In mid-April, a 12-year-old girl in Malaysia participating in the National Scholastic Chess Championships in Putrajaya was kicked out of the competition. Apparently officials thought her dress, which was almost knee-length and covered both shoulders, was “too seductive.”
The unnamed girl’s coach Kaushal Khandhar posted about the incident on Facebook, demanding an apology for the “disturbing incident.”
The preteen was in the second round of the chess tournament when the tournament’s chief arbiter told her and her mother that the dress she was wearing was “too seductive” and was a “temptation from a certain angle far, far away.” Officials then asked the mother to buy the child another dress from the mall nearby so she could participate in the next round, but unfortunately, shops were closed at that time as it was after 9 p.m. As a result, the girl had to quit the game, forfeiting the registration fees along with coaching costs, travel expenses and all the hard work she had put in preparing for the event.
Khandhar, who has competed in Malaysian chess tournaments for nearly 20 years, says something like this has never happened before.
He called the girl the “chess champion” of her district in Kuala Lumpur, saying she had “tremendous potential.”
The child subjected to sexism also felt “extremely disturbed and embarrassed,” according to her coach.
“My daughter was shocked after her game was interrupted by the chief arbiter,” said the girl’s mother, Chin Wai Ling.
“From that point onwards, she said all she could think of was whether anyone was peeping (at her) throughout the game,” she added.
Apparently, FIDE, the world chess federation, handbook states that competitors must be “dressed in a suitable manner” but does not specify a particular dress code.
People on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook have called out the chess tournament’s officials over the absurdity of this incident. Most netizens said the fact that the girl was asked to change her dress is outrageous, and if someone found it “seductive” the problem is with them, not the attire.
@staronline If you find a child seductive, it is you who is the problem, not the dress— Simon Mosca (@MoscaSimon) April 28, 2017
Still wondering how a basic shirt dress can be percieved as seductive on the body of a 12yo— flackolovesme (@oumou_c99) April 30, 2017
So my guess is, she was winning so they sabotaged her. If this dress is seductive, then, maybe they should be... https://t.co/6ShASWyXRx— Lola Loquacious (@AskTheBigGirl) April 30, 2017
“Anyone who saw that dress on a child and felt 'seduced' is a damn pervert, and the shame is his, not hers,” one woman commented on Khandhar’s Facebook post.
“Knee length, short sleeves, no low neck. The arbiter is clearly a pedophile,” another person commented.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters