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Azerbaijan: Shorts Spark Long Public Debate

A video posted on the Flashmob Azerbaijan community page on Facebook shows more than one hundred young Azerbaijanis wearing shorts and walking through the streets of downtown Baku on August 2. Wearing shorts in Azerbaijan is frowned upon as being uncultured and uncivilized. (Video Still: Flashmob Azerbaijan)

The cultural fault line that seems to divide the West and many formerly Soviet states is perhaps most visible when it comes to differing attitudes on LGBT issues. But a culture clash is also flaring in the sartorial sphere. In Azerbaijan, for example, a public debate is brewing over whether it is appropriate for men to wear shorts.
 
Traditional attitudes remain deeply entrenched in Azerbaijan. Accordingly, the general consensus holds that it is taboo for men to wear shorts. Anyone who defies the unofficial ban runs the risk of being rebuked by family members, friends or even strangers on the street.
 
“If a man is showing knees, he may get disapproving stares or comments in the streets,” said Emil Musayev, member of Flashmob Azerbaijan, a group that organized a demonstration on August 2 to launch a pro-shorts movement.
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

Azerbaijan: Shorts Spark Long Public Debate

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