Monday, April 9, 2012

Skirting the Issue of Skirts

Given a perverse desire among the young women of Indonesia to experience rape at some point in life, as obviated by a recalcitrant insistence on wearing short skirts, and thereby rendering their persons generally rape-able, religious affairs minister Suryadharma Ali has come to the rescue of the weaker sex by issuing a call for a law to prohibit such enticing abbreviations, including this under the anti-pornography initiative recently launched by the President. It is clearly these two problems -- pornography and miniskirts -- that are causing Indonesians far and wide to suffer -- oh, as well as tobacco use -- and so the government and its ministers have taken bold steps to address the issues, leaving corruption, graft and poverty for another day. First things first, right?

This is the same Suryadharma Ali, by the way, who found no need for his ministry to become involved in religious strife between Muslims and Christians in Bogor, Java, in regard to the closedown of the Yasmin church. The matter did not fall under criterion of a religious concern. Apparently miniskirts do.

“We think that there should be a general criteria on how women should dress,” Suryadharma said. “For example, women’s skirts should pass their knees.” When questioned about considerations of cultural dress on some of the islands (Bali, for instance), or about the remainder of a woman’s attire apart from that which addresses the legs, Ali was unsure, but continued to insist on the knees as somehow particularly inappropriate. They simply must be covered. A consensus must be reached, he agreed, and much discussion must ensue regarding the various parts of a woman’s body and how inappropriate one is compared to another, but ultimately we know pornography when we see it (as represented by a knee, for instance). Or at least we men do. Women seem to be clueless overall, enslaved as they are by the naughtiness of the infidel fashion world, and therefore helpless to desist from causing men to pornographate (to coin a term). As always, they are in need our help and assistance (otherwise known as control).

But this all goes beyond the knee, and I’m sure Pak Ali is aware of the same. What about the rest of those lovely parts? How sinful is one compared to another? If the skirt henceforth is to extend below the knee, what about the rest of the leg left exposed? What about the ankle -- a particularly juicy part in Victorian times? What about the calf? What about the foot? Surely the minister has heard of the foot fetish. Shall we apply galoshes where the hem yet falls short? And then you have the whole question of the upper torso - the waist, the shoulders, the neck, the head. And what to do about those two prominences smack dab in the middle of that upper portion (which, to my mind anyway, render the mere knee rather poor and bony).

I’ve done some thinking on the subject. In fact it has kept me up at night, as perhaps it has done with the Minister as well. I’m thinking that hoop skirts and bloomers might be a partial fix. Nobody in a hoop skirt ever got raped, right? But here again, you still have the top half to consider, and those blasted lumps which practically shout for the attention of the otherwise unwilling and outraged man. Surely these are worse than knees! What to do? Can a lampshade be fashioned to solve the problem? Or perhaps a brown paper bag would do, the 12 gallon kind we used back home for the collection of garden and yard refuse. The NASA spacesuit is another thought, but this would likely prove less than humane in Indonesia’s sweltering heat.

And then one day the solution came on its own. I was riding my motorbike on the Bypass at the time, doing my best to ignore all the busoms and knees, when I noted a flatbed truck on my right, and the bed stacked in rows of three with large, pink, naked pigs. Each pig was individually wrapped in a tubular cage of wicker, such that all one could see, with any definition, was the snout at one end and the squiggly tail at the other. My initial thought was that this must be what weiner wraps look like before they are cooked down and served for breakfast; but then it struck me that such cages could be just as easily applied to females of the human variety, with maybe some colour added and a ribbon thrown in here and there. It suit’s the problem, it supplies a solution; and moreover it makes a fitting statement of its own -- for just as swine have long been taken to the market for slaughter, so have women to the various alters and courts of man-made hypocrisy and lies.

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