The Global Economics Of Underwear

I found this story via a tweet from PlumsLingerie — and I was shocked by it! Zimbabwe introduces law making secondhand underwear illegal:

It is now forbidden to import ‘second-hand undergarments of any type form or description – whether purchased, donated or procured in any other manner.

The hand-me- down knicker band was introduced by finance minister Tendai Biti, who said he was shocked to discover many Zimbabweans in the poverty-stricken country bought used underwear from flea markets or stalls.

Mr Biti added: ‘I am told we are now even importing women’s underwear.

How does that happen? If you are a husband and you see your wife buying underwear from the flea market, you would have failed.

Not only does this make vintage lingerie illegal, but it hurts people in need!

The bad economy in Zimbabwe had forced many residents into purchasing second hand underwear from markets which have either been supplied with the second hand stock or the underwear has been donated from other developed countries around the world.

Under the new legislation the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority will now charge 40 percent duty and 15 percent VAT on all underwear imports and apply a 3USD penalty for every kilogram of pants entering the country.

Local media reported that this new ban is a positive move in the right direction as it will address the health concerns related to the wearing of second hand underwear.

That’s rather ridiculous, as washing underwear and lingerie — which is typically done prior to being packaged to donate/ship, kills anything of any health concern. Not wearing undergarments is more of a risk!

It is also believed the law could help protect Zimbabwe’s struggling domestic textiles industry.

But if people can barely afford what has been donated, how can they afford to pay what companies will need to charge?

As always, this is a complicated issue. But I don’t think potentially forcing the population to go commando is where to start.

It seems the government of Zimbabwe, like the US government, is more concerned with male pride and posturing on the economy at the expense of women — the poorest women. They are not willing to look at the realities of the people “forced” to buy used underwear.  …And yes, dear Americans, there are millions of folks “forced” into the same situation here in the USA. People who buy their clothing, including underthings, at thrift shops, or count on donated items given to them by charitable organizations. Heaven help us if any of our government leaders try to help with similar sort of legislation!

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