Do not wear shorts, your legs are up for appraisal. Always wear a shrug with spaghetti tops, so as to avoid bra straps. Cover your head in scorching heat so as to avoid dryness of hair. Don’t wear a burkini when going to visit France. Do not wear skirts in crowded places. Always dress up traditionally at weddings. But, if wearing sarees, make sure your cleavage isn’t showing, neither too much of your back. Open your hair, if wearing cut-sleeves tops. What good are long hair, if not for covering skin, right?
It’s many a times that I have listened and adhered to some clothing norms from my parents or elders that I am definitely supposed to follow. Clothing norms are a thing, a reality in every girls’ life. Who would think after so many norms, there would be issues about clothing too, right? Woes of womanhood, in general.
Democracy is a nationalist debate, we women, are still struggling with the statement of ‘I have nothing to wear.’
Yes, it is true, we have nothing to wear. The jokes, the puns and satires surrounding this particular statement is so much in existence that everyone is aware of it. We are made fun of, and are consequently stereotyped due to this. However, let’s put another perspective as to why we have nothing to wear.
Every piece of clothing that I wear when going out and doing my daily activities, invites judgments tagged along with certain clothing rules that I should always adhere to. Wearing a dress is too provocative, wearing black is another different story inviting religious context as well. I don’t dress how I feel, I will always dress as to what society might think of it. No matter whether or not I feel comfortable in some attire, as long as its society approved, it’s good to go.
Today, our Union and Cultural Minister has asked the foreigners visiting our country to not wear skirts in not just Agra, but the country in general. From a safety standpoint, they are asked not to dress provocatively so as to avoid sexual harassment, and various other layers of abuse. Obviously, the authorities can’t be everywhere and save the person from an attack on their body, which is nothing but an act of our always justified and catered to patriarchy. A man can do anything to a woman’s body, because it is subject to his involvement, masculinity and of course desire and assertion.
India is a country of various cultures and diversities, what one might protect another might endanger, however, women are up for universal grabs. So what if our Prime Minister is busy putting India on global front, we will still ridicule and demean any guests that come into our country. Whatever happened to Atithi Devo Bhava. When women in the country are devoured upon, without any consideration, such foreign guests act as nothing but a foreign dish waiting to be explored and demeaned.
And, yes, why stop men roaring and insulting women at large, let’s give them further more incentives, after all, subduing women is a power that men should indulge into, how else will they assert their masculinity?
In such a progressive era, when one should be able to fly high without any inhibitions, we are still clipping away the wings, because, it’s easy, convenient, conforming and yes, boastful too.