A Sari to make you a Respectable Indian Teacher.

A local government college in Bhopal has banned jeans pants for lady teachers instructing them to wear saris while in the campus.

A spokesman of the management of Sarojini Naidu (Nutan) College said that the decision was taken to instil Indian culture in the college.

He said that till now, teachers were wearing salwar suits, kurtas and jeans due to which it was sometimes difficult to distinguish between them and students.

The spokesman said that a similar decision on enforcing a dress code for students would also be enforced from the next session.

“A dress code for students cannot be enforced during the middle of an academic session,” he said.

Or watch the news here.

“There is a personality of a teacher. You are standing wearing anything, or jeans that look vulgar, that is not right. Even students do not respect you as they think. So, this is very important,” said Pandit. (A teacher)

Should colleges be telling the students that traditional clothing can make a female wearer look ‘respectable‘? And so not wearing a sari does exactly the opposite?

Why is a salwar kameez – very much a traditonal Indian outfit, less respectable?

One assumption could be that the sari makes a woman look older. Also traditionally, in some parts of India, all married women must wear sari. I have blogged about meeting someone who thought that married women who do not wear sari are doing it behind their in laws’ and husband’s backs.

Bombay High Court held that a marriage can’t be ended over a sari.

The college could to be trying to say that a teacher in a sari is seen as older and ‘respectably married’ (or at least marriageable).

This is how stereotypes are created.

Is it okay for a college to ask the students to associate ‘respect’ (or honor!) with sari and vulgarity with Jeans?

“In thousands of ways, our culture has conditioned us to anticipate rape as a natural consequence of violating social norms”. These misconceptions are responsible for women blaming themselves for sexual crimes against themselves (…makes it easier for those who don’t care to take action).

The male teachers are not expected to wear dhoti and achkan. Doesn’t the college think the students need to respect the male teachers too? Why teach the students that double standards and gender bias are acceptable?

Has the college really given this a thought? There are many who think sari is ‘sensual’.  Jeans are actually seen as comfortable and easy wear, and saris as ‘dressy’ by many others. Many others feel sari is not easy to maintain or move in, and not weather appropriate, while jeans and salwar kameez are.

Also consider why is it so essential for the female teachers (if at all) to look ‘different from students’? What if a teacher continues to look like one of the students (i.e. young and unmarried) no matter what she wears?

And most importantly, shouldn’t an adult female wearer (like the rest of the population) be trusted to decide what is appropriate for her to wear?

Compare this news from Bhopal to this news from Lahore,

Jeans, Body Hugging Dresses Banned in Lahore College fearing Terror Threats.

Related Posts:

Not Just a Pair of Jeans

No Jeans for a Indian Daughters in law.

The way a woman dresses…

Provocatively Dressed.

101 thoughts on “A Sari to make you a Respectable Indian Teacher.

  1. FYI Mr. Pandit: The sari exposes the waist big time. Atleast jeans and kurtas cover them up! Utter crap! They are teachers for crying out loud! They are human too. Let’s just let them be and live their own life their own way.

    I’m sure they aren’t coming to school in a bikini are they? What the hell is wrong with jeans and trousers?

    Why don’t you drape a six meter long sari around your waist for a few days?

  2. EXACTLY my sentiments!! Grumpy middle aged Indian men and women wanting to control women with the excuse of sexuality. What’s new :-)

    I was discussing this article with a colleague of mine a few days back. What I felt was very close to what you have written here.
    I also feel that if women and girls have to have an “Indianized” dress code, so should the men and boys. No T-shirts/shirts/western formal wear. Only kurta-pyjama/dhoti!

    Not to denigrate the salwar kameez, but saris sometimes make the woman look “sexier” compared to a plain, frumpy salwar kameez, if the authorities are trying to avoid women from being perceived as sexy.
    And pray, what’s wrong with teachers looking attractive? Are teachers supposed to be sexless robotic monks? And why isn’t the onus of self-control on the students? The students should be mature and smart enough to balance time between studies and fantasies about their teachers (which is quite natural and okay if kept in the brain and not displayed overtly).

