Have a ponder on this one while I’m out at work this morning…I know this topic is going to cause controversy, but I’m going to go ahead with it anyway.
On my BBC News app yesterday I read about a young lady, Gina, and her sister standing in a crowd at the British Summer Time music festival in London’s Hyde Park on a hot day in July this year. A photo shows Gina wearing a long-sleeved top and a very short skirt barely covering her genitals. Her sister was more conservatively dressed in a long black skirt which reached to her mid-calf.
As the sisters stood listening to a band, a man standing nearby in the crowd offered them some chips. Gina accepted. The man then asked her lots of questions and looked her up and down, laughing about her to his friend. He then brushed up against her, and without her knowing put his phone between her legs and took a photo up her skirt. Gina saw the photo out of the corner of her eye and knew it was her as he laughingly showed the result to his friend.
Gina grabbed the phone and ran towards the security team. The man followed her through the crowd and ran into the team screaming for his phone back and lying that he hadn’t taken the picture. The police were called, and one of the police told Gina that she should be able to go to a festival in 30 degree heat and wear a skirt without worrying about what might happen. They checked the photo, and because it was not ‘graphic’, as Gina was wearing underwear, they informed her there was not much they could do about it. The police made the man delete the picture and closed the case. However, her case was re-opened when Gina set up a petition to amend the law and make ‘upskirt’ photography a sexual offence, just like it is in Scotland. There was another photo of Gina at a similar festival the following week…wearing exactly the same skirt.
My opinion is that of course Gina should feel free to wear a skirt at a festival, but is she asking for trouble wearing a skirt that barely covers her genitals? Interestingly her sister, wearing the longer skirt, was not similarly affected. I’m not advocating a return to the Victorian neck-to-ankle clothing, but many young men at festivals can lose all inhibitions and can act quite feral if they are part of a group of males tanked up with copious amounts of alcohol. Most women are by nature less physically strong than men, and should be mindful of what could happen if they dress provocatively and give out the wrong signals. Many ‘gentlemen’ these days are unfortunately not the gentlemen of the 1950’s, doffing their hats to the ladies and giving up their seats to the ‘weaker sex’ on trains and buses.
Should Gina have worn the same skirt to another festival? As a teenager I wasn’t even allowed to go out with make-up on, let alone wearing a skirt in the shape of a bandage. My father used to point at me and say “You can wash that sh** off your face before you go!” In my opinion Gina should have learned a valuable lesson and covered up a bit more. Boys will be boys, and girls have to be a bit more careful!
What do you think?