Sunday, 28 December 2014

Female Attire: Food for Thought:

Dear Friends

 Few months back, playback singer K J Yesudas opined that,    women by wearing jeans disturbed men .His statement sparked a controversy in Kerala resulting in an FIR filed against him.  Recently , a similar hullabaloo was created  in Gujarat when a female mayor of Rajkot   suggested , to some  girl students,  not to wear tight fitting jeans as it is against  ‘Indian Culture ‘. Prior to such comments from noted personalities, there were instances of right wing fringe groups making similar remarks, on the female attire and its link to rising incidence of rapes in India. The female jeans and the issue of moral policing have always been food for fodder for feminists and liberals flocks. Their   TV debates    resembling   the fish markets of sub urban Mumbai, are almost a daily feature.

The female attire precipitating carnal desires on weak  veined men, resulting in the insensible among them loose control and attempting rape is  not just the fear of today. This issue confronted all patriarchs   since time immemorial. During  medieval times   women in India wore   loin cotton cloths paving way for their abduction and enslavement by invaders. The tradition of women from northern India covering their face sideways was  imposed by society as a safeguard from such abductions. Even the sari clad women were deemed ‘’sexy’’ by men of yesteryear and this  eventually resulted in the entry of the safe Salwar Kameeze into the Punjab plains. Unfortunately this loose drape have conquered the lands beyond the Vindhya mountains , into deep forests  that  even the adivasi  dames  from attapadi  in Kerala wears it -forbidding  the chance of seeing  those black beauties  with their bare  boobs -

There was a debate among the social circles of 19th century Malabar , on whether   nair and other sudra  women should be allowed to wear rouka - a  loin cloth covering the breast - as hitherto upper caste  namboothiris  never allowed them to cover their breasts . In a caste ridden society of those times only the upper caste namboothiri  women were allowed to wear  rouka  which was the ancient version of  our present day braziers. The lower caste women were not allowed to wear the rouka apparently as a matter of discrimination and differentiation not to mention of the plush and lascivious sights it provided to upper caste Hindu men.  From studying  the ancient frescoes it is amply  clear that the present day female jacket is a new social construct based on those hidden sensibilities echoed by Yesudas  and others.

In the western world, till the Victorian times, women’s clothing were poised to be elegant and grand , aimed to  communicate  a social standing and generate  respect from men . The women depicted in Jane Austins’s  novels conveyed such a   value system . The post 20th century consumerist culture connected women’s dress to male desire for the promotion of goods and services.   Recollect the panty clad IPL cheer girls and chinki models adoring  Japanese cars during an Auto show . Recollect your peeping between the legs of that defunct Kingfisher air hostesses from your aisle seat. It is a fact that knickers always gave that kick and modern day women's  clothing is meant for creating desire in men and envy among fellow women. If this  is the change seen today why not we accept it rather than creating a   rape psychosis and a moral debate

While coming back to bulging buttocks of  jeans clad bharatiya nari  and its carnal effect on men , please accept that  rule of a changeless attire  never applied to women’s clothing . It always changed in a patriarchal society the way men felt about it. At this  time when there is a conflict between tradition and modernity such moral debates shall  continues to exist.

Finally the bulged bottom, whether it is a protruded septic tank, or a piece of art or an object of desire depends  on the beholder and let us leave the choice to their  eyes. Social  changes are  ceaseless and no one can stop it .The debate ends there …Period:


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