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: