When will India stop obsessing about what women wear?
So we are not surprised. How women dress is clearly the favourite subject of everyone – from khap panchayats to social media trolls (and sometimes it is really hard to see the difference). Actress Priyanka Chopra who met the Prime Minister in Berlin was accused of ‘disrespecting’ him by wearing a knee-length dress. The actor was in Berlin promoting her new program Baywatch and it coinciding with the PM’s visit to Germany as part of his larger Europe tour.
Their conversation has not even got reported. All that was of interest, and was widely covered – was what the actor wore. And this isn’t the metgala folks. It was a meeting with the Prime Minister. Priyanka Chopra angered traditionalists (read trolls) who claimed she was disrespecting PM Narendra Modi by not covering her legs. Twitterati used social media to display anger against her and some to support Priyanka Chopra.
Comments, that came from a place of assumptions, misguided privilege and fake sense of morality perhaps? Priyanka, you were sitting with the Prime Minister of our country. You should have at least had the basic sense of covering your legs,” read one of the comments.
You would think this country needs to grow up. People took objection to the way she sat and the fact she was wearing a dress (as oppose to sari? or salwar? or armoured steelsuit?) Why should people (trolls) have an view on what is moral or immoral about Priyanka Chopra’s clothing?
Acharya Gautam of Hindu Mahasabha said to India Today during a live broadcast that there was a certain heritage of this country and that dressing up should reflect that. “When you are a public figure you are representing your country…you are babooning yourself…India’s known for the modesty of women’s [sic] of India…When you visit Mathura or Kashi etc, those who come from outside of India, they dress in sarees and salwars to chant…they absorb the culture of India.” There possibly cannot be anything wrong about wearing a dress (or anything for that matter.)
Chopra was trolled by men and women alike. In fact on television many female experts expressed need for ‘decorum.’
Clothes are a personal choice. If today Salman Khan had worn shorts or a ganjee to meet Narendra Modi, it’s very unlikely that he would have been trolled. Chopra in fact is looking very elegant, sitting prim and proper and seemingly having a civil conversation. The sad part about this furore over dresses is that few even know what they spoke about. Wouldn’t you be more curious to know what did she say? Did she really pitch Baywatch? Talk about the censor board? Show interest in the ‘Modi jacket’ or express interest in a Rajya Sabha seat? It could have been just anything. That conversation might have been far more interesting than discussing the ‘dress.’
To credit the actor, Priyanka Chopra seemed unperturbed and wrote message on Instagram. “Legs for days… #itsthegenes with @madhuchopra nights out in #Berlin.” This was perhaps a befitting reply to the trolls who had been harassing her.
It’s about time that trolls and opinionators stop measuring tape women. What we wear is our prerogative. If no one trolls half naked sadhus, yoga gurus, men in shorts or anything else – why should women have to go through this?