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EU says low cut dresses are unhealthy

Via Dave Barry, I found my way to this story, which seems to have escaped the attention so far of such dedicated Euroblogs as this one:

THE EU has declared a crackpot war on busty barmaids — by trying to ban them from wearing low-cut tops.

Po-faced penpushers have deemed it a HEALTH HAZARD for bar girls to show too much cleavage.

And in a daft directive that will have drinkers choking on their pints, Brussels bureaucrats have ordered a cover-up.

They say barmaids run a skin cancer risk if they expose themselves to the sun when they go outside to collect glasses.

A good way – not the only way but a good way – to understand the atmosphere of politics in any particular year in these times of ours is to ask: how old is the Baby Boom?

The Baby Boom is now nearly sixty. The men are at the pub, and the women are shrieking jealously that those strumpets behind the bar should stop flaunting themselves. But because in their youth these same now-jealous frumps scorned such puritanical opinions – and indeed did their share of breast baring themselves, at pop festivals and the like – they have to find a new way to say this boring old stuff. So, rather than talking the language of morals and of traditional decency, like grannies used to, they reach instead for health, the great modern excuse for ancient animosities and prohibitions.

It is partly to feelings like this that the EUroprats, of all ages and both genders, are now appealing. And partly, of course, they just want to boss people around for the sheer sake of it.

29 comments to EU says low cut dresses are unhealthy

  • I’m looking for the suggestion that there be a law in the EU requiring that all swimmers and sunbathers wear ankle -to-wrist-to throat bathing suits at all times on the beaches of France, Italy and Spain, etc. The danger of skin cancer cannot be ignored!

    Sadly, there seems to be no such suggestion. So much for the EU concerns for the dainty skin of the fairer sex.

  • I believe that the rules in question related to workplace safety.

    Customers at the beach can bare all they want, but I bet anyone serving them drinks will have to cover up totally.

  • I note with admiration that the old Currant Bun quotes the lovely lassies’ bra sizes.

  • … the women are shrieking jealously that those strumpets behind the bar should stop flaunting themselves.

    Yes. They have a great deal in common with all those female morality police in Moslem countries.

  • Verity

    To construct an impetus for this latest assault on freedom by the unelected that “The men are at the pub, and the women are shrieking jealously that those strumpets behind the bar should stop flaunting themselves” is a rather bizarre construct.

    Brian, as moronic as this new focus is, like everything that slithers out of eurocrats’ “minds”, to imagine that angry British 60 year old baby boomer women are behind it is … odd. Eurocrats don’t get lobbied by 60-year olds or even 35-year olds, because no one knows who they are.

    You reason that the interfering, unelected eurocrats have found a new target for their “concern” because the 60 year old men are all at the pub and the British 60 year old women are all not only “shrieking”, but, uniquely in the entire EU, have a profound influence on what Brussels decides to ban next?

    Sorry, Brian, I’m not 60, but most women feel quite comfortable around barmaids with cleavage. It’s feminine – one-half of the human race – and, having some of our own, we’re quite relaxed with it.

    And many of these gals are hardly your imagined “strumpets”, being in their forties themselves.

    I think your post is totally bizarre. I have never heard of a woman in my life who objected to being served by a barmaid in a low cut outfit.

  • Actually, Brian, I’m pretty sure that they would be in favor of the breast baring, were it overtly sexual in nature.

    One of the pillars of the neo-marxist left – the “68’ers” who now run the EU – is that conventional morality must be destroyed. It’s a standard of (what used to be far) left thought, that the lunatic, the outlaw, and the prostitute, should be privileged over the sane, the cop, and those of conventional morals. Were you to make an argument that the proposed rule is an hegemonic attack on women’s unbridled and empowered sexuality, you’d stand a decent chance of getting the rule stopped.

    As it is, however, big hooters, a dirndl, and 6 mass bier, is a very traditional Bavarian thing, and it’s not nicely packaged with a postmodern critical theory label that would make it acceptable to our unelected masters.

    Just as an aside, my understanding is that the dirndl and outdoor biergartens are only incidentally targeted by what looks like an otherwise innocuous bit of administrative rulemaking.

  • To construct an impetus for this latest assault on freedom by the unelected that “The men are at the pub, and the women are shrieking jealously that those strumpets behind the bar should stop flaunting themselves” is a rather bizarre construct.

    Well, this post would strike a deadly blow against the hypocrisies of feminism. If it weren’t so completely idiotic.

  • rosignol

    Just as an aside, my understanding is that the dirndl and outdoor biergartens are only incidentally targeted by what looks like an otherwise innocuous bit of administrative rulemaking.

    What compelling public interest justifies making such rules? Public spending on skin cancer affecting barmaids who wear low-cut dresses on the job is probably less than the bureaucratic expenses associated with making (nevermind enforcing) the rule.

    Methinks some administrative types are trying to look busy, and that’s a good indicator that it’s time to reduce headcount.

