Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Short and Long of Dress Codes

There is a bar at the corner of the street near my workplace. This bar recently threw itself open for 'quick lunches'. So in I sauntered, there were a few guys sitting on bar stools. The place itself had a funky decor with twirly chairs and swirly colors. I took one look at the waitresses and it took me a while to come to my senses. I guess they believed in parsimony in dressing. Add this to the fact that they were attractive women. And those long black boots - How comfortable would it be to wear those in Summer? Guessing that this was how bars had uniforms for their female employees, I left. And yes, the lunch was quick which was besides the point.

My head seemed to scream "Discrimination" through every nerve cell .I am not interested in the argument, "Well they wear it what is your problem?".The point here is I percieve this as using a woman waitress as a sex object to pander to the male psyche. The issue is that employers can get away with this easily as long as the employee does not object. The first time I faced this issue of discrimination was in high school when I cut my hair very short. There was a rule in our school that the girls had to wear ribbons and hence had to wear long hair and fold it up in plaits and the boys were not allowed to grow their hair. And I had to rebel and rebel I did. Even today time and again Anna University or Some medical college or Fake Kurta Clad Intellectuals stirs up this women-dress/culture issue.

Upon searching for the legality behind these enforced stereotypes and discriminations I was surprised at what I found.And What courts decided as late as 2005. The ridiculousness of these arguments literally makes one's blood boil. So just because someone does something off work and is used to it they can be made to do the same at the workplace.This is like saying, All women employees should make coffee since they anyway make coffee at home (ok let's make it Rasam, I don't make the coffee at home)

I am surprised that this News from Australia did not catch a lot of attention. This is relatively older and happened in 2005. From a legal framework as to what constitutes discrimination and what does not here is another article. In another case, a woman employee was forced to wear makeup.And they could do nothing about it. I am completely appalled at reading this. I know that the entertainment industry relies on this given the penchant of nightclubs and places like hooters catering typically to their male clientele.
This is from the same societies who classify porn and prostitution as illegal and make criminals out of people. So these kind of dress codes, night clubs which sell and peddle soft titillation is completely legal while prostitution is not. Who draws these lines?

Be it in attitudes to cheerleading or television anchoring or shows like Beauty and the Geek it does show that women are still far away from true sexual equality.And that is why some of us still go around calling ourselves feminists.