Women have always been wearing uncomfortable clothes. Be it tight brasseries, gowns, body-fit dresses, heavy lehengas, burqas or long ghoonghats- women’s clothing has been more about following norms or looking glamourous and less about ease of movement.
But why do women wear uncomfortable clothes? What is the reason behind willingly undergoing all the trouble of walking and sitting uncomfortably because of tight dresses? Do women like it? Or do women like to be liked because of those clothes?
Today, I came across a viral video of Kim Kardashian wearing a body-fit dress that didn’t allow her to make normal movements. Wearing a sparkling silver gown by Dolce & Gabbana, she was unable to walk. Because of the skintight dress and pencil heels, Kardashian was not able to climb stairs. She was literally hopping on the stairs and sometimes holding someone’s hand for support. She also found it difficult to sit inside her car. She had to hop onto the seat and had to be propped into a leaned-back position by her team as she couldn’t move her legs or torse.
Kim Kardashian Tight Silver Dress: Must Fashion Be Uncomfortable?
The video might be hilarious for many people but to me, it was evidence of how much trouble women undergo because of their dressing. I sighed and empathised with Kardashian because I have also caught myself undergoing the same struggles. I don’t wear heels. But when I have to wear a saree or lehengas, everyone forces me to put on heels so that I look tall. And because I am not used to wearing heels, I often trip publicly. I am known among my family and relatives for not walking properly and falling more often than the leaves on the trees. In fact, once I fell down in the middle of the traffic and an uncle riding a scooter came to me and said, “Aise shoes kyu pehenti ho?” At that time, I had no answer to the question except that “Mummy forces me to wear them.” But today when I look back, I have many answers and many questions too.
Why must women wear clothes that are tight, uncomfortable and even harmful for the body to look good and confident? Why can’t they feel confident in comfortable clothes? Why does the fashion industry make clothes that won’t even allow women to make basic body movements?
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To find the answer to these questions, it is very important for us to understand what goes behind designing women’s dresses. Most clothes for us are designed as per the beauty and body standards set up by patriarchy. It is not a coincidence that women’s dresses lack pockets. It is because patriarchy believes women don’t have money or anything important to carry in pockets that fashion industries exclude pockets.
And women choose these clothes to appear likeable and trendy in front of society. According to research, women are more likely than men to wear uncomfortable clothes that hurt them, distract their focus and make it difficult for them to move. Such women are reported to always be checking how their bodies look from the outside. Moreover, women’s lives are made to revolve around male attention. If they are liked by men, they automatically become better than other women in society. The amount of discomfort they might have to endure in the process doesn’t matter to anyone.
Before you criticise my biased stand, let me tell you that wearing any type of dress is a woman’s choice and I am not denying that. I am also not trying to project that every woman dresses up for male attention. But is it not important for women to choose their clothes wisely? How can one justify wearing clothes that don’t even allow a person to breathe freely? Must women wear shoes and clothes that don’t allow them to move easily? Isn’t being independent all about taking care of one’s own self? Wouldn’t the uncomfortable clothes worn to feel confident actually make women appear fragile and in need of constant assistance?
So dear women, wear whatever you want but do it by your choice. Don’t wear certain clothes or accessories just because they are trending or people would like them. Wear them because you want to. As far as uncomfortable clothes are concerned, avoid wearing them if they don’t allow you to make normal movements. You can wear tight clothes but make sure that you are able to help yourself. Try wearing only those clothes in which you are comfortable and can move around easily without appearing needy for help. You don’t always have to go for uncomfortable clothes to look trendy. Sometimes sit back and think about who is deciding which clothes are trendy and which are old-fashion. And last but the least, your confidence and fashion sense don’t lie in how you look. It lies in how you think about yourself. If you feel confident and trendy inside, nothing can make you look otherwise.
Views expressed are the author’s own.