As a kid, I remember, I was never allowed to wear shorts or sleeveless tops. “But Papa,” I’d try to reason, “What’s wrong with it?” He’d squint his eyes and I’d know that I needed to change into something ‘decent’ ASAP, never understanding why.
But, today, when I bring those distant memories and the daily encounters with reality together, the picture is much clearer but absurd at the same time. A woman’s choice of her attire is considered a man’s business. If the man does not find it socially acceptable, she is supposed to ethically withdraw from her ‘whims’ and get into something appropriate.
Defy it, lady, and you shall be called a slut. Sounds familiar?
This is the society that’s afraid to accept anything new. This is the society that will mock at you just because you care more about your comfort than their chiding remarks. This is the society that will try to disgrace you because you choose to ignore their mocking grins.
Isn’t it purely logical that if it’s my body, it IS my right to dress it up the way I choose? Why is decency weighed by the length of clothes and not by the intentions? How can clothes be a reason to justify a rape or harassment? Does the same society not think that if provoking men by clothes alone is enough, they are too easy? How then are we women the sluts?
Surely, reading about the Constitution of India, we were bound to understand that we have the freedom to express ourselves by the things we talk, the dresses we wear, the professions we choose, the ambitions we follow and the art we create. It’s too late to tell us otherwise.