    “And most importantly, shouldn’t an adult female wearer (like the rest of the population) be trusted to decide what is appropriate for her to wear?” absolutely right. I think women here are smart enough to know what is appropriate and what is not.

    Taliban and burkhas are just a few steps away, if this kind of mentality is not checked and condemned.

    Me – Ayan we use the same logic when we ban girls and boys from interacting in colleges and even in schools. The way they dress, how much they know (everything else they must know, but they must remain ‘innocent’ about ‘growing up’ i.e. sex), whether cell phones are permitted, going out on their own – we can’t accept that they are young adults and they should be able to choose how they live. Parents and teachers can guide, but more than that is neither right not legal. We seem to be following the example by Taliban.

    • “Taliban and burkhas are just a few steps away, if this kind of mentality is not checked and condemned.”

      why are you so afraid of burkhas??

      If “an adult female wearer” decides to wear burkhas in colleges (both as a student and as a teacher) will YOU and friends will completely support her??

      Me – Read this post – http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2009/09/05/thank-god-for-small-mercies/

      In any nation , it is important to dress according to the social conditions……

      Me – IP, so would you support the efforts to ban head scarves in colleges in Mangalore? Or making them compulsory in Saudi Arabia? Who creates these social conditions? Should social conditions be the rule for other personal choices also? Does this apply only for women?

      ..i agree banning salwar suits is a bit extreme but certainly not jeans keeping in mind the fact that India is still a deeply conservative country….

      Me – But who decides how much is ‘extreme’? There are many Indias, some are fine with jeans, some prefer saris – but instead of each being trusted to decide what they find appropriate, do we want some ‘conservative’ thinkers to decide for all? Generally the same people who ban jeans, also ban burkas – because they believe they have the right to control the personal choices of other equal citizens.
      If we ignore them when what they are controlling suits us – it is difficult to tell them they can’t dictate their terms when it doesn’t suit us. So if controlling personal choices is wrong for Burka ban, then it is wrong for Jeans ban also. Tolerance is the rule, not ‘selective controlling’, in a Democracy.

      It is also important to dress according to the job one is doing…….
      For example , will any “modern” MNC allow its adult employees to wear south Indian mundu OR dhoti????…..if not why????….

      Me – Sari does not help in teaching. Just like the dhoti doesn’t. Do read Smitha’s, Usha’s and Shail’s comments. I guess the society has got used to making rules for women and it will take some time before it stop seeing a woman’s clothing as its business.

      And about Mundu or Dhoti in MNCs, I am sure the employees can start a discussion if they find mundu and dhoti more comfortable at work…

      • Firstly , my question :
        If a teacher decides to wear burkha in schools/colleges should she be allowed or not?? Yes or no…as she is an adult!

        Or making them compulsory in Saudi Arabia?
        Thats for Saudis to decide. Not Me.Not You or anyone else.
        i will support whatever is the will of the saudis.
        Every society modernizes in their own way at their own pace.
        Outside interference actually harms the process.

        There is a difference between students wearing jeans and teachers wearing jeans. In a college , you get all kinds of students . You become friends with like minded people and ignore the rest whom you dont like.
        The point is you get an education even if you ignore many of them.But you cannot ignore your teacher. Therefore , a teacher (both male and female) should behave in a manner so that she becomes acceptable to all. Teacher wearing saree serves that purpose. The primary duty of a teacher is to make sure that EVERYONE is comfortable with her and her teaching and rules and regulations should be there to make sure that happens….

        What is curious is that many who are showing OUTRAGE have no problem accepting DRESS CODES when it comes to their “modern” workplaces!!!

        Forget mundu and dhoti men are NOT ALLOWED to wear JEANS in modern workplaces like IT companies for most of the days….

