Council seeks to end trouser ban

Paris city council has asked the city’s police authority to overturn an old law on women wearing men’s clothes

28 September 2010

PARIS city council has voted to ask the Préfecture de Police officially to repeal a 211-year-old law banning women from wearing trousers.

The law, which dates from the Revolution says that “any woman wanting to dress in men’s clothes must present herself at the Préfecture de Police to gain permission, which can only be given if she has a certificate from a health officer”.

This was modified in 1892 and 1909, when laws were passed permitting it as long as the women was riding a horse or a bicycle at the time.

Meanwhile, the sight of two young Muslim women parading through Paris wearing niqabs and mini skirts has simultaneously upset and delighted passersby.

Niqabitch secoue Paris from NiqaBitch on Vimeo.

They were protesting at France's burqa ban, as an attack on what people could wear in public.

The duo, calling themselves Niqabitch, said on site rue89: "We're not looking to attack or degrade the image of Muslims, everyone has their thing.

"The point that has angered us, beyond the general injustice of this law, is the hypocrisy of all those MPs wrapping themselves in the sacred flag of feminism under the pretext of defending the rights of women.

"That's great for them, thanks. But do we really need to ban the burqa to remind people that it's against the law to force people to do things against their will?

"Telling us what we can wear now becomes the role of the state, as if they don't have anything better to do."

They added: "The public seemed to like the look. The police were a partly annoyed, partly enthusiastic, and the fireman honked at us."

Should people be allowed to wear what they want? Should France ban the burqa? Should France stop women wearing trousers?
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Photo: Photoskat -

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