Culture 8 December 2017 Liberate Britain from the religious oppression of the Christmas jumper You simply cannot tell just by looking at your co-worker if their partner has coerced them into a kitschy, woollen, flashing Rudolph. Photo: Getty Sign UpGet the New Statesman's Morning Call email. Sign-up In offices, schools and public spheres up and down the country, helpless men and women across Britain are coerced by religious compulsion into an item of clothing that we all know no sane person would knowingly choose. Take it from someone who knows, take it from a woman in hijab. Itchy, restrictive and an insult to secular eyes everywhere, the Christmas jumper must be banned. It’s not that I necessarily have anything against Christmas jumpers, but you simply cannot tell just by looking at your co-worker if their partner has coerced them into a kitschy, woollen, flashing Rudolph. And let’s be honest there has been enough workplace flashing this year to last us a lifetime. Even those who swear blind that they willingly chose to wear a Christmas jumper cannot be trusted to tell the truth. They might not realise that their grandma is emotionally manipulating them into wearing that homespun yarn, or that they have been culturally conditioned into submitting to something that is inherently oppressive, ugly and humiliating. It’s like the Eurovision of clothing. It’s one thing to choose to wear blindingly gaudy jumpers in your own home, but to dress in such a restrictive item in public is an offence to my freedom to not see it. That’s how freedom works, right? Not to mention the jumpers that come with tinny melodies that publicly broadcast the wearer’s poor musical taste for all to (try not to) hear. So it is time to ban the Christmas jumper, for the good of the poor jumper wearers who don’t know any better, and for those who refuse to acknowledge the harm they are causing themselves. Hush now – we’re here to help you, to give you a voice, because you cannot be trusted to make decisions for yourselves. Who knows what you might be hiding under those lumpy woollies? A penchant for appropriation? A sexy chiselled six-pack? An inability to dance in rhythm? It’s our right to know exactly what’s going on underneath the clothes you choose to wear. How can we be expected to connect with you as a human, to respect you professionally, when – hidden behind that saggy jumper from three Christmases ago – we cannot see if you’ve been hitting the gym, or indulging in extra portions of mince pies? So here’s to no more repressive knitwear in offices, public transport, or government buildings. And while we’re at it, Ofsted should take it upon themselves to ask schoolchildren if parents forced them into the Santa hats and antler headbands that they wear. That’s the only way to keep vulnerable people safe, by interrogating them. Here’s to denying service at fast food joints to any Christmas jumper wearers, here’s to demanding interviewees remove their festive knitwear for employment, here’s to ripping off the offensive clothing, just because you can. Here’s to classifying anyone in a Christmas jumper as not a human being, here’s to a US travel ban for anyone in a Christmas jumper. On a lighter note, here’s to no more nude Santas, no more strategically placed twin Xmas puds and no more obvious bauble innuendo. We’re better than this cheap humour, Britain. But if you do decide to wear a woollen sleigh and reindeers at the office Christmas party, try not to get Donner all down your front. › The key points of the Brexit deal – and what it means for Theresa May Subscribe For the latest TV, art, films and book reviews subscribe for just £1 per month!