North Korean traffic girls, in their uniforms deigned by the Great Leader, with their unfailingly robotic movements and riveting focus, are becoming figures of cult status. Instead of traffic lights to control the stop and go flow of an intersection, women dressed in perfectly crisp and identical outfits stand alone in the middle of intersections in a small circle (or on a platform with an umbrella for shade). They are only allowed to turn counter-clockwise, directing traffic with forceful, halting movements. They have wonderful uniform variations for rain and winter. They’ve been the subject of photographic study since at least the 1970s, have the website Pyongyang Traffic Girls dedicated to them (with Traffic Girl of the Month; here’s March), a growing catalog of user submitted YouTube videos, and at least one Flickr photo pool. Are they sexy? Strangely, yes. Are they efficient? Frightfully so. Do we have our Halloween costume now? Most certainly.
photo by Bryan Hughes
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