      • Actually IHM, IP does have a point. Many corporates like Infosys has a dress code for all its employees (men and women) – formal on Mondays, semi formal on other days and casual on Fridays. Some companies have strict “no casual dressing” rule i.e no jeans and Tees for all employees. Most of the jobs invloving front desk (interaction with customers) have fully suited employees. Many companies even have uniforms.
        So well, dress code at work is nothing new! I guess “saree as dress code” does not really mean anti women. Even the male teachers will not be allowed to wear jeans. They have to be dressed in trousers and crisp shirts.

        • It is not just sari for women, but also no western clothes, no salwar kameez because it seems these are not ‘respectable’ enough. The college also wants to save the Indian culture by enforcing sari for female teachers. Men can wear Western formals without endangering the Indian culture or being mistaken for a student.

          Also consider how much easier a salwar kameez or trousers are to maintain and move in. Sari during winters and monsoons is particularly inconvenient to maintain. Do read Usha Pisharody’s comment about the difficulty in walking in the rain in a sari.

          The college could make it Indian formal for all and that would include kurta -pajama, dhoti, mundu for men and salwar kurta or sari for women. or make it formal for all. Why make women go through extra inconvenience in the name of respect and culture? And not to forget women have to wash, iron, starch, dry clean, attach fall etc on their own while most of the male teachers have someone doing the maintenance for them at home.

      • @tomboy, actually, it’s not the dress code in itself we are debating, nor the right of the management to enforce one. It’s the motive and misconceptions behind this particular dress code.
        1. That they are saving Indian culture.
        2. That wearing anything other than a sari is vulgar.
        3. That the teachers need to be respected by their dress, not their teaching or behaviour or discipline or performance.
        4. That the female teachers need to be distinguished from the students. There are no students in a corporate office like Infosys. The dress code there is equal for male and female employees and intended to convey professionalism and seriousness on the job. Not to save culture.

        I agree that jeans are considered casual and not appropriate for work-wear, except for ‘casual Fridays’, but banning them for vulgarity and culture is ridiculous.

        IHM, I agree with you about the extra work required for maintaining and cleaning saris and stitching etc. I personally love wearing saris, and really liked wearing them as a lecturer in a women’s college, but felt sorry for certain younger women who’d join the college as teachers and get a dressing-down from the management if they ever wore a salwar-kameez (or gasp… jeans) even on say weekends, or extra working days or field trips etc.

        I’d find that the students (in the women’s college) felt we were more approachable when we wore salwar-kameez…they felt they could relate to us also. There was never any disrespect attached to dress.

  3. When I taught in a women’s college…we all had to wear a sari. And when I studied in a women’s college, the dress code was suddenly changed to no jeans/trousers…because too my girls were eloping.

    Words fail me at this regressiveness. Why is everything about a woman owned and decided by everyone else other than her?

    Me – And nobody wondered why the girls were ‘eloping’ – why couldn’t they introduce their choice of partner to their families or why couldn’t they marry him?
    Also consider this- the girls eloped with boys… no restrictions for boys were considered because …?

    • Of course, it was all the girls’ fault. We were wearing ‘revealing’ clothes…which made the Romeos hang around the college gates…and girls were apparently eloping with them. :roll: :mad: Like, girls (women, actually, all over 18) are so shallow brained, they will flirt with and run away with road romeos!

      Maybe the thought of dealing with those Romeos never occured to the management (nuns)…it was more important to cover it up…the girls’ modesty, their rights and their freedom.

    • chodo sari, let the teachers wear the burkha. problem solved – nothing will be seen. so what if they wear shorts inside or a bikni. seems like the educationuists are clueless at their job description and are taking refuge in becoming the sari police or fashion designers -that’s a great business in the rising india

  4. “The male teachers are not expected to wear dhoti and achkan. Doesn’t the college think the students need to respect the male teachers too? Why teach the students that double standards and gender bias are acceptable?”

    The whole matter of culture and respectability in India rests on what the XX gender wears! No one thinks men should wear dhoti. Culture does not seem to be tied to dhoti only to the sari.

