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Let's Not Skirt the Issue of Dress Codes at Clubs

June 17, 1991

Attorney Gloria Allred raises an interesting point . . . health and safety problems related to dress requirements. Requiring women to wear skirts and high heels raises significant safety questions.

Because traditional notions of fashion developed in a sex-discriminatory context, women's clothing tends to serve two basic purposes--to restrict women's mobility and to contort and expose women's bodies for male viewing pleasure.

Skirts and high heels contort and expose, but they drastically limit women's mobility. Skirts and high heels make women easier and more likely targets for all crimes, including theft and rape. A person simply cannot move effectively in high heels and a skirt.

A woman's situation may be especially precarious in a high-rise office building. In the event of a fire or other emergency, women may die simply because they cannot make it down the stairs quickly enough. Amazingly, several women I know have attended high-rise safety lectures where they were told to wear high heels but bring flat shoes in case they have to run down the stairs. This means that when a fire breaks out, men run down the stairs and women change their shoes.

DAVID B. EZRA, Irvine

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