“Ladkiyan ghar mein kaam karti hain, skirt pehenke khelti nahi” is one comment so many of these young sportswomen had to hear. Indian hockey team captain Rani Rampal too recalled how her parents had reservations against her wearing a skirt, to play hockey. Be it from parents or society, such comments expose our orthodox approach towards women pursuing sports.
Firstly, it exposes Indian society’s limited understanding of the limitless capabilities that a girl possesses. Secondly, it proves how difficult it is for conservative people to let girls step out of their homes, to pursue passion over gendered duties. Thirdly, it highlights people’s obsession with policing girls for wearing what they feel is comfortable for a sport. Fourthly, it objectifies girls and reiterates how their body can be enticing for some men inviting trouble for them.
How can Indian society belittle a girl’s ambitions citing clothes as an issue? When will we start choosing comfort over a skewed idea of modesty? Also, who decides what’s modest and immodest clothing for a woman in the first place? What are the parameters for the same? When will this objectification of female bodies end? Is it fair to force someone to sit and work at home just because they belong to a particular gender?
We hope there comes a time when families and society rise above trivial issues mentioned above and focus more on celebrating the Olympians and pledge to not let their mindset stop a talent from achieving its full potential.
Hopefully, soon a talented athlete like PV Sindhu wouldn’t call herself “lucky” to get the freedom to wear whatever she wants. Let’s wait for the time when Olympians’ winning story doesn’t include an episode of moral policing that they had to overcome.