Some of us may put our pants on one leg at a time, but others risk a punishment of forty lashes if they dare do so. Lubna Ahmed Al Hussein knew the latter could be her fate, but she put her pants on anyway. As the world watched her go trial in Khartoum in that selfsame pair, she walked knowingly to a fate far more dangerous and with far more perilous consequences than landing on any "Worst Dressed" list.
I'm sure I'm not alone in wondering whether history will deem our ability to see everything and hear everyone in the Too Much Information Age as a watershed era of human progress, or as a time when human beings became progressively incapable of seeing or hearing much of anything that really mattered amidst the pervasive visual clutter and endless chatter. Yet Hussein's brave act in the courtroom where she stood trial was the best possible representation of what happens when seemingly all-powerful people know that the world is watching and listening.
Despite being convicted of "indecency" for her fashion choice, Hussein showed every man sitting in judgment of her interpretation of her own religion and of the ambiguous meaning of religious texts often kept forcibly beyond the reach of women in many cultures just who wore the pants. She dared them to sentence her to the lashing they've been able to mete out to so many others, but to have to do it under the watchful gaze of the globe. She was fined $200 instead.
Lubna Hussein just took Bravo's catchphrase, "Watch What Happens," to a whole new level. And if we keep watching as she refuses even to pay that fine, as she has proclaimed she will do, I'm guessing she'll get to keep that money to buy a new pair of pants for herself AND for her daughter.
We've just seen the hottest trend for fall: courage.
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