Why Did My Manager Ask, “Have You Seen What You Are Wearing?”

It was our first job, and we were absolutely clueless. Soon, we were seated in front of him. He asked us, “Have you seen what you are wearing?”

My friend and I were summoned by our training Manager. We both wondered and looked at each other interrogatively, but we found no answers. We hadn’t done anything against the rules or the diktats of the workplace.

It was our first job, and we were absolutely clueless. Soon, we were seated in front of him. He asked us, “Have you seen what you are wearing?”

We both looked at each other. Having been born and brought up in a city with metropolitan culture, we had never thought that skirts and dresses with long sleeves were indecent for a classroom session! We had been wearing these dresses even in our Engineering College with grace.

We were made to apologise

We were both twenty-one, very young enough for a high-profile job, but matured enough to understand the underlying thoughts of this different world we were in. Sadly, we were made to apologise.

The year was 1990. Maybe, changes had not yet taken place in most of the places, was the justification.

We had a pair of jeans other than the skirts and dresses, and they were also thought to be indecent according to him. We forcibly went to the market and got salwar-suits and chudidar-suits for ourselves.

Why could he dictate our clothing choices?

However, a part of me had died that day, which many of my friends didn’t understand at that time. Even some female colleagues back then had said, “You were over-smart. You weren’t following societal norms.”

Understanding well that there was worthless argument ahead, if we protested or expressed our opinions, we followed what we were instructed.

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Deep down, it still bothered. How can someone else decide what we had to wear? Was it not our choice? Why explain everyone? Who decided those societal norms? Weren’t it an amalgamation of “US”? Apparently not!

When I see young girls wearing what they wish today, I feel so good. Of course, I still wear whatever pleases me at home, but there’s a lump in the throat even now!

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Image source: CanvaPro

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About the Author


Neelam Saxena Chandra is an Engineering graduate from VNIT and has done her Post Graduation Diploma in IM&HRD and also in Finance. She has completed a summer course in Finance from London School of read more...

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