Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
27 October 2010updated 27 Sep 2015 2:10am

Top 10 absurd things they tried to ban

In honour of the Italian seaside town that recently banned miniskirts, here is our pick of the best

By Rob Higson

The Italian seaside town of Castellammare di Stabia recently announced its intention to ban miniskirts. Mayor Luigi Bobbio said the regulations would help “restore urban decorum and facilitate better civil coexistence”.

In honour of Italian puritanos, here is a sneak peek at our pick of the best banned items.

1. October 2010 – Miniskirts

Castellammare di Stabia bans miniskirts and other revealing clothing.

2. September 2010 – Vuvuzelas

Uefa bans blowing of vuvuzelas at European football matches.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

3. May 2010 – Beards

Japanese bureaucrats in Isesaki are instructed to shave.

Content from our partners
How do we secure the hybrid office?
How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK
Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

4. September 2007 – Water

The New Zealand MP Jacqui Dean falls for a hoax calling for a ban on “dihydrogren monoxide”.

5. February 2005 – Low-slung trousers

A “droopy drawers bill” is passed in Virginia state house to outlaw trousers worn so low that underwear is visible.

6. August 2004 – Smiling

Open-mouthed smiling banned in UK passport photos.

7. April 2004 – Gold teeth

The president of Turkmenistan, Saparmurat Niyazov, bans oral bling.

8. March 1990 – Broccoli

President George H W Bush bans broccoli from the White House and Air Force One.

9. June 1940 – Ice cream

Benito Mussolini halts sales of ice cream across Italy, describing it as being “too American”.

10. 1989* – Scrabble

Nicolae Ceauşescu, president of Romania, bans the board game, deeming it “too intellectual”.

* – Struggling to source the exact date of this. Do any Staggers followers out there know more about the Great Romanian Scrabble Ban?


You can follow Rob Higson on Twitter.