Women around the world are still being banned, criminalised, or shamed for wearing clothes that are either too “revealing” or that cover up too much.
There are numerous laws restricting what women can wear in countries ranging from France to Uganda. But it’s not just laws that dictate how women should dress; slut-shaming and the policing of girls’ school uniforms are also commonplace.
Here are the items of clothing that have caused trouble for women this year so far.
- In Uganda in February, women were banned from wearing of miniskirts. Some were even publicly undressed for wearing the garments. In response, 200 women protested in Kampala, the country’s capital, demanding the government stop sexualising their bodies.
- In England, more than 250 girls were removed from a school on the Isle of Wight in June because their skirts were too short. The headmaster said he wanted to prepare the students for the “world of work”.
- In March, a 13-year-old American girl and her classmates were informed by teachers that leggings are “too distracting to boys” in an educational environment.
- A school in Michigan banned leggings earlier this month for being “distracting” and encouraging girls to go out with “little to no clothing on”.
- In June, signs were spotted at the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing saying students were not allowed to wear “unacceptable clothing”, including “midriff-baring shirts, short-shorts, short skirts, low-rise pants, [and] low-cut shirts that reveal cleavage”.
- In Canada in May, a high school disciplined students for wearing shorts considered “inappropriate”.
- Also in May, another Canadian student was told in front of her class that she would have to change out of her short shorts or face suspension from school. She responded by printing this poster (below) and sticking it up around the school.
- A pastor in Kenya banned his female congregants from wearing underwear to church as he believed it prevented them from feeling closer to God, it was reported in February.
- Students in Canada were reportedly pulled from their classes in May “for having visible bra straps or wearing sleeveless tops.” The dress code read: “Shirts may be sleeveless but must have a thick strap that covers undergarments.”
- In February, Kazakhstan police detained women for protesting against a ban on lace underwear. Women wore lace underwear on their head to protest.
- In the UK, the BBC banned female children’s TV presenters from wearing red lipstick or looking “too sexy” on air, it was revealed in January.
9. Prom dresses and clothing
- In North Carolina in April, a senior was asked to leave her prom because she wore trousers.
- In Virginia in May, a 17-year-old girl was shamed because her prom dress didn’t fit the “fingertip length” dress code requirement. Dads chaperoning the event had her removed in case she gave boys “impure thoughts”.
- A school in Florida last month forced a new 15-year-old student to wear a “shame suit” after deciding that her dress was too short.
- France’s burqa ban was upheld by the European Court of Human Rights in July.
- In Australia, it was announced this month that Muslim women wearing niqabs could be forced to sit in glass enclosures instead of regular public galleries in Federal parliament. As Mariam Veiszadeh writes: “There’s a distinct irony in the suggestion that women who are allegedly forced to wear a face covering should be forced not to wear it.”
- In response to laws that target hijabs, burqas, and niqabs, Australian women are now taking selfies in hijabs to “stand in solidarity with Australian Muslim women”.
- Last month, a Qatar women’s basketball team were forced to forfeit a match after they were told that wearing a hijab was not allowed.