The thin end of the wedge

According to an article published in the Sydney Morning Herald today:

The Indonesian religious affairs minister is going to ban mini-skirts because they cause men to rape women.

I have no idea where to even start with this non-sense really.  Except to say that this is an excellent example of why allowing fundamentalist religious minorities to have power in any society is always a bad thing for women (it will also be bad for gay men, lesbians, and any other minority that catches the attention of these people)..

Bad for their liberty, bad for their health, bad for their education, and definitely bad for their sexuality.

In Indonesia the problem is fundamentalist Islam, in the US it’s fundamentalist Christianity.  In Australia we are largely immune to these forces, but it has been with a growing sense of dismay in recent times that I have watched people who I have considered intelligent, educated, and open minded fall down the rabbit hole of extreme religious views and start spouting nonsense that is on a par with Indonesia’s obsession with seeing women’s knees.

So I think that it’s worth remembering that the liberties that we have in this country (like my ability to work as a male escort for women) are very hard won – my industry is illegal in almost all of the US, yes that’s right, being an escort is illegal in United States of America.

Politicians like Fred Nile and Tony Abbott and religious leaders like (like George Pell) put their beliefs and personal ambitions before the good of the public.  I doubt that would ever lead to mini-skirts being banned in this country, but there are many rights that we take for granted (like equality and sexual health services), or even the choice to pay for sex if we want to that they would erode or make illegal.

These men (for it is usually men interpreting “god’s word”) have had only modest power in my lifetime and it has been waining.  But as our economy comes under pressure and people start looking around them for answers and comfort in hard times there is a nasty tendency to fall back on religion.  So while people riot in Indonesia over the price of fuel and food, their fundamentalist religious leaders talk of laws to ban mini-skirts (with all of the implied baggage of inequality, blaming the victim, and giving men a legal excuse for their bad behavior).

Lets not let this sort of thing happen in our country.  It’s unpopular and difficult to challenge vocal people who have strong religious beliefs, but it’s necessary.  It also creates an environment where we can have sensible discussions about sex and sexuality, for young people and for adults alike.

And that’s much more important than mini-skirts.


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