Tue, Sep 27, 2005 - Page 8 News List

Leaders should get a grip

By Kevin Larson

Recently I read that Taiwan's first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) criticized the all-women pop-band F4's choice of swimming attire, claiming it was "a source of societal chaos." ("The politics of pop," Sept. 23, page 3) Coming from the mouth of a leader I found her choice of words shocking and very ill-informed. At the very least it smacked of the "same old song and dance" mentality that has plagued people seeking personal freedom -- especially of expression -- everywhere around the world. The body-beautiful and the clothing it wears should be celebrated, not hidden and somehow made to feel ashamed of what it is.

I would like anyone with a sense of self-responsibility to explain to me how the women's choice of clothing could be a cause of any chaos. To say their clothing, or lack thereof, would be a source of social strife is to say the "beholder" assumes no responsibility for his or her own behavior.

Wu's statement sounded more like an invitation to the Taliban and their burqa designers -- who cover women, literally, from head to toe -- to come here and implement their draconian clothing laws.

A head of state from the Middle East once met US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice in America, and later told the media that he was "uncomfortable" in her presence because of the knee-length dress she wore. He was uncomfortable because he could see her ... uh, erm, dare I say it? Knees!

These uncomfortable people are leaders of nations. It's more than worrisome to know that their thoughts and opinions are influenced by what people wear.

Kevin Larson


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