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Azerbaijan: More Shorts for the People

On August 2, in the capital, Baku, young Azerbaijani men and women marched in shorts through the center of town to end the “stereotype” that wearing shorts is “immoral.”

It may not have been a civil-rights campaign, but it was a push for tolerance.

Though practices vary country to country, traditional views in the South Caucasus, regardless of religion, hold that real men do not wear shorts and show their legs like skirt-wearing women. At least, not off the beach.

“If you walk in them on the beach, that is considered normal, but if you show up in the city, then you can’t help but notice the curious glances of passers-by….” read an editorial in Day.az. “Curiously, if a girl wears shorts, and very short ones, it does not cause a similar reaction.”

At best, shorts are considered by many as something a teenage boy could wear, woefully observed the news service.

But in seaside Baku, the setting for Eurovision, the European Games, and fraternization with all sorts of shorts-wearing countries, many young people are ready for change. Summer temperatures are hitting 40 degrees Celsius (103 F), after all.

The shorts pride event was organized via Facebook by the youth group Flashmob Azerbaijan, which has been at the forefront of turning Baku into a regional flashmob hub. They specified that participants should wear “Not breeches or short slacks or shorts longer than the knee.”

Local media termed the result a festival of shorts. Police did not get involved.

Flashmob Azerbaijan members believe their event was a success. But let’s see if it has legs.

Azerbaijan: More Shorts for the People

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