The long and short of the miniskirt debate

By Anonymous Khuluma Afrika Contributor

The mini-skirt saga in which a hapless woman was stripped naked by overzealous touts has finally come to the end. This follows the sentencing of the two touts to an effective eight months in jail for their act.

The judgment and subsequent sentencing of the two, Blessing Chinodakufa and Marvell Kandemiri, sets a good precedence and protects the right of expression and freedom for women in public spaces.

While some sections of the society feel that the sentence should have been longer than eight months, it cannot be overemphasised that this is a landmark ruling which is not only a punishment of the two, but a lesson to abusive men that they cannot continue to abuse women with impunity.

The judgment also redefines society’s perception and attitudes towards women’s freedom of expression, through dressing, an area which for a long time had been marred by controversy. It also puts to rest the long raging debate on whether women can express themselves by wearing miniskirts, and still be safe from sexual violation.

For a long time debates on mini-skirts have always been quite emotive, with cultural vanguards arguing that the dress should be discouraged at all costs, because it is associated with prostitution and increases the chances of sexual abuse.

On the other hand, feminists and other like- minded people argue that there is nothing wrong in wearing a miniskirt, insisting that it is just like any other form of dressing, with an elevated hemline than the conventional dress.

Even Vice President Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa has since defended wearing of mini-skirts by women, saying it is their constitutional right, which should not be infringed upon.

For the vanguards of patriarchal society they should not view the sentencing of the two touts as an affront of African culture and a promotion of indecency.

They should instead see the judgment as a challenge to the patriarchal ideology that encourages men to have unfettered control over women’s bodies in a violent way.