Throughout history, women have been continuously subject to unfair rules and regulations that dictate what we ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ wear. For centuries ago, men are controlling women for what to wear. Even in the 21st century, women in many parts of the world are forced to follow the dress-code that men want them to follow.
From sending women to jail for wearing jeans to women in Iran being beaten by a stranger for wearing loose hijab, to a rapist being acquitted for raping a teenager just because the victim was wearing jeans; shows how for centuries men are obsessed with the ways how women cover themselves.
Here are some of the heartbreaking images across the centuries to make you realize how men have been controlling women what to wear.
1921-22: WOMEN BEING JAILED, HARASSED, SLUT-SHAMED FOR WEARING BIKINI ON BEACH
In Chicago, Illinois, a woman is being arrested for defying a Chicago edict banning “abbreviated bathing suits” on beaches.
Chicago policewomen checking for violations of the bathing suit-length laws
1938: CALIFORNIA: WOMEN WENT TO JAIL FOR WEARING SLACKS IN COURTROOM
Kindergarten teacher Helen Hulick made Los Angeles court history — and struck a blow for women’s fashion — in 1938. Hulick arrived in downtown L.A. court to testify against two burglary suspects. But the courtroom drama immediately shifted to the slacks she was wearing. Judge Arthur S. Guerin rescheduled her testimony and ordered her to wear a dress next time. The next day, Hulick showed up in slacks. Judge Guerin held her in contempt. She was given a five-day sentence and sent to jail.
1951: WOMAN SENT TO JAIL FOR WEARING PANTS IN PUBLIC
In 1951, Luisa Capetillo became the first Puerto Rican woman to ever wear pants in public. Due to this, it’s been said that she was stopped and arrested for “causing a scandal.”
1998: AN ITALIAN JUDGE SET A RAPIST FREE BECAUSE HIS VICTIM WORE TIGHT JEANS
When a 45-year-old driving instructor was accused of raping an 18-year-old girl in 1992, he was convicted and sentenced. Then six years later, the Italian Supreme Court overturned the conviction – because his victim was wearing tight jeans. The defense argued that she must have helped the instructor remove her jeans – making the act consensual. The Italian Supreme Court said ‘it is nearly impossible to slip off tight jeans even partly without the active collaboration of the person who is wearing them.’
1998: TEENAGER ARRESTED & TORTURED FOR WEARING MINISKIRT
Raassi ended up in prison and suffered torture for around five days because she wore a miniskirt to a friend’s house party. She was also sentenced to 40 lashes for wearing a miniskirt. She was only 16 years old then.
2009: WOMEN ARE ARRESTED FOR WEARING TROUSERS
Thirteen women – including journalist Lubna al-Hussein – were arrested in Khartoum, Sudan, because they wore trousers in public. Ten women were punished with a fine of 250 Sudanese pounds and received ten lashes. Lubna was fined $200, but not flogged.
2021: POLITICIAN SHAMED WOMEN FOR WEARING RIPPED JEANS
Recently, Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat joined the long list of those who have blamed women’s clothing for disrupting Indian values. His insensitive and victim-shaming comment about women who wear ripped jeans has made many men and women across the country uncomfortable.
Kainchi se sanskaar (culture by scissors) — showing bare knees, wearing ripped denim and looking like rich kids — these are the values being given now. All of this, in a mad race of westernisation. While the western world follows us, doing yoga … covering their body properly. And we run towards nudity. If this kind of woman goes out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to the society, to our kids? It all starts at home. – Uttarakhand CM, Tirath Singh Rawat
At IFORHER, we are in awe of these courageous souls who fought against the regressive and patriarchal society for the future generations of women. Like them, we hope women of today will keep fighting for the women of tomorrow!