I have been fighting with myself since a couple of months. Should I write about it or not? Its a very touchy topic, do I invite wrath, debate, criticism, flak? Whatever. I finally decided to write. It so happens that I get into a discussion on this particular topic with my friends, my mentor or simply my peers at work; more often than not, I am amused and appalled at the views of few people, shocked at their ideas; specially when it comes from learned, educated and exposed "I know the world" types.
Its nothing other than the choice of dress women wear. Let me dig the dirt here. What I learnt from all the discussions I have had is certain people have some mindset, they are stereoscopic and don't want to change. They stick to the thought and don't want to listen.
Many people have the opinion that Saree is the most elegant and 'respectable' attire that a woman should wear. Salwars and chudidhars are acceptable and are traditional. Jeans and shirts are vulgar and must be banned.
I and my mentor started a discussion few days back when I was asked 'Why do women wear transparent shirts?' He was of the view that it was not in good taste when women wear light shirts. I absolutely agreed with that. I added that as long as they made proper arrangement with the inner wears, it should be elegant enough. How can you expect all the shirts that are manufactured to be thick and opaque?
Lets take a light colored shirt, a crispy white one. Its an elegant, official costume anyone would want to wear to work. But, there's a problem. There can be no white shirt which would not be transparent. Does it mean women must forget white shirts altogether? Or should it always be paired with a thick jacket?
To support my statement, Saree is the most elegant attire you can ever find. But wont you agree if I said that it was the most sexiest attire too? Imagine a situation where a voluptuous lady is wearing a pair of trousers and a T shirt. She is seated and as she gets up, her T shirt raises up and reveals a bit of skin near the hip. Its so disgusting isn't it? We would all complain, "What an awkward situation. Why do they dress so vulgar?"
What if the lady was in a Saree. A blouse that has a deep neck, the blouse material transparent enough to tell the whole world the color of her inner wear, the neck level way too deep and the back way too deep almost revealing her upper shoulders. And the width of cloth covering her shoulders too narrow to reveal her waist, her belly and her flab; her chest improperly covered!!!
This sight is so common if you see around. Yet people don't feel any sick about it. It doesn't draw the same flak that a T shirt raised to reveal teeny-weeny skin. Is it because its a Saree after all and its a 'respectable' attire at any cost? Compare that with the trouser and a decent shirt which completely covers a women's body to a half-naked Saree. Its absurd.
The same with a salwar kameez. The notion here is that a Salwar-Kameez is a big no-no or is revealing if its not teamed with a veil/dupatta. A friend recently asked me "Didn't they give you a dupatta with this?" This question raised in spite of the fact that the kurta was an appropriate official attire and was in no way in bad taste or revealing. I had to explain him that it was a kurta and it doesn't require a dupatta and its not meant to be worn with a dupatta anyway!!
Talk about fashion absence. Another question I often get asked is "Why do girls wear such tight trousers". A friend frequently asks me. What would I answer him? I tried explaining the anatomy of a women's body, and how wearing a loose pant would look sloppy and awkward. A loose trouser would not fit right and would look funny. And also with these things, there was something more rampant called fashion sense; that there were different styles available - skinny, boot cut, curvy, flared.....and they are all designed to fit a women's body and that it was OK unless it was not vulgar and revealing; which then turns out to be awkward situation for all. But to no effect. His idea is just bland - they are tight.
And to think how people map the attire a lady wears to her character is just unacceptable and outrageous. A decent disciplined lady in a pair of trousers would invite cat calls and whistles than a women in a Saree or a Salwar - yeah paired with a dupatta. That's the mindset. A women in a pair of trousers is always open and available, promiscuous types. What the heck!
When people(I must mention mostly guys, but don't want to create a debate in here) throw their view points, its really shocking to hear just out-dated and narrow views; from guys who are educated, who spend most of their times with women at work, otherwise who are forward and open to other ideas. Some ideas like these are implanted in their brains and they don't want to change, they would rather stick to their stupid views.
What they don't understand is the choice of attire is mostly got to do with the comfort and ease in everyday life and the routine; with more women working and spending time commuting and being at office. A Saree is definitely good, but is it feasible to wear a 9-yard to work each day, commute and manage?
Ultimately, its not about the attire but the way you wear it. Any attire can turn out to be a disgusting one, or turn the women to an elegant mannequin, depending on how they have chose to wear it.