The Right Kind of Freedom

English Version | Fashion for Freedom | Vogue.pt

 As Maya Angelou rightfully says, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without calming it, she stands up for all women.” Everyone must be wondering why I choose to write articles that mainly revolve around equality, freedom for women most of the time. The reason is that we are moving so rapidly in the world and yet slow when it comes to feminism, equality, and freedom for women. I believe by writing some articles I have at least some kind of contribution towards speeding up this process that needs to change for a better future. This is not just for women but for society and the world as well.

Today the topic that I am going to talk about is something that every woman, a girl goes through daily. It is about how women are supposed to dress. It is very sad and disheartening when I realize that I have gone through similar instances myself and while writing about this topic, I have a flashback of several instances. It is time we realize that the only person who can decide what to wear is by the individual and nobody else. Let me ask all the readers out there a question. How many times have you seen or even had an experience of family members or relatives or friends or anybody else questioning the attire you are wearing? It is sad and disheartening how women or girls do not have complete control over their attires and clothing while under several circumstances men and boys have all the control over their attires and clothing.

Another thing that I have come across is that men or boys of any class, race, religion, and economic hierarchy can wear whatever they feel comfortable. One of the most common examples that I can give is shorts. However, that is not the case with dressing sense with women or girls. There are certain rules regulations that they need to follow while choosing to wear what they want. I am not specifying any one religion, caste, race, or ethnicity. It is seen everywhere. While women and girls are dressing up so many external factors that play a role and often whatever they choose to wear has to pass through these factors. One of the biggest reasons for this gender clothing discrimination is patriarchy. It seems to root itself in every single aspect. Unfortunately, patriarchy and the rules and regulation of women’s dressing sense seeps in not just men but also women. It has come to a pathetic state where the way one treats a woman is according to how they dress.

The fault does not lie just with the common people but also with the way movies, series, etc represent women according to the way they dress. To show a shy, timid, and introverted woman or girl they dress in ethnic wear, or with glasses, hair tied into a braid, etc. While to show a so-called “out of control” woman or girl they wear shorts, dark color clothes, hair left open, etc. The basis for ideal and non-ideal dressing for women is about in this way to the society, which needs to change. Over the years, we have had politicians and other famous people make the horrendous connection of rape to women’s dressing sense. It is a frightening reality of today’s world. Even if it is burning hot summer and men roam around with a sleeveless shirt and shorts, women still cannot do that. The reason is not because of choice but because they would have to deal with snarky comments, catcalling, etc. I am not saying this will happen to everybody but I can say that a majority of females will have to face this. Labeling of women happens even today according to the way they choose to dress and it is not surprising. Let any woman or girl dress the way they want whether it be jeans, pants, tops, kurta, or sari, the society still manages to give them a name and a label.

Is hate speech legal? - FIRE

In the millennial world of social media where people are trying to bring about some change and create awareness about how it is time for women and girls to dress according to their ideas and perspectives without keeping any factor in mind. However, often even these people face backlash, mean comments, rape, and death threats by people who do not even know them. The idea of culture and tradition is always brought up while making such horrible comments. Limiting women’s choice of dressing in the name of culture, tradition, and even upbringing is visible even today, which is sad and painful.

Under several circumstances, I have seen people justify this behavior saying things like ‘we stop or object women from dressing the way they want for their safety and protection.’ To everyone who says this, I would like to ask shouldn’t the safety and protection of women and girls be a priority regardless of what kind of dress they choose to wear. The other thing that we fail to recognize is that the idea of protecting and safe keeping that is done by the society is towards something that comes by the society. Society, community, government, every single person is responsible for the emergence of these evils in the society that threatens and plays a role in the way women and girls choose dress. It is high time we stop blaming women’s attires and rather hold the problems into account and find solutions to bring about a better change in the society rather than making it a normal thing.

It is high time women get their freedom and equal opportunities to dress according to their wish and will they choose to without any restrictions or barriers. Women and girls should be able to dress the way they want at any time, place, or event and should not face any negativity because of that. This is not something that needs to be asked for rather that should be naturally present as it is for men and boys. This article today revolves more about the freedom of women’s dressing choice than men though men also suffer the same kind of problem under several circumstances is because the percentage of women and girls going through this still a higher number than men and boys. This does not mean men do not deserve their freedom or equality to dress but it sure means that the press and requirements for women are needed at a faster rate.

To conclude, with just a single line that I read and says, “All women and girls should be respected regardless of their clothing.”

References

  1. Google searches for images and quotes.