How Short Skirts Are Likely to Disrupt Public Order

Women walk with their dogs outside a commercial building in Phnom Penh on March 1, 2019. (Photo: AFP)

Last weekend, as I was strolling on the walkway along the confluence of the Four Arms, I passed a young couple who were walking, holding hands. Under the cloudy sky of that early morning, the atmosphere was gentle as if heaven was blessing those lovers.

I kept looking on fondly at them as they walked away. Until, suddenly, I noticed something that, up to that moment, I had failed to notice, being lost in thoughts of romance   



What did I see that made me wince, do you ask? The skirt. The young woman’s skirt was short, extremely short. 



Right away, scenes of apocalyptic social chaos were overlaid on the vision of this short skirt.



Because I had learned through the media that the government was planning, as part of a law to counter social disorder, to prohibit very short skirts in public space.



When I had heard this, I had wondered.



How do we measure a skirt to determine whether it’s too short? Do we measure from top to bottom or from the bottom up? From the calf, the knee, the top of the thigh? Is the offense based on centimeters or millimeters? Where do we do this on the spur of the moment?



And who will take steps to apply this measure and measure skirts?



The police, no doubt? A specialized body assigned to this task? Or will all the country’s public servants be able to take part in its implementation?   



Will it be squads of women who know all about skirts’ lengths that attract their men and therefore disrupt harmony in couples?



Or will it be squads of men who know a great deal about short skirts that disturb them and therefore disturb social order?   



If it is men, being in majority in law enforcement, one may be worried that, rather than keeping an eye on red lights or one-way streets or even criminals, they will be inclined to track down short skirts.  



This is why, in my opinion, by wanting to lengthen skirts, the authorities, as well intentioned as they are, concerned with social harmony and protecting virtuous national values, take measures of which they have not taken full measure.  



The more so that a number of young women eager to preserve their freedom of dressing as they wish may decide to shorten their skirts just to voice their displeasure.



While short skirts are rare on the streets, streets could get flooded with short skirts, which would require the mobilization of many law enforcement officers to implement the law.



What formidable chaos on the horizon! 



Wisdom cries out: Let’s not go to war against skirts.


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