    If the time wasted by Indians on discussing and framing rules on what the female population wears or does not is spent on other useful things, this country would make tremendous progress. But unfortunately, the whole population is focused on what women wear.
    This obsession with what women wear (by men and women) is unnatural I feel. Look at some of them talk in the video! No one talks about the non-traditional dressing style of the men.

    While doing my graduation we had a young man teaching us Economics who looked as young as us. No one could differentiate him from the students. What would they do in such cases??!! A sari is going to make a woman look older?! In our days both lady teachers and girl students wore saris. So there could be no differentiation or ‘standing out’ as they call it. Why should there be any need to stand out now??!!
    Unlike what one of the teachers says in the video, it is not the dress, it is the ability to teach that will finally get to the students and earn their respect. If you teach well, have command over your subject, are able to build a rapport with your students, what you wear will NOT come in the way of their respect. And merely wearing a sari will NEVER get you that respect if other things fail.

    • Totally agree Shaila. The ‘standing out’ as you say is nothing but a control tool. These middle aged fuddy duddies cannot tell their own kids- leave apart college students-what to wear so they are trying to control the hapless teachers who might comply out of their need for a job.

      • Precisely, Vivek. Women have more of a struggle to get and keep a job, they face resistance at home and outside, harrassment at home, while traveling and on the streets, lower salaries, so this looks like a minuscule matter in comparison…”At least I have this job, I might as well make some compromises to keep it.”

        Compromise, adjust, tolerate, ignore. No wonder women are simmering with rage. And then they call us angry and accuse us of overreacting or making a big deal.

  5. I totally agree IHM, what a woman decides to wear is entirely her own choice. No one has the right to tell her what is ‘respectable’ and what is ‘vulgar’. A saree can be much more revealing, sensuous or vulgar than jeans. It depends on the wearer and how each of these costumes are worn. This is nothing but a blatant violation of woman’s right to freedom and choice.
    By this logic if all of us cover ourselves up in sarees, we should be respected and not eve-teased, ogled at or raped, but that ain’t gonna happen right?
    The change is needed in people’s attitude and perceptions rather than attires.
    Very well-written and put forth IHM.

  6. If they want to promote Indian culture, I am all for it. We should take steps, and encourage the promotion of our own culture. But how the hell do you promote it?

    1. Do you promote the notion of having double standards, separate yard sticks for Men and Women, when the culture in Question respects Divinity in the Feminine form, and once had a society where Feminine equality was neither questioned nor challenged ?

    2. Do you promote superficiality, by implying that wearing “appropriate” clothes alone would suffice, rather than emulating the right behavior, to uphold your Culture?

    3. Do you promote being illogical and irrational by associating apparel with morality ? All our bloody politicians wear Khaadi, I don’t see India in the list of Developed nations!

    When will these Idiots learn ? :(

    Me – Loved your last point!

  7. Completely agree with you that this is more moral policing.
    However, I have no problems with requiring formal work-wear. The teachers do come to a job, which is not the same thing as the students. So, yes, ban jeans for both male and female teachers, allow female teachers to wear saris or formal shirt and trouser wear as they like, if it IS about respect and not about policing women. Make the code for men similar by allowing nehru suit or western formals.

  8. I’m a teacher. And I have to wear a saree to work. There is a GO (Government Order) issued by the Kerala State Government, that students of BEd. colleges and teachers may wear salwar kameez to college/work. Now, that is for the Government school/ colleges etc.

    Kerala, however, has a huge number of private schools, affiliated to different boards like the ICSE and CBSE. Now these institutions have their “dress code”, which they refuse to change, though one has made requests. In the place I work, sarees are a must, when there are children in school, on normal working days, but thankfully, on days when students don’t come to school, and we work, we’re allowed to come in salwar kameezes.

    The moot point here, finally, is again with the double standards we practice, and the practicality of the whole situation that we refuse to acknowledge!! During the monsoons, from about June to October, it doesn’t rain here, it pours sheets of water, and we valiantly struggle with the saree. We’ve become veterans, no doubt, but to what use? Is that is anyway going to affect either our or our children’s survival or enhance their Life Skills, or perhaps get them to understand better, what we teach!

