Policing behaviour is a justified act, there are a lot of people in a country that need behaviour alterations. But is having strict policing of fashion in certain countries justified?
Some countries give new meaning to the term “fashion police,” not only by dictating what their citizens wear with a strict dress code but also enforcing the measures with fines and imprisonment. In 2007, police arrested a Saudi Arabia woman after videos of her wearing a short skirt and crop-top surfaced online. It was said that the outfit had violated the country’s strict social codes but police eventually released her without charges.
Here are some countries with strict dress code according to the World Economic Forum:
The country’s religion-based dress code requires women to cover themselves and wear abayas, or full-length and all-black robes. Some women, however, choose not to cover their heads, but still wear abayas. However, visiting politicians and heads of state often do not observe the dress code.
These restrictions are not only applicable to women. In 2009, men were also prosecuted for breaking social norms. Saudi Arabia authorities arrested 67 men for cross dressing and behaving like women at a party.
Women in Uganda are faced with arrests if they are seen wearing skirts or shorts above their knees, following the legislation that has banned “indecent dressing”.
According to BBC, interpretations of the law banning miniskirts and revealing clothing led to public attacks on women in 2014. Then, men reportedly stripped women naked, ripping their clothes. However, protest was made against this ban as citizens argued that the law had allowed men to abuse women.
Sudanese officials govern based on interpretations of Islamic Sharia law, which has been known to result in arrests of Sudanese woman for “public order” offenses.
In 2014, nine Sudanese women faced punishments for being seen wearing western-style leggings and slacks.
These offences also are not absolutely gender centric. In 2010, some male models were convicted with indecency and fined for wearing makeup.
France introduced the “burqa ban” in 2010, a law that made it illegal for people to cover their faces in public. Authorities began enforcing the law in April 2011, resulting in costly penalties and legal fees for those who choose to defy the dress code regulation.
The law aimed at motorcycle helmets to hoods to balaclava, the law has been criticized towards Muslim women, who wear burqas and niqabs for religious reasons. A case brought up against this law was rejected by the European court of law stating “uncovered faces encourage citizens to live together”.
“Let’s trim our hair in accordance with the socialist lifestyle” – so ran the title of a five-part series on North Korean state TV, exhorting citizens to choose one of several officially sanctioned haircuts. Officials require hair to be kept no longer than 2 to 3 inches long, and it must be trimmed every 15 days, according to the World Economic Forum.
Also, North Koreans won’t be allowed to wear skinny jeans, ripped jeans, have nose or ear piercings or wear T-shirts with slogans. Spikey and dyed hair have also been outlawed.