When male Londoners see the bare legs of the females living in London, neither the British royal family members nor the commoners mind it. But when Prince William’s wife Kate Middleton’s legs were snapped and most of the legs were seen by the world it is taken otherwise. The incident was of great media hype in London in between October and November 2012. Then it went against ethics. What is the ethics? What is the source of ethics? Is there any dress code which is regulated neither by the British or any other govt, the UN or any other international campaigning or advocacy group or agency working on universal dress code? Is it anything very important for the humanity? How much importance does a dress of a human being carry? How much of the male or female arms should be seen? Which parts of male or female body should be visible to public sight and which parts shouldn’t? What about the secret parts of human body and the areas adjacent to them? Waist, nape and abdomen? What about the tight dress that can be termed as otherwise nudity— beautifully accenting the sensitive human organs? Some pen pundits of capitalism may rule out the problem of revealing dress and its immediate fallout but it is really a big problem across the countries when marriages are collapsing on flimsy ground, nuptial love is being replaced by illicit affair and to cap it all aids is getting epidemic across the continents. The number of divorces and single parents is ever increasing. Man-woman relations and family bond with values are on constant decline. Violence against women, sexual assault, and sexual abuse of children are undoubtedly marring the beauty of the once pristine planet. If anyone asks me which two are the greatest challenges faced by humanity? I will put poverty due to plundering of wealth first and social decadence then. I know it will be harder for the paid and pet pundits of capitalism to validate the ‘necessity’ of revealing parts of female reproductive organs to the public. What is the use of designing dresses which will expose much of human body whereas a dress is made to cover one’s body down to legs down to ankle?
When such short dresses kicked off
Most probably one of the reasons why women started wearing revealing dress may be referred for fashion at best and to attract male partners at worst. Europe experienced deaths of 50 to 70 million people in World War II mostly males. There was shortage of males for the females just after the war catastrophe. So to attract male partners females experiencing shortage of males started wearing shorter dress as polygamy is not recognised legally. The same thing happened in war-ravaged Sri Lanka where females found shortage of males. Consequently Colombo legalized polygamy which is practised in predominantly Muslim countries when necessary.
What are the outcomes of revealing dress?
Sexual provocation is a must for sexual indulgence. Provocation most likely comes from dress, attitude, and sight of secret parts of opposite sex. Two opposite sexes coming, sitting or working close together may cross the minds of each other. Even one provocative smile may arouse the very biological urge in a man and woman particularly those who are young. In a very narrow sense dress carries a little weight for the world. But in broader point of view it involves many things including civility, behavior, rationality, personality, beauty, smartness and even the religious belief as well as cultural diversity while nudity invokes obscene, uncivilized, animalistic behavior in human. At a time of deregulation of dress code it is really hard to side with those who want to curtail freedom of dressing on the one hand. It is equally hard and thought-provoking to give more freedom to the already existing the as-you-like-it type of dress code where the sky’s the limit.
Regulating or deregulating dress?
Regulation or deregulation is a great dilemma in every section of life. Some find pleasure in deregulation while some don’t. Rather the latter find regulation pleasant. Law, ethics, code of conduct, taboo, morality, norm, guidelines, religion — all belong to our human society and parts of regulation. Absence of all the aforesaid ideas means deregulation. Where there is no regulation about the dressing people dress whatever they like. It is not enshrined anywhere in any constitution that how much of your legs can be shown or should be seen by others. Similarly should your belly button be exposed to fleeting sights or how much revealing your upper parts of your body? How much topless should reveal the top of your body that appeals to the opposite sex? How much revealing your backless should be? Does the women attires with long slits as worn one by the Duchess of Cambridge should only be talked about? Doesn’t a revealing male dress appeal to the female? So far as we know there are few countries in the world which regulate the revealing robes, be it of men or women, except those handfuls in Asia . Governments across the globe don’t dare to regulate dress because rights watchdogs will cry foul. These rights organizations have no concrete suggestions about putting an end to sexual exploitation recurrently taking places across the globe. Most probably these watchdogs are paid for crying foul not for suggesting or drafting an international dress code.
