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When wearing a sarong is so wrong, double standards rule

Colette Fitzpatrick


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Colette Fitzpatrick  Photo: Mark Condren

Colette Fitzpatrick Photo: Mark Condren

Colette Fitzpatrick Photo: Mark Condren

Another week, another classic example of the double standards afforded to men and women when it comes to what they wear.

Independent MEP Luke 'Ming' Flanagan was seen in a video conference for a European Parliament committee meeting on agriculture on Tuesday wearing a shirt, but very little on his bottom half.

He filmed his live stream in portrait, accidentally showing off his bare legs, which he was seen rubbing while sitting on a bed.

EU interpreters, translating his statement, could be heard stifling laughter as the Midlands North West representative spoke.

The committee's chair, German MEP Norbert Lins, smiled as he thanked Flanagan for his contribution. Nothing more, nothing less.

Imagine if that had been a female MEP, sitting there with just a shirt on, on her bed, and very little on her bottom half as she absent-mindedly rubbed her legs.

What do you think would have happened?

Given the double standards when it comes to what women wear and how they dress, you'd have to think someone would have said something.

They would have stopped the meeting. They would have told her that she wasn't dressed appropriately. Would she mind just flipping her camera around? Was she aware of how she looked?

Senator Lynn Ruane was reminded of those double standards when she was told by a staff member of Lidl that she couldn't enter the store because she was dressed "inappropriately".

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She tweeted that she was turned away for wearing a swimsuit and sarong despite "men walking around in vests showing just as much skin".

"As if me wearing a swimsuit for a top in the summer is any different to any other little tank top I'd wear. Get a grip," she wrote.

Schools all over the world regularly make headlines for sending girls home for wearing outfits that show their collarbones, bra straps or knees.

A receptionist was sent home from a PWC office in the UK after refusing to wear heels.

Well-groomed and smart in a business setting always seems to imply at least a "little make-up" and heels for women.

Photos did the rounds of armed French police confronting a woman on a beach and making her remove some of her clothing as part of a controversial ban on burkinis.

Three cops, with guns, standing over her.

Dress codes seem to be based on either not distracting men or "entertaining" them, like cheerleaders and ring girls.

Society still tells women to dress a certain way. Wear too little and it's a problem; cover up and it's a problem.

Let's stop telling them just what to wear.


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