Italian mayor seeks ban on miniskirts

Police in the beach town of Castellammare di Stabia, Italy, have been ordered to fine women who wear very short miniskirts or who show too much cleavage

The mayor of Castellammare di Stabia, south of Naples in Italy, has ordered police in the beach town to fine women who wear extremely short miniskirts or show too much cleavage.

Luigi Bobbio, who was elected on Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom party ticket, won a vote to curb women’s fashion choices. Officers now have the power to hand out €300 (£265) fines to offenders on the spot.

‘They won’t need to carry out checks up close,’ says Bobbio. ‘One glance will be enough to judge.’ He is adamant that the scheme does not constitute a full ban on miniskirts. He points out that they will be allowed, providing they cover women’s underwear.

The proposal is one of many he has designed to help ‘restore urban decorum and facilitate better civil coexistence’. Others include a ban on swearing and a prohibition on playing football in public parks.

But the new rule, which has been approved by the town council, has prompted outrage from local centre-left politicians, who mounted a sit-in outside the town hall and called the Bobbio administration ‘chauvinistic’.

‘By equating women’s clothing with urban decorum, this measure implies women are no more than benches or hedges,’ says councillor Angela Cortese.

The seaside town is not the first place to take a dim view of short hemlines. In September 2008, Uganda’s ethics and integrity minister called for a ban on miniskirts, claiming they were dangerous as they could distract drivers’ eyes from the road.

Shortlived bans have also been introduced in parts of Russia. The prohibition at a teachers’ college in the Siberian city of Kemerovo was challenged by lawyers who said the ban was ‘an infringement of equality and human rights’.

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