Work in a newsroom long enough and you start to see certain types of story cropping up all the time.
Case in point: bans on specific articles of clothing. This week a government minister in Indonesia sparked public debate by calling for miniskirts to be outlawed. Indonesia has recently introduced tough new anti-pornography laws and the minister argued that miniskirts were, well, pornographic.
Poor miniskirts. They came under attack in 2010 too, by officials in an Italian beach town. Officials there demanded that miniskirts not be too mini. It was only one of more than forty decorum measures in the town.
Legal restrictions on apparel are often grounded in moral or religious arguments. But religious garb itself is also a common source of contention. For instance, last year France introduced a controversial ban on wearing the burqa.
Sometimes things go the other way and restrictions on religious articles of clothing are lifted, as happened earlier this month. International soccer authorities removed a ban on Muslim women players wearing the hijab.
And by the way, it’s not only overseas that officials are keen to regulate apparel. Here’s a fresh story about low-riding pants from Indiana.
Anyway, back to the miniskirts. The Indonesian government minister pushing for the ban this week was quoted as saying it was necessary “because of the things they make men do.”
That got me wondering. If miniskirts really are that powerful, if they really do hold some extraordinary power over men, just imagine what men might be persuaded to do. Here’s a little thought experiment, courtesy of members of New York’s People’s Improv Theater, in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan. Sort of.