    I loved what Shail said: “it is the ability to teach that will finally get to the students and earn their respect. If you teach well, have command over your subject, are able to build a rapport with your students, what you wear will NOT come in the way of their respect. And merely wearing a sari will NEVER get you that respect if other things fail.” On the dot, precisely my point here too!

    The children at school see me often in town, and then I am not in a saree, but either in salwars or in jeans. I have yet to notice any of those children showing even a little less respect to me, in school! Neither do their parents, when they come to meet us in school Finally, it is you, the teacher, who earns the respect, not the clothes! As you have mentioned, the saree is also seen as a sensual garment, and more so, when there are vast areas of one’s waist and back visible; not to mention what would happen if one wore a georgette or chiffon or one of those light synthetic materials!! It goes back to a point you have also mentioned very often, the conditioning of our society, the refusal to acknowledge a coming of age, of the women, who are just as equipped, just as professional, just as capable as their male counterparts.
    We are regressing, when we issue such diktats, and refuse to open ourselves to discussion at least, and steps towards progress, of the mind as well!

  9. Ridiculous. Sari is more exposing than Jeans and top any day. If you are attending a function and all you have to do stand and look good, sari fits in perfectly. But, if you need to do work of any kind, may it be even running behind your kids in a mall or elsewhere, I vote for Salwars or Jeans. But then again, figure hugging dresses for anyone should not be allowed. Not just teachers! Yet, I am wondering whether eve teasers were absent in an era when women only wore saris and salwars? Men will be men, even if you are in a Burkha, I guess. :D

  10. I dont beleive it now we dont have the right to dress as they want.. Though I do beleive that one shud be dressed RESPECTABLY but banning jenas etc is just stupidity ..

    Dont know what goes through the mind of these people who make such rules or come out with ridiculous ideas…

    Bikram’s

  11. Ridiculous, like most such ‘reforms’.

    Teachers beget respect not through attire or sex, but through the knowledge they impart…the values they instill, the character they help build.

    A dress code, in my opinion is a good thing: it helps standardise and equalize — like students in uniform. You really cant say which one’s of rich parents and which one’s of poor. If THAT was the idea behind this sari compulsion, I’d agree. But then, tell the male teachers to come in a dhoti! Formal pants are NOT india’s culture…it is a western culture handed over by the Brits.

    Sari is NOT something that brings honour to female. In fact, pull a pallu off and it exposes more than what a dupatta off a salwar does!

    Think of sari clad teachers, and these come to mind immediately:

    I still remember a particular teacher we had…she always used to wear stiff cotton saree — ALWAYS PASTEL shades, and a thin cotton blouse to match. And we would ALWAYS see what was worn beneath her blouse whenever she turned her back on us. Sooooo does NOT help, esp in a mixed class :D (i know this can happen with a salwar too; but well, this is just to say that honour can be lost too, through the thinness of a sari blouse!)

    There was another very pretty teacher who used to wear the most amazing sarees, but she draped them soooo well, that all students, esp the biys, were always admiring her figure and the waist that peeped through. Not to mention that she taught us CHEMISTRY!

    And most of the other teachers were so out of shape that irrespective of what sari they wore, there was too much skin showing, and not in good light. I rest my case.

  12. Ridiculous, like most such ‘reforms’.

    Teachers beget respect not through attire or sex, but through the knowledge they impart…the values they instill, the character they help build.

    A dress code, in my opinion is a good thing: it helps standardise and equalize — like students in uniform. You really cant say which one’s of rich parents and which one’s of poor. If THAT was the idea behind this sari compulsion, I’d agree. But then, tell the male teachers to come in a dhoti! Formal pants are NOT india’s culture…it is a western culture handed over by the Brits.

    Sari is NOT something that brings honour to female. In fact, pull a pallu off and it exposes more than what a dupatta off a salwar does!

