Do We Need Fashion Police?

On July 3, Sudanese “morality police” burst into a restaurant arresting 18 women, and al-Hussein, for wearing what they morally deemed to be inappropriate clothes. A journalist and former employee of the U.N, al-Hussein is making her case public in hopes of bring attention to the plight of women in Sudan. In preparation of her sentencing, she even sent out 500 invitations encouraging people to come see her flogging for a crime people here would laugh at.

I’m not trying to make light of the situation in Sudan or any other religious country were such drastic measures are taken to ensure that women are hidden, but where is our “Fashion Police”?

There have been times when I’ve walked down the street behind young men who have their entire ass out (usually covered thinly by some boxers) for all the world to see. They waddle like ducks in order to keep their jeans from falling down or resort to holding the waist. Let’s face it, fellas you look a hot mess. I applauded when the baggy jeans went out of style but the skinny jeans are just as bad if not worse.

Men aren’t the only ones in need of the “fashion police”. Women, some of you walk out with more flesh exposed than a butcher’s shop. There is no reason why I should be seeing your ass crack and belly roll.

Here in our community, we dress this way because the opposite sex deems it acceptable.

In Muslim countries, like al-Hussein’s, women dress covered up because men deem that the only acceptable style. There, men also deem what is acceptable for men as well. Go figure.

If all women collective stopped talking to men whose behinds were out of their jeans men would start to cover them. If every man told women their dunlaps and overflowing boobs weren’t sexy women would cover them up.

There is a way to be enticing to suitors and there is a way to not walk around looking like a fool.

Seriously, there are some great social repercussions from seeing men and women dress the way they do here in America. What message about body image and self-worth are we sending to our peers and the younger generation?

Back in Sudan, al-Hussein has become the poster child for a woman’s right to fashion freedom. She quit her job with the U.N., which would have granted her immunity, in order to have her day in court. Protesters support her and some are calling for revisions to the Muslim government’s public order law.

Re-writing the law is just a step but perhaps the bigger issues is changing people’s minds about the woman’s body. Let’s face it, Al-Hussein isn’t being punished for what she was wearing but rather how she would make others feel.

Women often get punished for evoking a feeling in men. We’ve all heard “if she didn’t want to get raped she shouldn’t have been wearing that mini-skirt”. It’s as if people really believe that the only purpose of the woman’s body is to serve the needs of men.

This same sentiment dressing the please, is why women in America resort to showing the most skin to feel sexy and get attention. Is this the same reason why men walk around with their butts out? Ironically, we live in such a homophobic society yet we think nothing about young men walking around showing their asses to the masses.

Somewhere between women like al-Hussein being whipped for their attire and people here being encouraged to wear less material on their bodies, there needs to be a middle ground. I don’t honestly think law should enforce your personal style but dressing for the extreme (covered from head to toe vs bucky naked) isn’t working either.


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