With daily movements, rallies and protests all to more or less extent screaming for equality, and ending discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientations and the list goes on. The swarming of social media with messages to not judge or discriminate on narrowly perceived identities or stereotypes and, how it is disastrous to a peaceful and inclusive society. still people, especially people in power keep on defining women based on their clothes.
I would quote Uttarakhand’s chief minister, today in a live, “what example they set up before their children and the society!”, talking about a woman wearing ripped jeans, walking with her two children, who runs a NGO. this woman’s ripped jeans apparently marked her unfit to manage her kids and work for a social cause in the eyes of our CM. *Issued in public safety, next time you are out on a walk with your kids and see a woman wearing a ripped jeans. ‘RUN, for they shall destroy ye’*. I didn’t want to say how ridiculous is the logic,as obvious, so i wrote a joke about it.
Was i shocked to hear a CM making such a statement? NO, because similar remarks have been continously made by people in power. there has been an age old nexus between women’s clothes and their sanskar(character,attitude or culture). Ranging from the time, when Hindu Mahasabha suggested to ban jeans for women, to justification of rape because of a women’s dress. what these all have in common is, they perpetuate the widely held beliefs about lack of agency, women’s body as dangerous, something to be covered and hidden, and the narrative of a “bad woman“.
There are plenty of feminist texts and readings on similar matters, if one cares to read, rather than pushing narrow nationalist agendas on the cost of women’s autonomy.