Sanat had been dreaming of wearing a saree to his farewell for the longest time. But, since society’s judgmental gender stereotyping never ends, the idea invoked some hesitation. “Even a few days before the farewell I almost backed out. I was nervous because I had never left the house all dressed up like this before,” Sanat tells SheThePeople.
‘But sarees don’t suit men’ is an often-heard phrase in our country where identifying as something other than heterosexual is still taboo. The segregations society has created between genders along patriarchal lines extend so far deep that they penetrate into our wardrobes. There are clothes that are strictly for men and clothes that are for women. The two can’t mix.
Boy Wears Saree To Farewell, Breaks Stereotypes
Why are we so averse to choice? Must clothes be defined by a particular gender, ideal for some and entirely inaccessible to others? If a non-binary person feels most comfortable in either a dress or a pantsuit, then with what authority do we hold to judge them? What about respecting preferences?
Sanat almost didn’t have the courage to go forth with his farewell idea. “Even my ever-supportive mom hesitated a little and asked me if I was sure I wanted to go ahead with it. But I knew I it was a special day and I wanted to be my true self for myself,” he said.
“The day started with my cab driver asking me “what are you?” which made me a little uncomfortable and nervous but I replied confidently, ‘I’m fabulous.’”
Sanat shares that friends at school were super supportive of him and made him feel “so welcome and beautiful.” The bunch of pictures Sanat posted as a reel, which is now viral on Instagram with millions of views, show him having a gala time in his black saree, enjoying with schoolmates.
It’s a sign of changing times, and instills hope, that the young generations are not just advocating for but wholeheartedly embracing the break of conventional gender norms. Despite a lack of LGBTQIA+ sensitisation in schools, the youth willfully seems to be taking on responsibility to actively educate themselves on the issues that surround them. And sometimes, that can be as straightforward as making a classmate feel accepted by getting behind their choices.
Suggested Reading: Dear Society, Stop Asking Men To ‘Man Up’ When They’re Vulnerable
“Never in a million dreams thought that this day would ever come,” Sanat tells us. “I hope this can pass on my message of being your true self and not caring about what society says.” He says a teacher and also his grandmother were among the people who enjoyed his farewell pictures.
When men wear makeup or dress in ‘feminine’ outfits, they may be doing so under great courage. Those who dare to breach society’s gendered expectations are well familiar with how hostile society is to rebels. They risk being called names, being questioned for their sexuality, being trolled or harassed online. Despite it all, they persist.
Why can each of us not try and find the capacity in us to just live and let live? Before beginning to understand a different choice, how about we begin by just accepting, that different choices exist? How about we shed our ever-constant entitlement that heteronormative society lends those who conform by it?
A saree is one of the most graceful things to ever be designed and such is its characteristic that it makes the wearer look ethereal. Any wearer. If the saree doesn’t discriminate, why should we?
Views expressed are the author’s own.
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