Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Watch Those Hemlines, Girls!

This was recently sent to me by a friend in the UK (thanks Rosie) as a story from the BBC website, and it's also been covered here in Uganda's own national press.

Uganda seeking miniskirt ban

The minister said wearing a miniskirt was akin to going naked
Uganda's ethics and integrity minister says miniskirts should be banned - because women wearing them distract drivers and cause traffic accidents.

Nsaba Buturo told journalists in Kampala that wearing a miniskirt was like walking naked in the streets.

"What's wrong with a miniskirt? You can cause an accident because some of our people are weak mentally," he said.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali in Kampala, the capital, said journalists found the minister's comments extremely funny.

Wearing a miniskirt should be regarded as "indecent", which would be punishable under Ugandan law, Mr Buturo said.

And he railed against the dangers facing those inadvertently distracted by short skirts.

"If you find a naked person you begin to concentrate on the make-up of that person and yet you are driving," he said.

"These days you hardly know who is a mother from a daughter, they are all naked."

Vice list

According to the minister, indecent dressing is just one of many vices facing Ugandan society.

"Theft and embezzlement of public funds, sub-standard service delivery, greed, infidelity, prostitution, homosexuality [and] sectarianism..." he said.

Earlier this year, Kampala's Makerere University decided to impose a dress code for women at the institution, our reporter says.

The miniskirt and tight trousers ban has yet to be implemented, but our correspondent sought the opinions of women on campus about the minister's opinions.

"If one wants to wear a miniskirt, it's ok. If another wants to put on a long skirt, then that's ok," one woman said.

But others had more sympathy with Mr Buturo.

"I think skimpy things are not good. We are keeping the dignity of Africa as ladies and we have to cover ourselves up," one woman, called Sharon, told the BBC.

Cultural differences aside, the best bit for me is the Vice List. The fact that wearing a mini skirt is compared to other vices such as corruption and so on (although there are a few items on that list equally undeserving of inclusion - homosexuality remains hugely controversial over here, not to mention illegal, as you can see).

In our local papers here, the list was extended and wearing a mini skirt was just one of the many ethical problems we had to deal with, including "Corruption and war".

Yep, shorten that hemline and you may as well be invading Poland.

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