Dear Sabyasachi, You Don’t Get To Decide What’s Overdressing
Designer Sabyasachi has drawn flak on social media for his Instagram post which says that “overdressed” women are wounded inside. “If you see a woman ‘overdressed’, caked with makeup, armoured with jewellery, it is most likely that she is wounded. Bleeding inside, silently. Holding on to her pride and dignity, shining for the world, though within her innermost being there is a dark, blinding pain. Take some time off to give her your precious company, heal her with your empathy, because sometimes nothing can replace human warmth. Not even the most precious of jewellery,” read his post. In one sweeping motion, Sabyasachi labelled basically all his past, present and future customers as unhappy and wounded. Being a bridal favourite, don’t his clients don make-up and jewellery on their big day? Besides, why must he judge women for what or how much jewellery or make-up they choose to wear?
- Sabyasachi’s post calling women who ‘overdress’ bleeding inside is receiving flak on social media.
- He is a world-class designer, Sabyasachi still doesn’t get to tell women how not to dress.
- Who gets to say what amount of jewellery and make up is too much? Just the person wearing it.
In one sweeping motion, Sabyasachi labelled basically all his past, present and future customers as unhappy and wounded.
Sabyasachi’s post is being called misogynist and stereotypical, as it boxes women with a certain kind of taste as ‘bleeding’ and struggling to retain their dignity and pride. Being a celebrated designer Sabyasachi may have his opinion on dressing or doing make-up a certain way, but we live in a free world. Women can do what they want. It is condescending to call someone overdressed or caked with make-up and follow it up with words like holding on to pride. No sir, I wear my red lipstick everywhere with pride and there is no pain, not even the blinding kind, in my ‘innermost’ being. Some may find it too much, but my lips, my face, my rules.
Similarly, a woman can wear as much jewellery, make-up she likes or dress the way she wants to, as long as she does it out of her choice, and removed from social conditioning. Women are locked in a battle against aesthetics and the burden to forever look good which falls on them due to social norms. But we aren’t fighting against having to wear make-up, or heavy silk sarees, or kilos worth of gold jewellery. We are fighting to have a choice. For long feminism’s pro-choice stand has been misinterpreted as pro-minimalism. In an attempt to appear liberal and progressive, advertisers (and whoever wrote this script) often sell overdressing as a sign of emptiness. The result is misplaced statements like these which alienate women.
No sir, I wear my make-up with pride and there is no pain, not even the blinding kind, in my ‘innermost’ being. Some may find it too much, but my lips, my face, my rules
Besides, what even does overdressing mean? Can we have one parameter for all occasions and all women? On many occasions, my red lipstick may come across as overdone to someone. But on another occasion, even a full-fledged makeup may look a little less from someone else’s perspective. Who gets to say what is right or what is appropriate or what is too much? Easy, the person wearing it. Also, an “overdressed” woman may not exactly be looking for someone’s shoulder to cry on and heal. She may not be looking for company at all. Perhaps all she wants to do is to dress the way she has and have the time of her life. So just leave her alone.
Picture Credit: India Today
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are author’s own