Monday, August 29, 2016

Wrapped or Unwrapped, Women Will be Rapped Either Way

Image Courtesy - www.independent.co.uk


Till a few days back I was madly applauding the ban on Burkini imposed by France on its beaches in the Riviera. Since I fancy myself as more of a doer than a talker, I quickly started compiling a rather long list of unwearables that our junta insists on turning into beachwear that should be banned. For too long I have been traumatised by the sight of portly men flaunting their hairy selves in striped kachhas, snug boxers and demure women taking a dip in the ocean in their saris that promptly turn into parachutes. In fact, on my last visit to Hardwar which was a few decades back, I saw so many ladies bathing in just their petticoats tied over their ample bosoms that I exclaimed ‘Hey Ram’ and died. Haunted, I never went back for another pilgrimage.

Unfortunately my burkini ban euphoria did not last long. The ban was suspended by France's highest administrative court that’ll rather uphold fundamental freedoms than let the government go by its whims. Tcchh…had it been India, these men in wigs would have been charged with sedition and declared anti-nationals. Don’t they know it’s the state that gets to decide what should offend us? It’s pretty simple - what offends them should offend us and if that offends you, GO TO HELL, YOU SCUMBAGS! Oh, and the state also gets to decide what and where hell is.

After I was done with outraging, I changed sides since I prefer remaining on the right side of political correctness. The world is a stage and of what use are my acting skills if I can’t flip my emotions like an omelette on a pan. So, right now I am busy yayying for the French courts for acting in favour of liberty and equality. Why should only men get to decide that we are better off when covered up! Also, if women feel they should be free to expose without inviting judgement, they should also be free to slip into a garment that the world had no idea about till a ban was imposed on it. So, if certain femmes want to wear bikinis at hill stations, I will support their right even it means freezing to death. Don’t Delhi women dress in tiny summery dresses in biting winters and live to tell the tale? Or prefer death by sweating in black tights under a black dress in searing summers to save themselves from the ogle fest every time they step out?

Needless to say, this landmark judgement has come as a huge relief to a certain section of men who have always believed that an ideal woman should dress in a shroud to live a long uneventful life. Women who dress in flimsy, fashionable clothing deliberately provoke men into harassing them, who sometimes insert rods inside their vaginas and butcher their bodies for fun. So it is only natural that men protect themselves by banning women from their sight. Look what happened at Haji Ali. Women with breasts were deliberately bending over while praying, forcing men into having unholy thoughts and distracting them from their destined path of greatness.

What I don’t get is, if men are so fascinated by breasts, why don’t they try growing a pair of their own!

Had Dipa Karmakar attempted the death defying Produnova vault in a demure salwar-kameez and not that shameful one piece garment, she would have felt more comfortable winning a bronze. Had PV Sindhu smashed her way to the Badminton finals in a sari, and not that tiny skirt, she would have done our rich Indian culture proud. Does Sakshi know that by flaunting those amazing biceps, she has closed doors on lucrative matrimonial offers! Who will marry her now? Worse still, who will risk arguing with her? Tell tell!

So please instead of shooing off devout Muslim women in their Burkinis from beaches, let them feel comfortable covered from head to toe!


The question we need to ask ourselves is, why do women feel so comfortable being covered up even at a beach that demands dressing down to your basics to facilitate ease of movement? Or why certain Muslim women find the hijab liberating and not a tool of oppression!

I think they are seeking emancipation from the prying gaze that’s always judging for showing too little or too much of skin. So what’s a little discomfort if it means freedom to do what you want without inviting censure! Sadly our choice of attire continues to define us as a person, regardless of our achievements and triumphs. If we dress for comfort, we are frumpy. If we dress fashionable, we must be frivolous and vain. If we wear too little, we are begging for attention and if we are wearing too much, we are slaves to patriarchy.

The sad truth is, whether it’s a bikini or a burkini, we continue to be reduced to a mere object who carries the burden of expectations on her shoulders. We don’t dress for ourselves but for others and the reactions it may evoke. We have to worry about what the cabbie might think if he sees us in shorts or that tiny dress. Women at workplaces would rather choose androgynous attires to be taken seriously and avoid unwanted attention.

Our bodies are in a constant tug war between custodians of morality and champions of modernity.

So let’s not be too hasty in celebrating the lifting of burkini ban as a triumph for womankind. Because dressing up or dressing down is never really our choice to make.





