MAGAZINE
Contents: Fashion rules
16 Dec 2016
BY SALLY GIMSON

Contributors include Lily Cole, Daphne Selfe, Linda Grant, Bibi Russell, Katy Werlin, Jang Jin-sung, Maggie Alderson and Eliza Vitri Handayani

The latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine looks at fashion and how people both express freedom through what they wear. But it also looks at how women in particular have their freedom of expression curtailed by rigid dress codes – whether they are women in Saudi Arabia who have to wear abayas by law or women in the UK and Canada whose employers insist they wear high heels shoes.

Models Lily Cole and Daphne Selfe discuss why changes in society are reflected in the clothes we (are allowed) to wear. Maggie Alderson, former editor of Elle describes how she was arrested for being a punk rocker in the 1970s, while Eliza Vitri Handayani talks about how punks in Indonesia today are still persecuted for what they wear and how they look. Nigerian model and journalist Wana Udobang riffs on fashion in Nigeria and how she was snubbed by bouncers and waiters at a wedding for wearing the wrong clothes.

Ismail Einashe describes how traditional dress can be life-threatening for Oromos in Ethiopa, while Magela Baudoin delves into class and ethnic gradations in Bolivia and reveals that the way some women dress means they are discriminated against. Novelist Linda Grant describes how her Jewish immigrant parents used the way they dressed to try and fit into middle-class British society. Meanwhile Katy Werlin gives a historical perspective as she discusses how the 18th century French revolutionaries,  known as sans-culottes, celebrated their peasant clothes as they overthrew the aristocratic regime.

Martin Rowson brings another perspective to fashion in his new cartoon which depicts a catwalk on which despots show off their latest costumes. Spot President-elect Donald Trump sporting a furry thong. Trump is also in US media expert Eric Alterman’s sights as he describes why journalists in the USA believe the new president will seek to challenge media freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. Turkish researchers Burak Bilgehan Özpek and Başak Yavcan investigate how the Turkish government is using state advertising to control the media.

We also publish an interview with Turkish intellectual, linguist and  founder of a mathematics village Sevan Nişanyan. Our reporter communicated with him using notes smuggled out from the prison where he is serving a 16-year sentence on charges connected with freedom of speech. The culture section includes poems from a former North Korean propagandist Jang Jin-sung who defected to the South and now runs a website smuggling news out of North Korea. We also carry poems about the extraordinariness of everyday life from Brazilian author Paulo Scott and a never before seen English translation of a short story by legendary Argentine writer Haroldo Conti.

SPECIAL REPORT: FASHION RULES

Dressing to oppress: why dress codes and freedom clash

The censors’ new clothes, by Rachael Jolley: Freedom is not about the amount of clothing you put on or take off, but about having the choice to do so

Fashion police, by Natasha Joseph: Some feel the miniskirt is a threat to the state in Uganda and women are getting attacked for wearing it

Wearing a T-shirt got me arrested, by
 Maggie Alderson: Wearing punk clothes in 1970s London was dangerous, but now British teenagers can wear anything

Colour bars, by Magela Baudoin: Traditional clothing is still a sign of social status in Bolivia and wearing such clothes often leads to discrimination

Models of freedom, by Bibi Russell: Bangladeshi women are now vital to the economy but they are still restricted in their dress

The big cover-up, by Laura Silvia Battaglia: Women in Saudi Arabia and Yemen test how far they can customise what they are allowed to wear. Translation by Lucinda Byatt

Rebel with a totally fashionable cause, by Wana Udobang: A Nigerian model refuses to conform to stifling social expectations and sees the consequences

Stripsearch cartoon, by Martin Rowson: A fetching new range of despotwear

Ethiopia in crisis, closes down news, by Ismail Einashe The Oromo people use traditional clothing as a symbol of resistance and it is costing them their lives

Baggy trousers are revolting
, by Katy Werlin: The sans-culottes of the French revolution transformed peasant dress into a badge of honour

Muslim punks in mohawks attacked, by Eliza Vitri Handayani: Punks in Indonesia are persecuted but still manage to maintain a culture which stands up for difference

Design is the limit, by Jemimah Steinfeld: China is loosening up on personal freedoms including fashion, but designers still face some constraints

A modest proposal, by Kaya Genç: “Modest” dress codes are all the rage in Turkey as some turn their backs on the legacy of Atatürk

Uniformity rules, by Jan Fox: Prisoners often try to customise their uniforms but does stripping individuality make rehabilitation more difficult?

Keeping up appearances, by Linda Grant: Linda Grant’s immigrant family were upwardly mobile and bought clothes that showed their aspirations

Sewing it up, by Rachael Jolley:  At 88 Daphne Selfe is Britain’s oldest supermodel. She talks about how fashion has changed in her lifetime

Style counsels, by Kieran Etoria-King: Model, activist and actor Lily Cole talks about how school girls customise their uniforms to give them a sense of individuality

Tall stories, by Sally Gimson: Wearing high heels is a way for some women to express freedom, while for others it’s a form of oppression

IN FOCUS

Challenging media, by Eric Alterman: If his campaign is anything to go by, President Trump is likely to restrict freedom of the press

Living in limbo, by Marco Salustro: A journalist reveals the challenges of reporting from inhumane migrant detention camps in Libya

Follow the money, by
 Burak Bilgehan Özpek and Başak Yavcan: The Turkish government is rewarding newspapers which favour its position with more state-sponsored advertising

Fighting for our festival
 freedoms, by Peter Florence: Mutilated bodies, petitions and a citizen’s arrest: the director of the Hay literary festivals describes the trials and tribulations of his job

Barring the bard, by Jennifer Leong:  Actor Jennifer Leong on confronting attempts to censor performances of Shakespeare around the world

Assessing Correa’s freespeech heritage, by Irene Caselli: The Ecuadorian president’s record on free speech is reviewed as his term in office comes to an end. He gave sanctuary to Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, in the country’s London embassy but brought in restrictive media laws at home

Framed as spies, by Steven Borowiec: South Korean journalist Choi Seung-ho hit a national nerve when he exposed the security services for framing ordinary citizens as North Korean spies

CULTURE

Back from the Amazon, by
 Paulo Scott: Newly translated poems from Scott’s acclaimed collection, Even Without Money I Bought a New Skateboard. Interview by Kieran Etoria-King. Poems translated by Stefan Tobler

A story from the disappeared, by Haroldo Conti: Jon Lindsay Miles introduces a poignant short story, published in English for the first time, by the award- winning Argentine writer who disappeared in 1976. Translation also by Jon Lindsay Miles

Poems for Kim, by Jang Jin-sung: North Korean propagandist poet turned high profile defector talks about life within the world’s most secretive country. Interview by Sybil Jones

COLUMNS

Global view, by Jodie Ginsberg: Face-to-face encounters are still important and governments worldwide know that restricting travel continues to be an effective way of stifling voices

Index around the world, by
 Kieran Etoria-King: Coverage of Index’s work over the last few months including exposing the difficulties of war reporting and our Mapping Media Freedom project

END NOTE

Where’s our president? by
 Kiri Kankhwende:  Malawi’s journalists tease their president as part of a campaign to make the government more transparent

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Index on Censorship magazine was started in 1972 and remains the only global magazine dedicated to free expression. Past contributors include Samuel Beckett, Gabriel García Marquéz, Nadine Gordimer, Arthur Miller, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, and many more.

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