Clarkson was right about burkas and red G-strings
Antonia Bland: Clarkson was not being insensitive - Muslim women do wear lingerie
Jeremy Clarkson, Britain's top bloke, is in the dog-house over a cartoony incident he claims to have witnessed in Piccadilly. He told viewers of his BBC TV show Top Gear how a woman wearing a burka tripped and fell as she crossed the road in front of him, tumbling head-over-heels, to reveal a red G-string and stockings.
Clarkson claimed he was sitting in the back of a London cab when it happened and, if you don't believe him, he said, ask the taxi driver. (Quite how we're supposed to do that is a mystery - and anyway, why not ask the woman?)
As far as Clarkson was concerned, this was just another excellent example of how female pedestrians pose a hazard to male drivers trying to keep their eyes on the road in summer: girls everywhere are revealing more leg and cleavage.
As far as the Daily Mail is concerned - a paper that specialises in drumming up public rows over broadcasters' faux-pas (just think Ross and Brand) it's an appallingly insensitive remark that "outraged" television viewers.
Well, as uncomfortable as it may feel to defend Jeremy Clarkson in public, I have to say he's said nothing wrong. It's not insensitive at all. He is simply re-telling a truth known to all Muslim women and a lot of their men friends - that a woman who chooses to wear a burka in public may also choose to wear gorgeous lingerie in private.
I've seen teenage girls in burkas in Topshop, checking out the latest fashions; I've seen elegant burka-clad women expertly flicking through the rails at Joseph.
One Muslim girlfriend told me recently, in the wake of the defacement of sexy bikini ads in the East End, "Women in Islam are not condemned to a life of prison in their own homes as most people believe - we have freedom of choice, we can do what everyone else does, but we have to do it the right way.
"We are not supposed to dress provocatively in front of strangers due to the simple fact that we may catch the eye of someone who is out to do some harm."
Look at it this way. From the point of view of the woman who flew head over heels in front of Jeremy Clarkson - imagine the shame if she hadn't been wearing a cute red G-string and stockings that day, but extra-large M&S white pants? Sorry, girls, but honestly on which day would you rather take a tumble?
By the way, Clarkson has also put his rather clumsy big paw on a very telling truth in fashion that covering up can be just as sexy as revealing it all.
The maxi-dress is already making a reappearance on the streets of London. Don't be surprised to see the burka on the catwalks at London Fashion Week this September.
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