Remember last summer’s burkini ban in France, where police (!) in the South of France — as in, actual police, not fashion-police-y French beach-goers — demanded a woman take off a bathing suit a new law deemed too modest? (See Jane Eisner’s analysis.) Even more frighteningly (though neither is great…), in Mosul, Iraq, reports the New York Times, ISIS-enforced dress codes require women to cover every part of their bodies, a complicated procedure involving gloves and eye coverings.
Which leads me to the latest in womenswear-policing: Marcy Oster reports that Knesset aide Shaked Hasson was examined and detained by a guard and other workers for violating new rules regarding skirt length.
A Facebook photo of the outfit in question reveals… nothing all that revealing. She’s in office-wear. I don’t have the cultural relativism in me that would be necessary to sort out how the outfit in question could be classified as a “short skirt”, in Israel or anywhere else. Yes, different locales have different dress codes, but it would seem a rule about workplace-appropriate attire wouldn’t entirely converge with one about what to wear at a particularly traditional house of worship. Or, rather, it sure says something when they do! Although I did notice that the Knesset website makes no mention of requiring head-coverings of male visitors, which suggests a touch of good old sexism under the cover of piety at stake.
The Dangers of Lady Knees at the Knesset
Phoebe Maltz Bovy edits the Sisterhood, and can be reached at email@example.com. Her book, The Perils of “Privilege”, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in March 2017.