Digital Exclusive – The Right to Bare Arms Redux (CREATIVE SPACE Coda)

“Is the dress code, you check, so me ah try fix m’self”.

Overheard while waiting for my ride outside the Transport Board where I had returned a year on from writing two pieces – “The Right to Bare Arms: a Reflection on Antiquated Attitudes and the Female Body (in the Caribbean)” and “CREATIVE SPACE #2 OF 2022: THE CII™ OF PUBLIC SECTOR DRESS CODES” – about being turned away for not being on code, and the ridiculousness and mysogyny of these public sector dress codes.

I looked over and she was doing just that, trying to fix herself. As I watched, another woman walked by her at the entrance to the public institution where we go for a few minutes each year to renew our licenses, slipping on a sweather just before she entered. Neither woman seemed inappropriately dressed to me – one in a skirt below the knees and a top conservative if not for its lack of sleeves, and the other in a sleeved top and jeans that hit her about mid-calf. But it is women’s bodies, not clothes in the abstract that are inappropriate as I noted when discussing these clothing restrictions last year. Two men passed into the building without interruption before I went back to minding my business – both in knee-length shorts and slides/sandals.

No wonder men don’t notice that there’s an issue and shrug when it’s brought up – business casual women are policed while they can stroll in in on the corner casual get up.

A year on, we’re still here.

That sign just over my shoulder in the second image is the one with all the rules and there’s a security at the door who enforces it – he might be the same one who refused me entry last year. While wearing this…

My own very small act of rebellion this year when I had to go back inside…I didn’t put back on my jacket and maybe things are improving because it was without incident or obstruction.

And look, horrors, my bra strap is, however unintentionally, showing too.