Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Pants For Parisiennes

George Sand (in trousers) listening to Chopin

From the telegraph

who knew?

The rule banning women from dressing like men – namely by wearing trousers - was first introduced in 1800 by Paris' police chief and has survived repeated attempts to repeal it.

The 1800 rule stipulated than any Parisienne wishing to dress like a man "must present herself to Paris' main police station to obtain authorisation".

Did anyone tell George Sand about this law?

In 1892 it was slightly relaxed thanks to an amendment which said trousers were permitted "as long as the woman is holding the reins of a horse".

Then in 1909, the decree was further watered down when an extra clause was added to allow women in trousers on condition they were "on a bicycle or holding it by the handlebars".
In 1969, amid a global movement towards gender equality, the Paris council asked the city's police chief to bin the decree. His response was: "It is unwise to change texts which foreseen or unforeseen variations in fashion can return to the fore."
Can someone have really said that in 1969?
The latest attempt to remove the outmoded rule was in 2003, when a Right-wing MP from President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party wrote to the minister in charge of gender equality. The minister's response was: "Disuse is sometimes more efficient than (state) intervention in adapting the law to changing morays."

As Evelyne Pisier, a law professor whose book Le Droit des Femmes (The Rights of Women) unearthed the curious decree points out, given that trousers are compulsory for Parisian policewoman, they are all breaking the law.

Should arcane laws like this one be repealed or just stay on the books, but not be upheld, because of historical significance.
And isn't it just so French to have a law which everyone routinely ignores.
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The Townhouselady said...

Well, I can't speak for France but here in the states there's always going to be some loon trying to prove a case with some obscure law they've pulled out from under a rock in a cave.

I vaguely remember the no sodomy law in one state being pulled up during the gay rights discussions.

Jill said...

I think there is still a Texas law about not carrying wire cutters...cattle rustling.

Belle de Ville said...

I can't help but be amazed at how much energy men have put into trying to control women's behavior and attitude...and how much women have flaunted their oversight.

Christa Weil said...

Could be a holdover from the trial of Joan of Arc, whom they ultimately went after for "biblically incorrect" dressing.

What I've always wondered about a gusset is this: is the epic historical worldwide freakout it's caused due to increased mobility for women or accessed denied to men?

BOBBY said...

It's not Chopin playing the piano, it's Liszt. At this time of his life, he was in love with Marie D'Agoult seating near him down the floor.

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