Women post swimwear photos to protest law on how to dress

  • Cambodia
  • Saturday, 08 Aug 2020

WOMEN in Cambodia have rallied on social media to condemn a proposed law governing the way people dress in public, including by posting images of themselves in swimwear and skimpy outfits, with a petition also set up to block the move.

Billed as necessary to preserve Cambodian tradition, the law would prohibit women from wearing anything deemed “too short” or “too see-through”.

It has drawn criticism for being vague and encouraging a culture of victim blaming.

The draft legislation, which will take effect next year if approved by several government ministries and the national assembly, would also ban men from going out shirtless in the socially conservative South-East Asian country.

“Congrats, we’re going back to 1960s,” artist Lisa Mam posted on Facebook.

Painters, filmmakers, writers and musicians were among those criticising the law, with some questioning the role of the ministry for women’s affairs as restrictions on women’s appearance increase.

In recent years, actresses and singers have been increasingly targeted by the government over their attire, with some facing bans on performing.

There was a public outcry when a woman was jailed for six months in April on pornography and indecent exposure charges for wearing

“provocative” outfits while selling clothes during a Facebook livestream session.

But news of the proposed law had taken the discussion to a new level, said Eng Chandy, a programme manager at the Gender and Development for Cambodia charity.

“It is rare for a draft law to be shared like this, giving us the chance to discuss it as a society,” she said.

“The reaction on social media is very positive, as people from all parts of society are talking about gender equality.”

An online petition condemning the proposed law had almost 14,000 signatures as of Thursday, to the surprise of its author, recent high school graduate Tan Molika.

“Originally, I had no plans with the petition other than to raise awareness,” Molika said.

“Turns out that everyone is so against it to the point where I’ve gotten a few requests for me to submit the petition to the government.” — Reuters

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swimwear , skimpy outfits , petition , dress


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