped.

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Ah, but were they made of CONCRETE?

  3. 3
    Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao

    Ah, touché.

  4. 4
    Sercee

    Sooo…. they’re willing to spend the resources to put people in jail, but they don’t want to put the rapists in jail, they want to put people the rapists theoretically want to rape in jail? What happens to the rapists? What happens if they catch a rapist (like that would happen) who raped someone who wasn’t wearing her “come hither” uniform?

  5. 5
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    I’m waiting for the usual crowd to shout “misandrist” at this.
    Only I won’t be holding my breath on account of appreciating being alive.

  6. 6
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]
    “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.

    You can defeat the suspected problem by allowing anyone to walk around mostly unclothed.

  7. 7
    Jay

    ““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?”

    This is exactly identical to male gaze theory, which originated as a way to critique films and is now treated as scientific truth by Septic Feminists.

  8. 8
    lorn

    The problem isn’t the clothing. The problem is that some men think that an erection entitles them to put their penis into other people. This is a classic case of a personal problem, gee what do I do with this sudden stiffness, being projected out and becoming a societal problem. Most sane societies figure a personal problem is best handled at a personal level. It is suggested that the gentleman with the problem, barring the presence of a helpful and willing wife/girlfriend/lover, find a private place to rub one out or take a cold shower.

    Of course if the society is caught in an shame cycle over sex/masturbation/homosexuality the usually adequate alternatives are not there, the society as a whole is burdened with the problem, and, as expected, the women and children pay the biggest price to square that circle.

    Why do so many major problems boil down to approach/avoidance conflicts over toilet training and masturbation?

  9. 9
    Keith Harwood

    Problem easily solved. All women to wear chastity belts, with death penalty for anyone making duplicate keys.

  10. 10
    grumpyoldfart

    According to the article:

    Offenders face a six-month jail term under the ban, which invokes a colonial criminal act dating back to 1889.

    So it’s an obsolete law that is already on the books. Let’s see what that law actually says. Let’s see how it holds up after the lawyers run it through a test case.
    `

    Could it be that the police are looking for a pay rise, but instead of going on strike, they have decided to “work to regulations” (the law is on the books, we must enforce it).
    `

    Maybe not. Maybe Swaziland really is a country ruled by ratbags – but it’s not a new law, it’s the revival of an old colonial law. I have the feeling this story has been subject to a fair bit of spin. [I could be wrong]

  11. 11
    Brad

    We can judge this without necessarily being colonial because the “rape-provoking” part is a testable claim that can examine skeptically. The people who pushed for and think it will work are presumably demonstrably wrong, though it could be the case that in Swaziland certain dress is actually a risk-factor, but if we the available data suggests mode of dress is irrelevant, we can guiltlessly criticize the fuck out of this dumbass law.

    @5,Giliell, the law or the commentary?

  12. 12
    gwen

    GREATgrandmothers in burquas get raped. But I guess they need to walk around in metal mesh clothing too, but it will ALWAYS be the fault of the WOMAN… blech.

  13. 13
    eucliwood

    Wtf??? They’re going to put people in jail because rapists would have less clothing to remove?

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