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Letting Respect Come In The Way Of Self-Love?

Posted: June 14, 2021

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This definitely does not mean that women can only be empowered by wearing comfortable clothing, but they need to and they should be free to dress how they please.

With the rising feminism and women getting an equal hand at education, India is gradually progressing towards becoming liberal for women. We are moving towards accepting our own bodies and coming out as independent and confident ladies.

This however, has not been achieved in an absolute sense, given that even now, we choose what we should wear not adhering to the occasion, but to the mode of transport that we are planning to avail of. If I were to go to a party in an auto rickshaw, I would never choose to wear my favorite backless short dress, because you never know, that can anytime be looked at as ‘she is asking for it’.

Pulling off the tag of being ‘Sanskari’

Growing up, most of us are subjected to inherent sexism at home by our own families. We are told to dress ‘appropriately’ which for most of the elderly is equivalent to being a ‘well behaved’ or a ‘sanskari’ woman.

But why can’t they respect our choices? And why is it that only a woman needs to carry the burden of being sanskari, not the men? While this comes mostly from the elderly that is the grandparents, it also owes to the generation gap. In the era from where our grandparents come, India was just emerging out of British colonization. At that point in time, women empowerment was not much thought upon, and most of the women lived under the shadows of their male counterparts. They were expected to be sari clad and baby bearers. India was was far off from even the hints of feminism in those days.

Our grandparents have lived in those times and they are used to women dressing ‘appropriately’. 50 years from today, say if humans started living and roaming around naked in the streets, we would find it uncomfortable because we are living in times where clothing is still an essential part of our lifestyle, be it short or long. Likewise, the elderly today might find the liberal way of dressing uncomfortable and disrespectful. But the question here is, should we not dress how we please? Should we choose to respect them over our own well-being?

Shouldn’t dressing oneself be a birthright?

Throwing this off to teenagers at such a vulnerable age can make them conscious about their image. They might end up not being confident with their own bodies and owning themselves which plays a very important role in empowering young women. This definitely does not mean that women can only be empowered by wearing comfortable clothing, but they need to and they should be free to dress how they please. If a baseless tradition comes into play in between, should we restrain ourselves from being confident and rather be ‘respectful’? And is this the only way we can be a ‘good girl’ for the society? Even today, should our clothing be the sole determinant of our character?

Image source – Jill Wellington on pexels

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