Anupama writes a letter to her 18-year old daughter. Read what she has to say.
Women have a right to wear what they feel comfortable in, and dictating to them what they should wear is a sign of regressive thinking.
You are giving wrong signals with the plunging neckline and the rising hemlines.
You should be wearing a saree for a family gathering.
You should not be wearing jeans in college.
You should not wear skirts or sleeveless tops to office.
You are drawing attention to your dress. You will be in trouble.
Don’t go out in revealing dresses at night.
No matter if we are 8 or 80, we always become victims of such moral policing. To all those scrutinising my dressing sense, I want to say that they should leave my dressing sense alone. I get dressed to suit my mood, my comfort, my choice, and my pocket. I do not dress up to impress you. So please stop judging me for what I wear.
I am not trying to say that wearing revealing clothes empowers women or wearing traditional clothes makes them virtuous. It should be about what one wants to wear, not about what you want us to wear.
Since time immemorial we have had restrictions on our speech, attitude, thinking, choice of food, behaviour; just about anything and everything. Clothes are no exception.
We have been told that you should wear pink because you are girls, wear red because you are newly married, wear white because you are a widow, and the worst being, don’t wear colours simply because you are old. You are supposed to wear a saree because you are married. And it is so common to hear comments like ‘You are too fat or too old to wear such a dress.’
For a change, stop being judgemental and let me make my choice. My plunging neckline or my rising hemline is not the yardstick by which you should measure my morality. Since when did wearing a mini skirt become a bigger offence than self-righteousness?
Women have been stopped from entering a place of worship because they did not meet a certain standard of dressing up. Please stop granting us rights based on our clothes. Are we really living in the 21st century where we are recreating human organs and converting water into fuel, but still judging women for their choice of clothes? Are we really living in a progressive nation/society?
Our girls today are being conditioned to believe by people in power that they are not supposed to wear clothes of their choice because they might become prey to sexual predators. To such people in power, I say, “Please assure us of our right to safety,” rather than putting restrictions on what we should wear.
It is also disheartening when a woman judges another woman based on her choice of clothes. Treat your son, daughter, and daughter-in-law alike. We need to realize that we will grow and things will change only when we become more forthcoming and accept the choices that others make without any criticism. Give them the freedom to choose. Do not stop a girl from wearing something because it is “against her culture”. Culture has to evolve with changing times, it has to suit the present day’s need.
So please stop saying ‘She looks slutty!! She is available!! She is easy!’
Stop making such statements based on her choice of clothes. If you really want to know us, come and strike a conversation with us. Look beyond our plunging necklines and rising hemlines and find out if you can match our wits and sensibilities.
Image source: a still from the movie Cocktail
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