Polish girls and indecent clothes

These tots in PVC don’t scare me (The Observer)

Christina Odone (regular in the Observer and noted contributor to the Catholic press also) noted in last Sunday’s Observer the popularity of indecent clothing for young girls both among both the Polish community in the UK and in Poland itself. She notes that this fashion is accompanied by a socially conservative society and an “ultra-conservative and Catholic government [which] never stops trumpeting traditional social mores and the importance of the family”.

She reckons that this makes slutty girls’ fashions less of a danger in Poland, where “girls may look like tarts, but research shows they behave like… well, not nuns, but good girls”, where even the young disapprove of promiscuity and where “the great majority of Polish youngsters not only eat meals with their family, but holiday with them and live at home through higher education or their first job”, than in England where much of this is no longer the case. She puts the fashion down to “a reaction to the dull, stolid, masculine look that for decades had been imposed on their parents by the Soviets”.

Really? In my memory, this sort of fashion was popular here in the west as well until people got sick of it. A few years ago, the situation Odone describes in Poland was more or less the case here, with an awful lot of low-ride trousers and visible underwear (usually thongs, ironically worn for anti-VPL reasons) and an almost total dearth of skirts in the shops other than those intended as evening wear or in shops like Littlewoods and aimed at old ladies. I put this down to a reaction to 9/11 and the war in Afghanistan, with long loose clothes perhaps being seen as burqa-like (the term burqa actually was used in the US to mean unfashionable clothes, or so I read in the Times).

With the exception of the “prairie chic” forced-fad in 2003, this trash dominated female fashion until about 2004 or 2005, when people suddenly got sick of it. It didn’t disappear altogether, but its popularity declined drastically, and no doubt some was produced which didn’t sell, and the manufacturers no doubt needed somewhere to dump it …

And by the way, the popularity of junk clothing cannot always be put down to the wearers being sluts. Aside from the fact that most children are sensitive to peer pressure and will wear what others wear just to be popular, most people cannot make their own clothes and if they cannot buy decent clothing in the shops, they have to wear something. Still, I think the fashion is a bad thing in itself, no matter whether young women (ten years older or more than these girls) have more conservative attitudes towards sex than are commonplace here. After all, one doubts very much that these young women were given such tat to wear when they were young in the Solidarity and post-Communist eras.

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  • aicha

    What’s with the Czech Roma women wearing those tight tracksuit bottoms? So sad, given that Gypsy culture stresses modest dress. Roma women from Poland, to their credit, dress very like conservative Muslims.

  • Aicha: I’ve not noticed it much myself, although there aren’t many Roma round here anyway and the days when Roma women made trouble by begging with their babies is thankfully over. But most of them dress relatively modestly, even those who caused the trouble. Incidentally, in some parts of eastern Europe, most of the Roma are Muslims.

    I have an Egyptian friend who married a woman from eastern Slovakia, and he tells me that in the countryside around her home city (Kosice) the women also dress much like ours - which surprised me, since I thought this was a Ruthenian thing and that it had died out among the younger generations. But apparently not, ma sha Allah. He told me, however, that Czech culture generally was much less conservative than that of Slovakia.

  • aicha

    Yes, there are many well known gypsy singers and musicians from Muslim backgrounds. I’m not sure that their attachment to Islam will be that strong in countries such as Albania. Some non Gypsy writers such as Jan Yoors, suggested of his adopted gypsy family that Gypsies will ally themselves to the dominant religious group in order to gain a degree of benefit and respect from the gaje but that, in truth, gypsies, with some exceptions, are ancestor worshippers.

  • Old Pickler

    Apart from the fact that they look silly on anyone much over 30, in the UK it’s too cold to wear really short skirts.

  • George Carty

    Aside from the fact that most children are sensitive to peer pressure and will wear what others wear just to be popular, most people cannot make their own clothes and if they cannot buy decent clothing in the shops, they have to wear something.

    Why don’t shops supply what the market wants?

  • George Carty

    By the way, if you want to know why so many people in the West associate the concealing clothing of Muslim women with oppression, you only have to look at the brochures in any travel agent’s shop.