So yesterday I saw an article that amused me, annoyed me, infuriated me and just intrigued me. So if you haven’t heard new legislation in Uganda has proposed a ban on indecent wear as part of new legislation meant to fight pronography and protect women.
“Any attire which exposes intimate parts of the human body, especially areas that are of erotic function, are outlawed. Anything above the knee is outlawed. If a woman wears a miniskirt, we will arrest her.” Simon Lukodo, the Ethics and integrity minster in Uganda.
In Uganda according to this man is anything above the knee and that women who wear provocative clothing are provoking attack. Men on the other hand would not be banned from wearing shorts because, as Lukodo explained, “Men are normally not the object of attraction; they are the ones who are provoked. They can go bare-chested on the beach, but would you allow your daughter to go bare-chested?”
This legislation has been met with disdain from Ugandan’s and international observers, who recalled when Idi Amin banned mini skirts, and a contend that the legislation is just another distraction from the real problems in Uganda.
Natabaalo Grace Natabaalo We have mini-hospitals that can’t cater 4 our needs, mini-roads with potholes, mini-funds for educ. Y focus on miniskirt? #savetheminiskirtAbout one week ago via TweetDeckFavoriteRetweetReply
More tweets from those supporting and opposing the legislation can be seen here.
I am going to leave the the obvious blame the victim mentality and governement distraction aside for other commentators, and recount for you my experience in Uganda with women and dress.
On this particular case I ask what is provocative? In America, for the most part, we have deicded that breast feeding(like in the picture I am using for this post) in public is too much nudity, while women can wear skirts that hardly cover anything. Western Feminists would give Ugandan’s a standing ovation for the breast feeding culture. There is no place (not even church) where a women won’t pull her breast out of her shirt to feed her child. Moreover she won’t even cover herself with a “modesty” cloth. Now this initially made me uncomfortable, just not being used to it happening. One friend commented, that as she was riding a bus a woman boarded, having clearly just finished breast feeding, her breast was still outside of her shirt, while she held her child in one arm and a bags in the other. As she came down the narrow aisle to find a seat, she turned, slapping my friend on the check with her breast. In this moment, as my friend realized that she was not bothered, she knew that she had truly acculturated to Ugandan culture. Would this new proposal also outlaw women breast feeding in public?
Today, in Ugandan news article, Simon Lukodo says that the legislation is not about the miniskirt though the legislation is still incredibly unclear and broad, to question whether it really is still about the miniskirt.