Stop Policing Women’s Clothing

Melanie Delgado, Opinion Editor

I have run into a couple of videos on YouTube that showed social experiments in Indian communities. One of the main themes of these social experiments is how Indian citizens react to a woman being harassed in broad daylight. Many allowed or ignored the abuse. So, when I was searching for an article, I chose this one because I wanted to see what the Indian government officials are doing to provide security for it’s harassed citizens.

India’s tourism minister, Mahesh Sharma, suggested a dress code for women tourist going to India and of course, it received backlash. Every tourist will be given a welcome kit that lists the Do’s and Dont’s. Within those do’s and dont’s, wearing a skirt falls under the “dont’s.”

The government thought that by setting laws that involved rape crimes, including sexual assault, voyeurism and stalking, they would help victims. But, all that is perceived in the recognition of such crimes is that it’s hopeless and not necessarily direct actions to prevent the crimes. Critics, including myself, cannot shake the feeling that it’s just not enough. Are India’s efforts paying off?

Records show that India has a bad reputation for processing all crimes, not just sexual assaults. Although it can be easy to shift blame, India’s budget limits the action they can take against crimes. They have a shortage of forensic laboratories, few lawyers and judges, including a terrible police to citizen ratio. Under these circumstances, it can be hard to process any crime at all. So it’s needed not just for the law officials but bystanders to also help protect all victims.

Unfortunately, the dress code oppression does not stop at India. Just recently French police officers demanded that a muslim women remove part of her clothing. The incident took place in Nice beach in French Riviera, France, where many witnesses stood astonished. Following this women’s religious oppression, mayors in France started to implement regulations towards burkini usage. It can be understood that the roots of these oppressions are coming from the fear that was struck in French citizens due to recent terrorist attacks. However, it must be asked if the ends justify the means? Islamophobia is spreading like wildfire, and in the process laws and people’s rights are being thrown out the window. Is this just?

Following the Nice beach incident, France’s highest administrative court ruled that mayors do not have any authority to ban burkinis. One would think that the issue would end at that, but the mayors refused to abide by the law, and so, the oppression continues.

Clothing restrictions are merely an excuse created by oppressors to justify the unjustifiable; the failure to uphold the rights and freedom promised to all. What motivates the oppressors is not justice, but the ideas of discrimination anchored in their minds. At the end of the day, clothing restrictions are only a cover up for the misogynistic, discriminatory, and absurd feelings shared by absurd oppressors who happen to suffer from a superiority complex. Their restrictions on religious and personal expression is a direct reflection of their napolean complex which hopes to oppress others and gain power from weakening and demeaning others.