#Personal Stories

Beta, What Are You Wearing? Please Wear Some Clothes.

imposter syndrome, Unsplash woman feminist daughter Priscilla Du Preez, feminist mothers, emotional labour, definition of family, desi parents
I was all set to go out and have a good time with my friends. As I was at the main door just to about step my foot out of my house, I hear my father utter those dreadful words, “what are you wearing?” I pause and turn back. He says, “Please wear some clothes and go.” Here is why even as a fashion student i cannot fully embrace clothes.

I was brought up in a digital world which meant access to data was super easy. I grew up watching extraordinary collections by talented and hardworking fashion designers. I remember times in my life where I chose to stay home and watch runway shows rather than hang with my friends during vacations. My parents would hide the scissors because I would cut stuff and start designing using my old clothes. I would get up early in the morning just to read articles by Vogue magazine before going to school. I gave in my everything to get into a fashion college and eventually got in.

In a college group chat, a friend shared an Instagram reel featuring different kinds of outfits worn by students at a fashion college based in a foreign country. I was so amazed. I wanted to do that, I wanted to be that.

But the very same day my fantasy bubble was burst and I was made to look in the awful mirror of reality.

I was ready and all set to go out and have a good time with my friends. As I was at the main door just about to step my foot out of my house, I heard my father utter those dreadful words, “what are you wearing?” I pause and turn back. He says, “Please wear some clothes and go.”

I was wearing shorts and a top. Shorts = Shock in my house. When I told my friends about this incident, I realised nearly every girl goes through something like this. All my pals had an incident to share.

I went back to my room to change. I wore pants that covered my legs. As I looked in the mirror walking out, I realised that I didn’t relate to the clothes I was forced to wear. Fashion was supposed to be a force for change, art and movement. But I was told what I wore weren’t clothes. Worse, that I would be unsafe wearing clothes I’d like to wear.

Now yes, I understand that his comments came from a place of fatherly concern and that he just wanted to ensure my safety but is wearing “covered clothes” really the solution to the rape problem in our country? If some fathers don’t take a stance, how will this mindset change? If more girls don’t wear shorts, we will never normalise wearing clothes.

According to NDTV, 2020 reported 28,046 rape cases in India. Society and parents would like us to believe these were because of a woman’s clothes? Women are raped every hour, whether in sarees, burkhas or shorts. Fixing clothes isn’t the answer, changing mindsets and patriarchy is.

It was clear to me that sexual offences have nothing do with clothing and everything to do with the rubbish patriarchal mindset which tells men that they have the right over a woman’s body.

It’s honestly very belitting to be told to wear “proper” clothes by my elders. How long are we going to play the “her dress said yes” card? It is a defeating the purpose of feminism, the purpose of choice.


Suggested Reading:

Attempted Rape Accused Asked To Iron Clothes: Doesn’t This Trivialise Sexual Crimes?

Shorts Or Bikinis? When Women’s Clothes Become More Important Than The Game

Priyanka Chopra Encourages Repeating Clothes, Shares Sustainable Fashion Advice

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