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27 January, 2013

Does dressing style indicate your character?

Our Bollywood movies and Hindi soaps have attuned our Indian mindset to interpret the way woman dresses, and relate it to her character. Indian Sati savitri of old era was always clad in a sari and Helen/vamps/the ones who did raunchy numbers, wore something more revealing and sexy and were synonymous with bad character. Hindi soaps are no different. The nice lady/the chief protagonist/ the house maker, is depicted to be more covered and traditional, complete with sindoor, mangalsutra, etc and the bitch wears loud make up, has horrible expressions, plots and wears more revealing clothes.
This forms the basis of Indian mindset which associates a woman traditionally dressed, more covered, to good character and the one wearing shorts, dresses, off shoulder, etc, to low/bad character. Here comes a mind of rapist, who thinks it is OK to show his power on such a person and "teach her a lesson". Furthermore, our society thinks that the victim "asked for it" by wearing "provocative" clothes.
Can you see that today's woman is versatile in her style of dressing? She might be wearing a traditional cotton sari during the day time and a tube top/halter/short dress and sipping a glass of wine in the evening. So now would you judge her character differently during the day and differently during evening? Or maybe more conveniently term her as double faced/double standard. Where is the connection between the style of dressing and character? Where is the connection between what a rape victim wore and why she was raped? Where is the connection between the two finger test and whether the act was with consent or by force or whether she was a virgin or not? I fail to see such connections.
I see so many fashion bloggers. And they are more at risk of being termed and labeled. People who do not understand fashion bloggers, call them narcissistic, self obsessed, opinionated, etc. All such bloggers, including me, are judged by masses.
Now I tread even riskier path. I am an Indian, fashion blogger, woman and to make the matters even worse, a tango dancer and Tango teacher. How is Indian mindset ever going to handle it? In Tango, I lead and I follow and I teach both parts (man and woman). I switch back and forth between lead and follow. This puts me now at a risk of being termed even as gay.
When I see gorgeous women dressed to kill in milongas, revealing their never ending legs in their dresses which have slits to show their sensual moves, wearing beautiful high heels, dancing sensually, with intense expression on their face, I always say to myself, if Indian non Tango dancers ever saw all this, they would never be able to digest this. In their mind, they would form an opinion about these women, her character, her romantic inclinations and her sexual preferences.

Is it not high time we rose above the archetypal, stereotype and bend some patriarchal rules? Till when should be woman trapped in this image building concept?