61 comments:

  1. Well said Purba.
    Our bodies are in a constant tug war between custodians of morality and champions of modernity.
    And men should definitely consider growing a pair for themselves. Lol.

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    Replies
    1. Someone rightly said - the more things change, the more they remain the same.

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  2. Thought provoking and hard hitting as usual. Time people learn to mind their own business rather than being judgemental about attire of women. Let them decide what they want to dress like.

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    1. Simple. It gives them power to control others.

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  3. "forcing men into having unholy thoughts and distracting them from their destined path of greatness" :D Destined path of greatness of course!! hahaha
    True Purba, what we wear cannot change mindsets.

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    1. I have nothing against burkini then to say why she has to stand apart to enjoy the swim in a costume so uncomfortable? Just because of her religious intolerance?
      No Hindu women is comfortable dipping in Ganga with 5 meters clothes wrapped on her.
      Let the body have a feel of water

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    2. I have nothing against burkini then to say why she has to stand apart to enjoy the swim in a costume so uncomfortable? Just because of her religious intolerance?
      No Hindu women is comfortable dipping in Ganga with 5 meters clothes wrapped on her.
      Let the body have a feel of water

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    3. Since we can't, we must adjust to suit their sensibilities.

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  4. Leave alone cultures where there are lots of do s and don't s.... Every time there is an Oscars show I see websites analyzing head to toe of what actresses wore, who was well dressed, who was not... What was ok, what was not! No matter where one is, i think there will be someone to enforce what you wear or taunt you about what you wear.... Why did cavemen invent clothes? Sigh!

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    1. I think the original intent was to protect us from the vagaries of nature and now it's to protect us from others :p

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  5. Leave alone cultures where there are lots of do s and don't s.... Every time there is an Oscars show I see websites analyzing head to toe of what actresses wore, who was well dressed, who was not... What was ok, what was not! No matter where one is, i think there will be someone to enforce what you wear or taunt you about what you wear.... Why did cavemen invent clothes? Sigh!

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  6. Quite a-musing :)
    Hell yeah! this whole issue has been making me uncomfortable.
    I was never sure what approximate distance, from the ocean, was I supposed to start disrobing! What if I was visiting Nice and staying in a beach front hotel? Would it have sufficed to carry just a fanny pack to France?...Le Foock all the big samsonites!

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    Replies
    1. I start undressing the moment I board the flight to Goa :p

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  7. Wouldn't it be great if women too start dictating men's attire... like no shirt fridays for firemen. I mean it's all about equality right. I almost died laughing at that petticoat part. ROFL ... one visit to the beach is enough. This fixation on women's body and attire - by both men and women is further increased by media. How can a man never have wardrobe malfunction baffles me! As always enjoyed reading your post :)

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    1. In fact we should start dictating what men should wear. Say no to gold chains and shiny shirts!

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  8. Free will is a misnomer. Time we accept it. Only then we can do something about it, if we do something , that is.

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    1. As long as we are dependent on others for our safety and security, we cannot exercise free-will

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  9. Your posts amuse,but they also give lots to chew Purba. Who the hell can tell me what to wear?I will wear what I feel comfortable in.
    What if women started dictating to men about what is decent-wear and what is not?Will any court pass laws about that?

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    1. I just wish the rule 'dress according to context and others' sensibilities' was not just applicable to us.

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  10. "Ideal woman should dress in a shroud to live a long uneventful life". That's the religious view of women Maa Purba.

    You are now proclaimed a rock star (of straight talks)

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    1. To stupid to say things in a roundabout manner.

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  11. Though I am laughing all the way, the point is very simple.. why do somebody else is getting to decide / comment on what women wear ? And are there no issues left in the world that from Ministers in India to Courts in France all are hyped up about " What women should wear or not wear" ??

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    1. Exactly! But we'd rather fight over control over other people's' lives.

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  12. The thing is, we are still under the patriarchal domination. Irrespective of our dresses, we will be criticized.

    It was a good laugh, as usual, Purba... :-) .

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  13. Well I am not very happy with the decision.. its a nightmare for security. and I know from experience as you know.. Really a tough call in tricky situations.. BUT if it is required then I don't mind security asking me to strip.

    I think the case in France was more on Security risk rather than what is allowed or not allowed ..

    Bikram's

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    1. I think in this case it was more of Islamophobia. And given the recent events, they have enough reasons.