    Think of sari clad teachers, and these come to mind immediately:

    I still remember a particular teacher we had…she always used to wear stiff cotton saree — ALWAYS PASTEL shades, and a thin cotton blouse to match. And we would ALWAYS see what was worn beneath her blouse whenever she turned her back on us. Sooooo does NOT help, esp in a mixed class :D (i know this can happen with a salwar too; but well, this is just to say that honour can be lost too, through the thinness of a sari blouse!)

    There was another very pretty teacher who used to wear the most amazing sarees, but she draped them soooo well, that all students, esp the boys, were always admiring her figure and the waist that peeped through. Not to mention that she taught us CHEMISTRY!

    And most of the other teachers were so out of shape that irrespective of what sari they wore, there was too much skin showing, and not in good light. I rest my case.

  13. What a woman wears at work should be her prerogative and I think most of us agree on that. On the one hand we preach that beauty is only skin deep and here we are saying that overt sexuality is only ‘jeans’ deep. Our students should be ignoring what the teacher’s are wearing and concentrate on what they are teaching. On a lighter note, how many students really sit in the classrooms to look at their teachers?
    The teachers should protest because today they are being asked to wear a sari. Tomorrow they will be asked to wear ‘khadi’ only or some such imposition. The day after tomorrow the managements will give you measurements for your blouse. The list is endless.
    I have gone through the Ramayana and the Mahabharata just to check the clothes worn by the likes of Menaka, Urvashi, Manthra or Shurpanakha. There is no mention of them wearing jeans or skirts, so I am supposing that they wore the venerable sari.
    I also believe that the counter point asking men to wear dhotis is of no value because one cannot fight one evil with another evil. It will only drag us all back into the middle ages.

  14. That is so ridiculous! Where will we stop, I wonder? What if someone decides that the sari is not ‘respectable’ enough? Then what?

    I was educated in a co-ed school with no dress codes. We had teachers in frocks, and skirts and trousers( we had a German and Anglo-Indian community, so clothesof this sort were quite common). Yes, some teacher’s attire did bring out sniggers, and some had boys waiting to see what she wears the next day. And funnily, it was the Sari which was the most exciting dress. One of the teachers used to wear deep necked blouses, and I think all the teenaged boys just loved it. Beyond that, the most respected teachers were the ones who were superb at their jobs. Our Biology teacher would wear frocks, above the knee ones, and yet, no one dared disrespect her – she was that good at her job.

    Respect cannot come from what you wear – but from what you do, and how you go about your job. Does it make any sense to have these restrictions on teachers?

    My cousins in Kerala, say the same thing – they have to wear saris, no matter how inconvenient it might be. They travel to work in buses, how much easier it might have been to wear a more comfortable attire? But no – the rules says that they have to wear saris.

    Such a regressive mindset, and what is worrying is that the authorities seem to be more bothered about the dress-codes rather than what is being taught or how well the actual teaching is conducted :(

  15. Aren’t we all sick and tired of people passing judgement on what we wear? Does anything ever get said about what men wear? Why do people get their panties in a bunch about a pair of jeans? And do ‘these people’ guarantee that there will be no violence against women if we all dressed in sarees ALL THE TIME?

  16. well, what about male teachers? should they be coming in dhotis to be able to distinguish from male students.. and men dont have to do anything to preserve the Indian culture.. this is BS. Maybe everyone can were ID cards with color codes if they absolutely need to be distinguished between student and teachers…

  17. Where is the college prinicipal’s choti (braid)? Sari minus choti, Indian culture in grave danger. I guess those teachers supoorting the code are those with poor body image or extra spare tires on their waists.
    Students are you ready for this sight. This is how some of your teachers will emerge while they are writing on the black board.
    http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4180560

    I started my first teaching assignment at 23. On the first day the lady peon would not let me in the staffroom coz’ she wouldn’t believe I was a college teacher. I got the entry only after a senior teacher let me in. In the class, students pushed me aside and occupied the seats coz’ they had heard the new teacher is stickler with time. Anyway, wearing sari was fun for me but not never for 7:45am class (I guess it wouldn’t have been with two hungry kids in the tow). It was my teaching caliber not my age or my attire that begot respect.

