An Australian journalist was asked to leave the premises of the parliament because because her outfit was too revealing in that “you can allegedly see too much skin”. I naturally had to click on the article to see what scandalous clothing had prompted this decision. See-through blouse? Plunging neckline? Very short skirt? Here is a photograph of Patricia Karvelas in her offending outfit.
That’s it? So what exactly was the problem? Apparently the sleeves were too short. Yes indeedy, the sight of a woman’s upper arms may distract male MPs and even cause some to swoon.
This is even more ridiculous than the ban on ‘nighties’ in an Indian town. As critics have pointed out, Australia has had a female
prime minister Julia Bishop MP Julie Bishop who has worn sleeveless dresses to parliament without any problem. But that is not the point. The real problem is the strict policing of women’s clothing and the purely arbitrary decisions, almost always made exclusively by men, about what they can and cannot wear in public.
The late, great comedian and raconteur Dave Allen had a nice bit about this obsession with women having to cover certain parts of themselves and traces it back to the Genesis story.