SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea's communist government is urging women in the country to wear traditional Korean clothes instead of pants, according to a North Korean monthly magazine.
"Keeping alive our dress style is a very important political issue to adhere to specific national cultural traditions at a time when the U.S. imperialists are maneuvering to spread the rotten bourgeois lifestyle inside North Korea (search)," the Joson Yeosung (Woman) magazine said, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
The magazine said exotic dress dampens the revolutionary atmosphere in society and blurs national sentiment and asked the public to reject clothes that aren't North Korean style. Instead, it counsels women to wear Hanbok (search) — the brightly colored, loose-fitting dresses that are traditional in the Koreas.
The campaign comes as North Korea struggles to tighten its control over an influx of outside influences, which it claims is part of a U.S. psychological offensive aimed at toppling the communist regime — a charge Washington denies.
Early this year, the North also launched a social campaign against men with long hair, calling them unhygienic, anti-socialist fools.
The North, which demands unquestioning allegiance of its citizens and controls all media, has stepped up the ideological education of its people to counter outside influences. However, the country's loosely controlled border with China (search) has led recently to increased traffic in smuggled recordings of music and videos from the outside.