    Anyway, we are the same choir making our views known to one another how about sending online protests to the MP Govt. and the college itself? Let us prepare a draft and each one copy it and mail it to news media editors, govt. reps and the college board.

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

  18. It is the conditioning that the women are brought up with- to make their husbands happy and take care of their in-laws that leads to most of the educated, intellectual and otherwise strong women succumbing to the unreasonable demands of their husbands/in-laws. Men have been conditioned to ‘protect’ their women and one way for them to so is keep their women intact to their culture and morally guide them.

    My husband always insists I wear a salwar kameez when I am at my in-laws’ place because they ‘like’ it that ways- absolutely oblivious of the inconvenience it causes to me. Once while going for a walk with my father-in-law with a long coat over my salwar kameez, my MIL insisted I have a dupatta or something that at least looked like one so that the neighbors do not have a problem with a ‘bahu’ without a dupatta going with her father in law. Though I gave in but such instances leave a mark. My sister-in-law roams around the house wearing a night gown/capris/jeans/no dupatta and there is no restriction on her.

    Do such in-laws when they say that “our bahu is like our daughter” really mean it? Isn’t it hypocritical of them to maintain double standards? Isn’t it the responsibility of the husband to stand up for his wife? What surprized me the most is when my sister in law (almost my age) tried to explain that every place has a different culture and the respect is in the eye. I even argued that respect is in the heart and is not reflected by the way a girl dresses up and I never dress up provocatively. I do not think wearing a jeans and a cotton kurta is any different than wearing a tight churidar and a kurta.

    I rebel inside my heart, I fight and it shows in my behavior (which again is a problem for my husband as he is responsible for ‘keeping everyone together’) but I give in everytime I visit them- thinking it’s just a matter of few days in a year. But I want to break free from this but I can’t do that if rebelling or logically arguing leads to long arguments and a lot of stress for everyone in the family. I am trying my own way- small steps at a time. I have started wearing lowers and a t-shirt at home, I almost never wear a saree (I find it a very uncomfortable dress) because I like to stay active and I wear the smartest of cotton kurtas available most of the times without a dupatta- never the ‘girly’ shiny salwar kameez ‘expected’ of a bahu in the family. And I hope some day I or my husband has the courage to stand up for me and my comfort more than conformance to the rules of the society.

    —-Delhi girl

  19. ihm,

    I am from Chennai and went to an engineering college. Our dress code was unofficially salwar and if by any chance a few of us chose to wear jeans everyone would stare at us…

    Then during my 4th year one of the juniors wore skinny jeans and a fitted top…one guy walked up to her and threw a towel on her chest and told her to cover what is left of her izzat…

    and the principal then made it official that girls cannot wear jeans or anything other than salwar…among other traditional clothing…

    The college I am talking about is a very famous college down south! So you can imagine…this is not something new…there was no one to create a noise and raise awareness or fight for what was our right to start with…We just wanted to get our grades and graduate…

    Did the boy get punished? NO!

    Love
    ART

    • This is how our society encourages sexual crimes against women. The message this boy was given was that he was justified in behaving like he had a right to decide what she should be wearing. I also wonder if this boy ever stepped out of his home town and saw how women in bigger cities in India dress. He should read ‘Provocatively Dressed.’

      There is every chance that he had no idea that women wear skinny jeans and fitted t shirts and don’t care what he thinks. He should have been made aware that he could have been prosecuted for assaulting the girl. And ofcourse he needs to read about the Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed To Work.

      I wonder how he treated the female members of his family and also what they felt about this. One thing is for sure, his future spouse should be made aware of this incidence.

