Finally women in France can wear trousers

Najat Vallaud-BelkacemA 213-year-old law that banned women from wearing any form of menswear in Paris was finally revoked on January 31st. According to the law, women needed to have the permission of local police if they wanted to “dress like a man” and wear “pantaloons” (trousers). The repeal of the law was announced by France’s Minister for Women’s Rights, Ms. Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

Louis XVIOriginally the law had been brought in by French revolutionaries as a security measure to stop women impersonating men. Revolutionaries were identified by their trousers as opposed to the “culottes” (silk knee-high breeches), which were worn by the bourgeoisie. The revolutionary movement is known as the “sans-culottes”, meaning without breeches. Women in the revolutionary movement demanded the right to wear trousers also, but they were turned down and the law was passed on November 7, 1800. It was later modified in 1892 and 1909 to allow women to wear trousers if they were “holding a bicycle handlebar or the reins of a horse”.

Sans culotteAmazon with trousersThe earliest record of women wearing pants is from over 2000 years ago by the Amazonian women. In the Western world, women have historically worn dresses and skirt-like garments while men have worn trousers. During the late 19th century, women started to wear trousers and blouses for industrial work. During World War II, women wore their husbands’ trousers while they took on jobs, and in the 1970s, trousers became especially fashionable for women.

Some strange laws around the world:

  • It is illegal to leave your house in Thailand if you are not wearing underwear.
  • In Canada, any public debt over 25 cents cannot be paid in pennies.
  • In Beijing, China you are forbidden to stop for pedestrians if you are driving a motor-driven vehicle.
  • In Singapore chewing gum is illegal.
  • It is illegal to die in the House of Parliament in London. Because it is a Royal Palace, you are technically entitled to a state funeral.
  • In France, it’s illegal to name a pig Napoleon.
  • In Israel, you could be prosecuted for picking your nose on Sunday.
  • In British Columbia, it is illegal to kill a Sasquatch or Bigfoot if one is ever found.
  • In Samoa, it’s a crime to forget your wife’s birthday.
  • In Bahrain, male doctors only legally examine a woman’s genitals through a mirror.
  • In Bangladesh you face prison time for cheating at school.
  • Until 1984 in Belgium, you had to choose your child’s name off a list of 1500.
  • In the United Kingdom, a pregnant woman can relieve herself anywhere she wants, even a policeman’s helmet.
  • In 1979 Iraq banned karate movies.
  • It was once illegal to own a pet dog in Iceland.
  • 2000 years ago in Rome, Julius Caesar banned chariots from Rome city centre to ease congestion.
  • In Denmark, you legally have to check under your car for children asleep before you start it.
  • In New Jersey, USA answering a traffic cop who asks “Do you know why I pulled you over?” by saying, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you” is an automatic $300 fine.
  • In the days of Sparta, if you were male you legally had to consume 2 pounds of meat a day.


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