Lawmakers in Indonesia can’t function because of …THE MINISKIRT?!

“Don’t wear miniskirts to work” – That seems like an unspoken internal company policy of sorts, but what sort of message and rationale comes across to the public when the parliament itself drafts a rule to ban female staff in the House from wearing “sexy” outfits to work. Somehow, the parliament is convinced that male lawmakers are unable to think properly and solve the country’s problems with all the sexiness around them.

The rule on its own is offensive enough without the House of Representative Speaker Marzuki Alie’s comments:

“We know there have been a lot of rape cases and other immoral acts recently, and this is because women aren’t wearing appropriate clothes. Women wearing inappropriate clothes arouse men, so it needs to be stopped. You know what men are like — provocative clothing will make them do things.”

This only adds to the fuel after a controversy surrounding a series of minivan rape cases in Jakarta. Any women who commute would be seriously worried after hearing such news. Instead of alleviating the fears of the public and proposing better solutions and safer public transport, the leaders of the country stepped forward by offering insensitive comments such as this (also insensitive comments by comedians such as Olga):

“They must adjust to their surrounding environment so that they don’t provoke people to commit unwanted acts. Imagine if someone on board a mikrolet (minivan) sits wearing a mini-skirt, you would get fidgety.”

-Fauzi Bowo, Jakarta governor

Photo Credits: Fouchard Photography

Yes, governor, I am sure that those men sitting and waiting inside the minivan had not planned beforehand to rape someone. Please don’t blame your incompetency on women. Indonesia is one of the more conservatively dressed countries in the modern world. Women don’t even wear a bathing suit to the beach or the hot spring, they wear long jeans and T-shirt. Some women don’t even swim and content to watching their husbands and children swim. I can count the number of times I have seen a woman in public wearing a mini skirt in one hand. And even if I do see one, it is usually paired with long pants or leggings underneath.

You can put money in front of a honest man and he will look for the owner who lost it. Find the dishonest man and he will plot to rob someone without thinking twice. The only difference is the law. If the law and better public policies made it harder for the dishonest man to commit crimes, then he will think twice. So dear lawmakers, instead of fantasizing about women in miniskirts so much that you can’t stop your nosebleed and have to propose such a ridiculous law, please start making better laws instead.

Pangeran has written an amazing post on this issue; it is just too brilliant for words. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives are struggling to come up with the definition of proper and improper clothing. Below is a little debate on twitter regarding the issue. It has reached a point where I have decided that when a person’s mind is made up an issue, what’s the point? You can be covered up from head to toe and if your father/brother/friend/stranger decides to rape you and is stronger, they will. So I shall just focus on constructive actions instead. (In the meantime, martial arts classes for women are getting more popular, good thing)

[View the story “Indonesia’s proposed clothing ban” on Storify]