Here come the men in skirts
In India, Turkey and Iran, men stand up for women’s rights, in miniskirts and lipstick
‘Being a woman is not humiliating and should not be considered punishment.’ Kurdish men took to Facebook to say this loud and clear in 2013, after news broke of an Iranian judge ordering a man accused of domestic abuse to parade in public wearing women’s clothes. The page, called Kurd Men For Equality, saw participation from men all over the nation, old and young. One protestor said: “For many years, women in my country have been side-by-side with men, wearing men’s clothes, struggling. Tonight I am happy and honored to wear women’s clothes and be even a small part of the rightful struggle of people to express gratitude and excellence to the women of my country.”
Ever wonder why when women dress like men—big shoulders, dark colours, brogues—it’s considered power dressing, but when men dress like women it’s considered a downgrade? Like, why would you trade down, bro?
To make a point—specifically, the point that clothes are not an invitation for humiliation, rape or murder. Three viral protests managed this to great effect. The most recent one was in reaction to the brutal murder of the 20-year-old Özgecan Aslan in Turkey this month. When Aslan resisted a bus driver who allegedly attempted to rape her, he beat her with an iron pipe and stabbed her to death.
The news shook Turkey, where violence against women is on the rise, but it was in Azerbaijan that men decided to stand up in solidarity with Aslan in a really visible way—they took to Twitter and Facebook in miniskirts. The hashtag #ozgecanicinminietekgiy—‘wear a miniskirt for Özgecan Aslan’—caught the imagination of men in Turkey too and soon protestors took to the streets in Istanbul and Ankara to march alongside women’s groups fighting for justice for Aslan.
Why miniskirts? A Facebook page for protestors says: “If a miniskirt is responsible for everything, if [wearing] a miniskirt means immorality and unchastity, if a woman who wears a miniskirt is sending an invitation about what will happen to her, then we are also sending an invitation!”
Click through to see how men in India and Iran joined the fight in skirts
In a Hyderabad university where two students have been charged with the rape of a third, the proposed solution has been to restrict the movement of female students on campus and forbid their entry into male dorms. Last November, students of EFLU cross-dressed in protest of this illogical crackdown, standing in solidarity with each other and against the authorities' branding of all male students as "potential rapists" and all women as "sluts".