Fri | Apr 26, 2019

Letter of the Day | Obsession with dress a mark of misogyny

Published:Monday | August 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM


I totally agree with the prime minister's decision to suspend the ban on sleeveless attire at government buildings. How does not wearing sleeves impact how one does business or the nature of the business one does with these entities? One is able to wear sleeveless dresses to church, so the wearing of such attire should be a non-issue.

I understand modesty, but are these organisations in the business of control, or are they there to provide service to the public? Too many people run these organisations as if the dress code should reflect their personal preferences, styles, religious values, and the bid to control women and how they believe they should present themselves.

I was once downtown, at the Ministry of National Security's fingerprint record office, when a lady, about 60 years old, came to pick up her record. She wore a dress that was modest, with cap sleeves. She had travelled from Westmoreland to Kingston. She was not admitted into the building, even though she begged and pleaded. She was told to return the next day.

My heart broke for her over such a stupid rule. She could have been my mother, so I asked for the supervisor, explained the situation, and urged him to explore how he would feel if someone made his mother or sister spend money unnecessarily because of such a nonsensical rule. I argued that there must be an exception to policy.

He relented, and allowed her to collect her documents. Common sense is not common, and we need commonsensical rules and interpretation of rules.




On one occasion, I was trying to get my mother's birth certificate. I sweat a lot, as summertime in Jamaica is extremely hot. I had on a sleeveless top, and was told that I had to buy a T-shirt to cover up before I could be admitted. I raised hell and was admitted inside. Crazy! I need sleeves to pick up a form, fill it out, and pay the applicable fee?

On another occasion, I was entering The Mico University College to drop something off for a friend's wife. I was sweating like crazy, and had on a sleeveless top, and I was told that I couldn't enter. I was berated, laughed at, and turned away - all for not wearing sleeves? Insane!

Merinos, tank tops, tube tops, extremely short shorts, and revealing attire should be prohibited, but sleeveless dresses/tops are not the enemy. Is having bare arms a crime in Jamaica? Misogyny is not dead.