Dress Up Or Down, The Choice Is Yours

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What constitutes Indian attire for women? What’s Dress Like An Indian Woman? A hashtag #DressLikeAnIndianWoman went viral recently, in a way that’s telling of what and how we think. Can clothing make a human more or less of a woman? By Gazal Shekhawat in Pune reports.

Diversity In Attire

The answer to the first question is not as simple. In our minds, Indian attire for women has been limited to sarees, salwar kameez and bindis without taking into account the diversity. As Aaditi Rao, a student of journalism from Pune, puts it: “Am I to dress like a Goan catholic woman in a skirt and blouse, a bare-breasted adivasi woman, or like the thousands of college-going women I see around me, in jeans and T-shirts, dresses or skirts?”

what kind of Indian women do we want to be?

Saanchi Machhan, an MBBS student from Himachal Pradesh shares a picture of herself in a lab coat. “When I’m dressing, I don’t relate that to being Indian. I can wear anything I want and I happen to be Indian” she says.

An Object To Be Showcased?

Many young women question the impunity with which people dictate what women wear. “I feel objectified if I am told what to wear. It’s like you are decorating your room and if you don’t like the arrangement, you want to change it,” says Anmol Saxena, a young student from Jaipur.

Targeting the stereotypical demands, Pratyusha Varanasi, a media student, says: “Primarily dressing Indian implies no cleavage or show skin (which makes no sense, because even sarees reveal a lot) and to basically look like you’re a cultured girl ready to be paraded around as a prospective bride all the time. Dupatta compulsory.”

women question the impunity with which people dictate what women wear

Absurd Demands

Anushurti Savarnya, a law from the Jindal Global University, explains her frustrations: “It is a struggle to define my boundaries and confine them and still be violated inside my Lakshman Rekha, which was in the first place supposed to protect me.”

“The idea that women can get PCOD by dressing like a man is utterly absurd in every sense. Does this mean if a man wears conventional female clothing, he will develop female reproductive organs and start popping out babies?” says Aroshi Handu, a student of media from Pune.

Arundhati Bhande, a film-making student, sees clothing as a form of self-expression. “If that wasn’t important, then there wouldn’t be a three trillion dollar industry flourishing in the global market.”


As for the question about what Indian men behave like, a majority of girls we talked to wanted to spare men from the kind of generalisation women face. Yet, they acknowledge how society expects them to be dominant, emotionless and proud. In that case, do we even wish to behave like men?

If not, what kind of Indian women do we want to be? The submissive Indian woman whose destiny is written by others or the one who is self-reliant, brave and overcomes pressure? Comments like this one make the choice clear for us. You have a view? Write in the comments section below. We would love to know your thoughts

Gazal is an intern with SheThePeople.TV

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