  • John

    Why the childish shot at EUReferendum? If Micklethwait had bothered to actually read through that blog he might have found this comment by Richard North:

    Even on this Blog, we’d probably get more hits if I stopped “banging on” about defence and dealt with the trivia – like the German barmaids…. I get the feeling people just don’t want to know.

    From the comments section of this post(Link)

    I think an apology is due. Samizdata has also lost another reader.

  • John

    Note North’s comment was made ath 12:44 a.m. on the 7th. Many hours before your post appeared.

  • Verity

    Dave Barry, who is one of the funniest men in the Anglosphere, got himself all confused by The Sun models (phwoaaar!) and real German and Austrian women actually employed to serve customers in the torrid biergartens in of Munich and Vienna.

    No one’s blaming Dave. (Although, frankly, he should lose the rug).

  • How about burkas?

    “I’ll have a pint of Smithwick’s, insha’allah.”

  • fFreddy

    I keep getting this image of Osama Bin Laden sitting in a cave somewhere, scanning the UK press for signs of capitulation to last month’s bombs, and coming aross this …

  • A semi-apology concerning the EU Referendum blog. Not to John because it would appear that he has now departed and because he is a pompous ass, but to the EUR blog, and to other readers of this.

    Yes, North did refer to this story, dismissively, in a comment, which indeed I missed. But not in the main body of a post. Plus, I only put “seems to have escaped the attention”, which, to be pedantic about it, is a defensible description of what happened. Appearances were as I described them, but they deceived, somewhat.

    Besides which, I think that linking to a blog, even with a jocular criticism, is all part of drawing attention and readers towards it, which was my intention. I have several times before linked supportively from here to the EUR blog, and will doubtless do so many more times.

    And whereas I agree with North that one little regulation may be said to be a triviality (unless of course you run a cleavage-based business or like to show your cleavage yourself when working at such a place, or, come to think of it, wish you didn’t have to). the total of all such regulations and the power to inflict them is not a bit trivial.

    As for that “losing another reader” bit, you know that a publication enterprise counts for something when people like John state as publicly as they can that they won’t be reading it any more, are now cancellilng their subscriptions, etc. This is because they regard the organ in question as important enough to need protesting against with a sort of one-man demo. Such proclamations are presumably intended to cause an exodus, but their subtext is such as to have the opposite effect, if any.

    As for the alleged idiocy of the women “shrieking jealously” bit, this was clumsily put. I should have said that it is as if they are shrieking jealously, but are uncomfortably aware that actually shrieking jealously would sound rather daft. So, the same sentiment is expressed differently, by talking health rather than morals.

    The more serious point underneath all the joking here is one I absolutely stick by. This is that successive changing political atmospheres – hippies, glam fashions (first job money – 1970s), yuppies (first serious job money, flash car – 1980s), “caring and sharing 90s”, the switch from “fuck the police” (1960s) to “where the hell are the police we’ve been robbed” (2000s), etc. – can be illuminatingly tracked by noting the changing age of the Baby Boom, and its consequent changing preoccupations.

    Even the current obsession about falling population numbers, shared by some commenters here, sounds to me rather like oldies angrily or plaintively demanding grandchildren.

    As I say, this is not the only way to look at things, but it is an interesting way.

  • Brian, I was going to voice my support for Verity and SDB above, but now that you have rephrased the whole thing: well, maybe you have a point, I wouldn’t know, really.

    All that said, do you guys really believe everything printed in the Sun?

  • EU officials claim this is not about dress codes, protection against the sun could be provided by employers in the form of suncream.

    So I’m letting this one slip as unfortunate hype..

  • Verity

    Brian – Forgive me being nitpicky and getting the week off to a contentious start, but it is not the 60s baby boom women who instigated this ban. As I said above, and as Alisa, the only other woman commenting here, said, women don’t care if they’re served a drink by a woman in a low cut dress – especially a traditional costume like a Bavarian barmaid’s. Women simply would not be motivated to think up some bizarre reason to ban them.

    It was not women who provided the motivation for this. Men are far more likely to be disturbed by a woman in a low cut top bending over to serve them a drink. Think about it. It works on the same principle as Muslim men needing to enforce women wearing the veil. They are disturbed.

    Again – in all of the EU, it is only British men – and then only some – who are down the pub, so even if your silly theory had legs, so to speak, you would be talking about the objection coming only from one country out of a population mass of 450m. So the resentment would be felt – even had your theory a shred of sanity – by the small percentage of 60 year old women only in Britain. And you think they all got together and went to Brussels, somehow managed to find out who is the Bureaucrat in Charge of Silly Laws and pled with him.

    Give me a break!

    With respect, you are projecting pettiness and smallmindedness onto women, which women themselves do not feel.

  • Julian Taylor

    You would have to be very optimistic indeed to ever hope to get skin cancer through sitting in a beer garden during an English summer – it’s far more likely that they would ban the showing of too much cleavage here to prevent a poor barmaid contracting pneumonia. More likely it is aimed at the more traditional Munich Beer Festival crowd who probably enjoy far hotter weather than we do or maybe it is aimed at the British-style pubs on the Costa Del Sol in Spain.

