By Ms. Selene Alina and voice over by Ms. Akanksha Seth
The recent statement by one of the Chief Ministers of an Indian states associating ripped jeans and inability of a woman to nurture a child has brought in a lot of distraught. In addition to drawing flak from many sections of the society, the statement threw light on the fact that till date there are people, more so in prominent positions, who feel that a woman’s clothing and attire is a subject to approval at various levels- family, society, culture, and so on.
There have been multiple instances when girls sporting western dresses and walking on busy streets have been a subject of ghosting, cat calling, and eve teasing. Leave behind Western dresses, sexual assaults reported by women have no bearing on the type of attire the woman dons. A traditionally dressed woman had been at equal risk of being harassed, which reinstates that dressing is not related to such gross and heinous crimes committed to them. More so women with colored hair and a tattoo, adds to greater wows for them. Why? Because their projection in Society is made as bold and modern. And as per many, if a woman is modern why would she mind having casual relationships? Society forgets that modernity had nothing to do with consent and beliefs. Each woman dressing up “differently” as expected by them, is not inviting their gazes or character- assassinating comments. She has a free will to live; live life of her beliefs, which can be done even without fitting into the expected box cast by Society.
I know quite a few girls with a tattoo, colored hair streaks, and working in corporate at odd hours. They are no less of women capable of managing homes, as they manage their households and family circles with such multi tasking abilities. They have been no less of mothers as they are a regular attendee of the parents’ teacher meetings their child’s school calls for, or a primary caregiver when their child is unwell. They are no less of a manager at home when it comes to managing expenses and making a log of monthly activities and functions to attend by family, or maybe planning a get together with family friends. When they are no less in any role, why label them with titles like “incapable”, “uncultured”, “selfish” and so on! Do you ever bother to gaze at a man dressed in shorts and having tattoos all over, roaming busy streets in broad daylight? No, you don’t! Precisely because you think that his role is not that of imparting values and nurturing. But, you attach these heavy roles and responsibilities to a woman without even giving her a slightest of leeway that she can have a life of her own. Why this injustice and unequal bars of expectations?
Hey, girl with tattoo and ripped jeans, just keep this one thing in mind, that you are perfect in your own way. The society may try to impose it’s baggage of expectations upon you- of what is right and what is not; that you should do this and not do that. In order for you to be classifies as a “perfect” wife, mother, or daughter, the check list would be huge and over whelming. Just give it a damn and move ahead in life. For you have commitments more important than these trifles. And because, people throw stones only at fruit laden trees. More power to you to excel in all good that you do.