A priest in the town of Lima in Buenos Aires Province garnered national attention yesterday when local media outlets shared pictures of a flyer he posted outside of his Church banning women from entering the premises in “immodest clothing.” The concept itself is perhaps not that shocking (women have been told to cover their elbows lest they tempt the devil since time immemorial), but what is interesting is the reactions that have followed: uproar, widespread media coverage and parishioners refusing to attend Church, even postponing the baptisms of their children until the “clothing regulations” are lifted. Who run the world… um priests? (Jokes all around, it’s not 1300 anymore, girls run the world. Girls!)
The sign, pictured below, quotes scripture: “Women shall dress modestly, with decency and propriety” and bans miniskirts, shorts, tight pants, immodest shirts, flip-flops
and vaginas. Nothing says sultry like Havaianas, amirite? Permitted: skirts beneath the knees and things that generally look like a tent. You can wear a tent to mass. Not mentioned: a ban on “adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls,” which is how that particular Bible verse finishes. Women of Argentina, stop adorning yourselves! Ya hussy!
The priest who instituted these measures, Carlos Scarlata, had this to say for himself when speaking to Clarin: “Women shouldn’t wear revealing clothing because men have another psychology. If [women] want to be respected, they should begin by respecting themselves, otherwise they allow men to sin. As a priest, I have to look after women in order to make sure men don’t lose control.” Right, well, we wouldn’t want to tempt the menfolk with our brazen footwear et al. She devils! Jorts begone!
While dressing up for church was seen as a standard not even 30 years ago, such regulations this uproar proves that such regulations are antiquated and misogynist. I know nothing of such things, at reform synagogue we wore whatever we wanted, the shorter the better. We wore miniskirts, we wore butterfly hair clips.
Scarlata’s campaign has not been well received by parishioners and the media alike, a positive step in a time where the fight for women’s rights is stronger than ever. His restrictions feed into the idea that women are responsible for controlling the sexual urges of men, discourse that is insulting to not only men and women alike, but has also been used regularly to justify sexual assault. The community and the press is not alone in these feelings, yesterday the local bishop asked him to withdraw the sign. He has yet to comply as of the writing of this article.