  • Verity

    It is just such a vivid illustration of the control freakery at the centre of the EU. No wonder Tony feels so comfortable in it. I mean, legislation to mandate the use of skin cream?

    Get rid of nationalised medical care right now! There is no area of your life too insignificant for them to poke their nose into as long as they are posing as watchdogs of the public purse. Dear god!

  • Mark

    I am a medical oncologist. There is evidence that sun exposure reduces the incidence of breast and colon cancer (vitamin D is anti-carcinogenic.) Some authorities believe that by lowering the rate of these common cancers despite any concommittant increase in an uncommon cancer, sunshine produces a net health benefit. Regulatory agencies may wish to consider these facts and mandate more skin exposure for bar maids.

  • Uncle Bill

    Mark, to the best of my knowledge, the stated rational for any given regulation has nothing to do with the ‘real’ reason the regulation is imposed and side efects that are some times disasterous carry no weight.

    The DDT ban is an absolutely monstrous example of this.

  • steve

    We should be more concerned about how a barmaid wearing a low cut top increases the very real danger of short measures being served. Salivating men leering into the valley will not notice their pint or litre not being up to the mark, as it were.

    It’s another example of our society’s “caring staring” approach.

  • Verity

    mark – is there such a thing as a “non-medical” oncologist?

  • Julian Taylor

    I am a medical oncologist. There is evidence that sun exposure reduces the incidence of breast and colon cancer (vitamin D is anti-carcinogenic.)

    I am a previous melanomic skin cancer sufferer (victim?) who contracted it from lying outside in the sun for far too long during a trip to Dallas in 1988 (I’m English, what do you expect?). Please don’t say such stupid, completely idiotic and totally dumb statements such as that online, rather save that sort of trite for The Lancet or some other imbecilic journal that pays money to listen to such absolute nonsense.

    PS I don’t believe for one second that you are an oncologist – no doctor would say such a remarkably stupid thing as that.

  • jpickens

    I have read peer-reviewed articles which state exactly that. Namely, that sun exposure helps prevent more cancers than it causes. Now, common sense would indicate that moderation, as in all things, is called for.

    On to the nub of the issue, however.
    I believe we can solve this by mandating that barmaids apply sunscreen to their cleavage in full view of patrons in order to both protect themselves, and allow the patrons to inspect for proper application of said topical ointment to the skin.

    Should make for quite the show…

  • dsquared

    Just as an aside, my understanding is that the dirndl and outdoor biergartens are only incidentally targeted by what looks like an otherwise innocuous bit of administrative rulemaking.

    Nearer right than anyone else, but in fact beer gardens are *not* caught by this innocuous bit of administrative rulemaking as they are, correctly, not considered “high risk” areas.

    This is mainly a directive (the Optical Radiation Directive) about ensuring that people like welders are provided with masks. The bit that they are voting on is whether to include sunlight as a potential source of risk so that, for example, people who employ lifeguards have to provide a sunshade for them to sit under while they are lifeguarding.

    The bit about dirndls and busty barmaids was dreamt up by the Munich chamber of commerce in order to trick up some publicity for Oktoberfest which has been flagging in recent years, and well done them because it has worked. Note that the current draft directive leaves the regulation of risks relating to natural sunlight entirely to the member state level so even if it were the case that cleavage was banned from beer gardens it wouldn’t be the EU’s fault.

  • “Namely, that sun exposure helps prevent more cancers than it causes.”

    This is absolutely idiotic. You’ve read “peer reviewed” articles that say this? List them.

    I read about this — and it’s about sun exposure as a risk to barmaids health the same way cigarette smoke is a risk to somebody working in a bar. The Europeans aren’t the Puritans on the planet. In fact, there’s acceptance of nudity as natural in a way that’s quite normal — unlike here in America, where the seething religious nutters try to prevent even the slightest flash of flesh on TV — or elsewhere — but have not a problem in the world with footage of people machete-ing each others’ limbs off.

    As somebody whose family is a melanoma factory, I can sympathize with the melanoma victim above. I suggest all the blithe spirits above go meet somebody with skin cancer before they laugh it off so easily…same for the idiots who smoke cigarettes, pipes, and cigars. Peter Jennings is dead…but Keith Olbermann lives to tell the tale.


  • ian

    In all of this wonderful idiocy I have yet to see a link to the EU posted draft of this regulation. Come on- these are bureaucrats – everything is documented. So let us see it.

  • Laurence

    EU and lovely chest exposing bar maids.

    Are we talking about European talibans here???? I believe in the phrase,”if you have it, flaunt it”, nothing wrong with that, its still a free World isn’t it???? or Is Europe going back into the dark ages?

    Maybe these lovely chest exposing barmaids are reminding these envious have-been prime cuts what they have been missing. To them I say, too bad, you had your fun and save us that lecture on morality.

    Weren’t they the bunch of flower power, beard growing junkies of the 60’s who were heavy into pot???? So much for morality.