A note I wrote about 2 years back, but seemed relevant when I saw the recent news of a lady moral policing girls on their choice of clothes.
The other day a good friend of mine sent me a chic picture of hers, dilly-dallying by a side-walk in a metro city abroad. She was sporting a cute knee-length skirt and a matching tank top and my immediate response was, “You look so pretty in that western attire, why wouldn’t you wear these here in Trivandrum?”, to which she sheepishly retorted just a di-syllable, “Naanam”. I paused for a moment to recall few other lady friends and colleagues of mine who have given similar explanations or rather explanations that were disguised under layers of other phrases but essentially meant the same thing my friend just said.
So what makes bold independent women of the 21st century still feel apprehensive of wearing attractive modern attire that suit them a 100 times more than the sloppy salwars and kameez that infact even stand out as sore thumbs in a corporate setting.
I can only think of 2 reasons :
The first is the fact that our society is extremely judgemental and is audacious enough to give out verdicts about everything and anything in other people’s lives – beginning with the way they dress, eat, talk, the circle they move in, to the most inconsequential of matters. And they have multiple channels with which they broadcast these judgements. Most common being –
1. ‘piercing looks’ that make you feel like digging a grave and burying yourself in it rather than face the stares
2. vociferously, but ‘behind your back’ and never on the face
3. ‘subtle comments’ under the guise of small talk
4. ‘blatant mockery’ for which your clothes, shoes, makeup, hair anything could be subject to
The second reason I can think of, is the fact that we are all brought up without being told an imperative fact of life – ‘What other people think of us is none of our business’! It does not matter to our lives in any tangible way. It only has power when WE give it power. If we choose to ignore the words or thoughts of others it will burn down to ashes and have no effect whatsoever on our lives or peace of mind.
Even while brought up by well-educated parents they forgot to instill this thought inside of us. I hope at least we don’t trivialise this and would make sure we inculcate this thought while raising the next generation, for this brutal prejudiced world is always ready with its unforgiving whip that doles out unwarranted sentences for every turn our children may take.