Clothing Regulations Are Just an Excuse to Control Women

In my country of India, the Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma recently asked foreign women to self-regulate their behavior when visiting “for their own safety.” New welcome kits given to all foreign arrivals, he said, now include safety advice for women such as advising them to not wear skirts or dresses.

Advice like this, which implies that sexual harassment and assault is caused by (and can be stopped by) clothing choices, is commonplace in India. From a very early age, girls are told to watch what they wear because they could draw unwanted attention to themselves. As a result, when they are in public spaces, women and girls are often very conscious about their clothing, often wondering is it too fitting, too loose, too long, too tight, neckline too deep, fabric too revealing, etc.

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