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BBC Learning English
6 Minute English Dress code debate

This is not a word for word transcript. Jennifer: Rob: Jennifer: Rob: Jennifer: Rob: Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English from BBC Learning English, I'm Jennifer and with me today is Rob. Hello Jennifer! Now Rob, you’re a man of taste – what would you usually wear to the office? Well I think it’s important to look smart, but in my job Ican be casual, so perhaps a nice shirt and some jeans or casual trousers? Very nice, and what about the women, what do they wear? Well, there’s quite a range at work – some ladies are quite smartly dressed and might wear a dress or a skirt and blouse, but others are more casual. Of course, they ALL look lovely – including yourself. Hmm, I’m not sure how sincere you are about that, but I’ll giveyou the benefit of the doubt. We’re talking about the importance of dress codes on 6 Minute English today, but before we get to our story, I’ve got a question for you and it’s all about fashion, something I’m sure you know lots about. Are you ready for the all-important question, Rob? Yes I am. Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is known for his bold statements about fashion and famously said: “One isnever over-dressed or underdressed with a what?” (a) Pair of jeans (b) Little black dress (c) Pair of high heels Rob: Jennifer: Oh dear, I don’t even understand the quote? What does it mean exactly? If you are overdressed, you look too formal. If you are underdressed, you are not formal enough – so he thinks there is one fashion item which is perfect for all occasions – is it a pair of jeans, thelittle black dress, or a pair of high heels?

Jennifer:

Rob: Jennifer:

6 Minute English

© British Broadcasting Corporation 2012 Page 1 of 4

bbclearningenglish.com

Rob: Jennifer:

Well surprisingly I have no idea about women’s fashion. I’ll go for a) a pair of jeans… Well we’ll see if you’re right at the end of the programme. Now back to our story which is about a controversialmicroblog post which has sparked a debate in China. That means it has lots of people talking about it – and often arguing about it! The post was from a metro operator in Shanghai who suggested that women should dress in a conservative way in public. If you dress conservatively, you wear traditional clothes and avoid anything outlandish or revealing. The blog post included a photograph of a womanwearing a see-through, or transparent, dress. That’s certainly the opposite of conservative! I don’t think many people would go out in public wearing an outfit you could see through! Probably not, but this blogger’s comment about the outfit has caused controversy. Listen to this clip from the BBC’s John Sudworth – what comment was made about the photo?

Rob: Jennifer: Rob: Jennifer: Rob: Jen:BBC correspondent John Sudworth: The Shanghai Metro authority used its official Weibo account, the Chinese version of Twitter, to publish a photograph of a woman in what appears to be a see-through dress, standing on a subway platform. “It’s not surprising that women get harassed if they dress like this,” the caption reads, adding “it’s hard to avoid perverts. Girls, please cherish yourselves.”Rob: Jennifer: The Metro authority said that if women wear see-through clothes, then it’s not surprising they get harassed. Thousands of female passengers have been voicing their anger at this, as they feel it is an attempt to blame them for any sexual harassment they receive. Those passengers think they should have the right to dress however they like - without being harassed. But on the otherhand, there are people who have said that women should not dress provocatively, as it might encourage people to make unwanted comments. It seems that opinion is divided. Here’s the BBC’s John Sudworth again with some of the responses to the statement.

Rob: Jennifer:

Rob: Jennifer:

6 Minute English

© British Broadcasting Corporation 2012 Page 2 of 4

bbclearningenglish.com

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