The stapes is the smallest bone in the human body – and that’s about the size of the radical feminist streak that runs through this very traditionalist body. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for women’s rights – the right to choose what happens to our bodies, the right to vote, the right to equal pay, equal opportunity, and equal treatment . But I draw the line at the notion that equality of the sexes in terms of physical and emotional strength and capacity can ever exist. Men and women will never be equal; we will always be different – and Amen to that. (And, for the cynics amongst you, as Timothy O’Leary pointed out: Women who seek to be equal to men lack ambition.)
Occasionally I come across situations that get my dander up, like the recent clothes row that’s going on at the University of Kaposvár. Ferenc Szávai, the university’s rector, has apparently introduced a swathe of rules that requires students to be neat and tidy every day (a stretch for some, admittedly) and will restrict what they can wear on campus. This has been met with topless protests and the disapprobation it deserves.
From my understanding (and I’m open to correction if I’m getting this wrong), Szávai’s rules decry the wearing of too much perfume, skirts that are too short, and décolletage that is too deep. I laughed out loud when I read this and immediately began to wonder how he plans to measure too much, too short, and too deep.
Yet apart from his desire to put an end to bare feet on campus, all the restrictions seems to be pointed at female students. There’s nothing that I can see asking the male fraternities not to wear too much aftershave, or to refrain from baring their midriffs in summer, or asking them to hike up their jeans and avoid a wanton display of underwear … or bum cheeks.
Admittedly there are times I see some of my sisterhood and wonder if they passed a mirror on their way to their front door, so little has been left to the imagination. But surely dress is a matter of personal choice and taste, an outward manifestation of style and personality. Such a pointless imposition of restrictive measures seems… well… pointless.
First published in the Budapest Times 25 October 2013.