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  14. Amusingly thoughtful as always:):)

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  15. Men are children confronted with breasted women ☺

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  16. Your sparkling post is a bit late in the time-warp when 21st century has already crash-landed into seventh century AD, as in swaths of Syria and Iraq ruled by The Caliphate that is spreading its tentacles faster than you can say 'Boo!' and is eyeing an Independence Day (from Infidels) speech from the Red Fort. Oh, it will be painted black in a jiffy —a small nagging matter, a la Burqa, or Burquini, which makes me think why all those girls and women are flocking the Caliphate to become Black Widows and Jihadi Janes, and don black tents. And also, can someone tell me why is Baqra Dutt (a custodian of morality or a champions of modernity?) trying to nip at the heels of Ayaan Hirsi Ali who eventually decided to call a spade a spade?

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    Replies
    1. Maybe the polarisation always existed or maybe social media giving anyone with a keypad a voice has amplified it.

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  17. I loved reading it. The men who roams bare chested, has an objection for women wearing a jeans. Cause it is in their genes to not appreciate beauty but get distracted enough to pursue violent acts. Saints we are!

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    1. We are bombshells and cause unspeakable trauma to mankind if we are not covered properly.

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  18. You said it so well - 'dressing up or dressing down is never really our choice to make'
    How much I love wearing skirts and gowns but I know the society I live in will frown me to death. My choice of dressing is limited to only during vacations.

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  19. Very well said ---every word is food for thought

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  20. Despite the gravity of the issue, I cannot stop laughing at the last line of your opening para....Who or what resurrected you, by the way...? :D...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Boredom. Being dead is super boring.

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  21. You said such a serious matter in such a funny manner! I hope, this world also understands this.

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  22. Guess, you will fine me boring saying every time that your posts are provoking enough that will soon be declared an anti-national. Dressing is a personal choice, I feel and yeah, French Government intolerance level is laughable. Thank God for their court:)

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    1. I'm still conflicted. On one hand I feel, when you move to a new country, you should adopt their social mores, as Rachna has mentioned. On the other hand I feel, the state has no business telling its citizens what to wear.

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  23. I think globally especially Europe that has seen a spate of terror attacks is actually experiencing Islamophobia. It is a difficult experience integrating their Muslim population. My opinion is that if one lives in a particular country, then one has to follow their cultural mores. Unfortunately, Islam has not kept up with the rest of the world. I think it is within the rights of a country and its citizens to decide the rules they wish to frame. My question is will the Islamic states give anyone else any right to choose how to dress/speak/behave in their own countries? And don't we all just accept that as normal? Then why is this such an outrage?

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    1. I agree. I just mentioned what I feel in the comment above.

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  24. Thanks for writing about this with humour Purba - which is actually the only way to deal with it as it is so ridiculous. I don't think it's about Islamophobia - although that is definitely prevalent - no it's about an idea of secularism that is different from India's - which is inclusive. The french idea of secularism is more about - No religion.

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    1. If I hadn't, none of you would have read it :-)

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  25. Aah, the age old debate of our dress codes. This goes on forever! You've beautifully showed how very silly all of this is. People will judge you anyway, be it burkini or bikini or anything else for the matter. We can do nothing except just deal with it.

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    1. Or be strong enough to ignore it :-)

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  26. Because dressing up or dressing down is never really our choice to make. ~ Could't have been said in a better way.

    Once again, you make me laugh on the sad reality. Here is something that won't make you laugh, but it is the sad reality: http://www.expressinglife.in/2016/09/poetry-desperate-era.html

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  27. This "Don't Do" list is for politicians to play with issues.....
    Seriously,you should have heard Amitabh Bachchan this morning on ABP news reading out letter he wrote to his grand daughters referring to size of skirts etc,etc,etc..

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  28. Your concern in terms of feminism are acceptable.

    But we live in society with some norms. imagine male professor coming to class in his boxers, is it not unacceptable? Like wise even women should also have some norms to follow. off course these are to be set by them selves not men defined.

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    1. What holds true for women is also true for men.

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  29. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  30. Aamiyo chai kokhonu chaaddi pore ber hote..kintu ei somajer jonno korte parina...ki dukhkho...

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  31. Purba Ma'am, this blog post sounded slightly negative since truth is always sour but the content was well-written. In our country, many people ogle at womens' waists, hips n navel when they wear sarees so we can't blame western attire. Thanks for the post. Regards, @IndianTrainFan on Twitter :)

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Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

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