Thursday, November 10, 2005

Provocation - dress code for women

Uma (of IndianWriting) has a link to this absymal piece of trashy writing on the otherwise dependable Hindu daily. The author argues:

Though there is definitely some logic in the question, "Then, why should men eve-tease and molest even the decently-dressed girls?" a sane girl would ponder the consequences of inviting avoidable trouble on herself by wearing such dresses that border on obscenity by posing herself the counter-question, "When most men cannot behave decently even with decently dressed women, what a more dangerous situation an indecently dressed girl would be inviting upon herself?"...

The mode of dress has nothing to do with decency, but the mode of wearing it has something to do with it! A girl in salwar-kameez shall look more modest than in a sari, if she puts on a dhuppatta for covering her upper body and pins it to her kameez at appropriate spots, as suggested by the woman principal mentioned above...

Some girls raised a hue and cry that pinning the dhuppatta would restrict the movements of their hands, but it is not so, if one judiciously does it. Even if girls feel that dhuppatta is irksome, the upper part of the kameez could be provided with frills in such a way that it would give a modest look to it.

My dear girls! Have not you observed where the gaze of men around you and opposite you travels on your bodies, irrespective of their being either close relatives or strangers? Some of them are so clever as to look at you that way when you look away from them... Let us not make even decent men indecent by wearing indecorous dresses and T-shirts with obscene wordings...

Let us not, in the name of equality, liberty and modernity, tread the path of the so-called liberated women of the West.

In my opinion, the above article is neither well-written, nor well-researched. Moreover, the points the author wishes to make are preponderous as well as belabored. However, the article has given me an opportunity to rant my vitriol on one of my pet-hates. Here goes !!

"When most men cannot behave decently even with decently dressed women, what a more dangerous situation an indecently dressed girl would be inviting upon herself?" This is exactly like saying that 'Even houses without watch-dogs get burglarized, so what chance does a house without a watch-dog have? Lets go buy a couple of watch-dogs immediately!". Make much sense? Well, exactly the sense the asinine rhetoric above makes, I'd say.

As for a 'dupatta to cover upper-portion of the body', DUH !! These 'upper portions' are mammary glands, also known as BREASTS - ever heard of the term? Ah, this 'dupatta' rule is ridiculous. I have encountered this rule in my college too (don't wish to take names, but this college is referred to as the 'second-best' college in Coimbatore after PSG) - 'have dupatta pinned on at all times'. I wonder, are these ridiculous rules made up by guys or gals - I bet its guys, though I have encountered some strange women too. After deep thought, I have to conclude that these law-makers must be repressed (and probably sexually frustrated too). Thankfully, the rules don't say anything on undergarments! Wonder why men's pants are not provocative, though (this is why I stipulate that most of these rules are made by men!) - they do all that a dupatta-less salwar does i.e. permit 'clothed-exposure' of a 'sexy' body-part. Nobody bothers about us males - am insulted on behalf of the entire male specied!

'The upper part of the dupatta could be provided with provide a modest look' - wtf !!! Do dupattas have frills? I dunno, sounds wierd to me anyway. I have the perfect 'modest' garment all designed...a salwar with a sewed on dupatta (much like the 'tied' dhotis/lungis available nowadays). The dupatta has to reach all the way upto the chin, and has to be covered with blossoming flowers and, of course, lots and lots of frills.

'My dear girls !'...ROFL !! Hee Haw !! This is as condescending as they become. I do not wish to reply to this point, except to say that if a guy offends a gal, fell free to abuse him, or even better to drag him to the nearest police station. And when I say offend, please take this in the strictest sense of the word. Looking is not always offensive, but touching or passing lewd comments definitely is. But forcing girls to dress conservatively is obviously not the answer - its their right to choose what they want to wear. And what somebody wears is her/her business, nobody else's.

As for 'treading the path of...the West', let me reiterate that salwars are in no way Indian (check out Anne's related post here). By that yardstick, neither can be dupattas. So much for the 'West' influence.

End-result? Things are changing, albeit slowly. Unless more and more of us protest voceiferously against this kind of ill-informed propaganda, such sick unspoken rules will increase in our schools, colleges and even cities. Stand up, and be counted.

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