Rape and skin-tights
We are focusing on dress issue at a time when rape has drawn the media attention most, particularly the rapes in bus in Indian capital New Delhi and in Manikganj near Bangladesh capital Dhaka on 24/01/2013. Many social experts and political figures there have linked rapes with revealing or short dresses, movement of women alone at night, immoral attitude of the men, provocative attitude from women’s part etc. Can rape be linked with revealing or tight dresses? In fact a dress designer can sexualize a garment in which the wearer looks sexually attractive. One can argue that rape can’t be directly linked only with see-through garments but it can’t be denied that a sexualized dress plays the primary and fundamental role in sexual harassment. Though not directly, revealing dresses excite most males, be they good or bad. Good males control themselves moving the eyes away from the objects of sexual arousal but bad guys can’t because they always look for the chance to have new sexual relationship. The latter with a roving eye always look for the chances to satiate their sexual adventure. This becomes possible if the woman is alone. Teasing becomes easy if the victim is in a deserted area. If found a woman in relatively dark area such assailants often take chance of sexual assault. Sometimes crowded places like cinema hall, market places, night clubs open up chances for dirty mind in dishonoring women.
Is pre-emptive attack on eve-teaser possible?
What can protect women from molestation or violence or harassment? How do the capitalists treat women? Do they consider them as an object of enjoyment or as honorable fellow human? If animality prevails over reason and morality males must lust after the females. Capitalist leaders of filthy minds can draft law to protect women from sexual harassment but can hardly resist temptation of enjoying new sexual relation in secret. You can’t be tamed a dirty mind by harsher law.
Is it possible for the lawmen in countries to resort to pre-emptive attack on the male looking at a woman lasciviously? The laws across the world in most cases are made even harsher to contain sexual harassment. If they aren’t they can be even more stringent in the countries where the laws are lax.
Lascivious and immoral males get easily attracted to the females in revealing and short dresses. Biological urge usually unite a male and a female together to form a family through marriage— a social contract and what Francis Bacon termed nuptial love in his essay ‘Of Marriage and Single Life’. He said nuptial love makes mankind. So, natural and biological urge cannot be justified as a way of sexual harassment let alone rape and violence. What is the solution to sexual assault on women? But it is evident that women wearing knee long dresses with headgear and long sleeves are less victimized. The benefits of loose clothing includes greater freedom of movement, proper covering of your secret parts on top of all it will serve the primary purpose of dress.
An American court
What an American court recently decided about an employee in revealing dress is really conspicuous. After working as a dental assistant for ten years, Melissa Nelson was fired for being too “irresistible” and a “threat” to her employer’s marriage.
“We do think the Iowa Supreme Court got it completely right,” said Stuart Cochrane, an attorney for James Knight. “Our position has always been Mrs. Nelson was never terminated because of her gender, she was terminated because of concerns her behavior was not appropriate in the workplace. She’s an attractive lady. Dr. Knight found her behavior and dress to be inappropriate.” The two never had a sexual relationship or sought one, according to court documents, however in the final year of Nelson’s employment, Knight began to make comments about her clothing being too tight or distracting. When Nelson’s husband tried to reason with Knight, the dentist told him he “feared he would have an affair with her down the road if he did not fire her.”
What major religions say about dress?
According to Old Testament (NIV, Deuteronomy 22:5) ‘a woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the LORD your God detests anyone who does this. In the holy Quran Allah says ‘… iaguddu min absarihim yahfaju furujahum jalika ajhkalahum..’ …they should guard their eyes, safeguard their chastity and that is the way of purity… Cross-clothing also amounts to one of the 70 major sins enlisted by Imam Ajjahabi in his great work ‘Kabira Gonah’. Again Allah says… ya bani adam khuju jhinatakum fi kulli masajid… O sons of Adam (peace be upon him) wear modest dress in mosques…
Though other major religions hardly define and clearly dress code but most of them prefer long and modest dresses. For women these old religions suggest to keep their heads covered in most cases they don’t obey except praying and professing.
Mind, eye and loose clothes
Three things together can stop sexual violence against women. If mind, which is positively molded religious values, socio-moral code of conduct and academically taught ethics, is not dirty or filthy, he or she will not resort to adultery. If one avoids seeing nudity, sexually provocative scenes and other immoral objects, he or she might be able to refrain from such amoral activities. Marriage in proper time with no delay is also a must to retain the chastity. Companies and multinational corporates cashing in on pornography and common trends of young generations must stop and the UN should act to this end. Last but not the least dresses must be modest, loose, comfortable and devoid of sexual provocations. Blending of night dress, evening dress, morning dress, dresses of sunbathing must end. Both liberals and conservative govts across the countries should agree on a sustainable dress code, putting an end to exploiting or recruiting females in promoting products and brands. Self-censoring and accountability to one’s creator may help redress the pervasive use of revealing dresses and its possible fallouts.