  20. I think this is a bit of a grey area. As it is a government institution, a decree on what teachers should wear is against freedom of expression, but the teachers of a school should be required to dress formally. I am not sure where salwar kameez falls in this classification, but jeans are certainly not formal. If the authorities had decided that the teachers could only wear saris, pant-suits or skirts with tops or something formal like that, it would make some sense. Their rationale of making the teaching-force more Indian is nonsense.

    If it was a private school/college (which I realize it’s not in this case), there is no question. A private organization can do what it wants. Women who don’t wanna wear saris need not teach there. They can find jobs elsewhere.

  21. I was in Italy recently, and was surprised to see that in many places , buildings and landmarks , we women were not allowed to wear even sleeveless dresses…..we were given a piece of cloth to cover up our upper body or lower body if it exposed our knees…….I heard there are dress codes for women there too in many jobs…..the Vatican being in control in that country……I really wondered if I would ever willingly follow such a rule if it were imposed in India….say, even if it were a religious place…..

      • We were there earlier in the year too and my daughter asked why the lady in front of us was being asked to cover up with the cloth while the man with her wearing a sleeveless t-shirt was allowed in. Is it because its colder inside the cathedral she asked – in that case would the man not feel cold too she wanted to know.
        Seriously did not know what to reply.

  22. There are many schools in India(espec in the big cities) where teachers are not supposed to wear Sarees, they have to wear only Jeans and Salwars to look ‘trim’ ( and many be young and modern).
    The teachers and students are not supposed to wear bindi or the kumkum, bangles or any jewelry as a rule to maintain the dress code.
    I think it is important we as women oppose this too.

  23. I got married in a traditional family where my mother in law wears a saree most of the time. My father in law did not like me wearing short tops over Jeans. Moreover everytime I went to the temple or did pooja his family used to tell me to wear a Saree before doing pooja, as if God will only listen to me if I wore a saree….Ha Ha.

    It was ridiculous and me and my husband had a good laugh over it. Luckily my in laws have never imposed anything on me. But out of respect I wear a decent salwar kameez when I am home with them and I do it happily as no one forces me to do it.

    • Or links your compromise to the word ‘respect’??

      The conditioning is so deep that most of us think these choices are of our free will and no one is forcing us. But we just do it to maintain peace, ignoring the turbulence it causes in our spirit.

      • haha….it shows the ULTIMATE HYPOCRISY of your “liberal” position.

        If a woman says sari/burqa or salwar is “decent” and if she says she wears it out of free will you people will NOT accept it and call it ” social conditioning” or “oppression” .

        But….if others equally choose jeans , skirts etc out of her free will then you will claim its “Freedom” and “liberation”……lol

        Or , free choice is “accepted” only when it meets YOUR CRITERIA…in other cases its not.

        By the way i still havenot received an answer:
        If a teacher decides to wear burkha in schools/colleges should she be allowed or not?? Yes or no…as she is an adult!

        • IP in my response to your last comment I have linked a post that answers your questions – do take a look. (Thank God for small mercies)
          And also consider this. Choices made by women who also are ‘allowed to choose’ who they marry, divorce, how many children they have – whether they marry or not marry the father(s) of those children, and when, where they work, travel and with whom, and what they buy, how loud they laugh and how much they flirt (yes) – choices of such women are never seen as ‘conditioning’. They are free to make mistakes, have new beginnings and are seen demanding their rights. It’s clear that they are free to make their choices, right or wrong.

          BUT. When women who are NOT seen making too many other choices in their personal lives choose to be vocal about something that we know many other women have protested against, one might wonder if they are really free to choose.

          That said, this blog has supported every man and woman’s civil rights and burka, ghunghat, western clothes form a part of those.

  24. I think the managemnet has the right to ask teachers to follow a particular dress code, if the teachers dont like it then they can protest..
    the police, the army, and factories have dress codes whats wrong with that.. sometimes differntiation is important..
    i dont say teachers dont have right to wear other dresses but neither i see it as much of a problem..

    • The sari is made compulsory to save the culture – the dress code also bans salwar kameez and western formals because the college thinks they look vulgar. And shouldn’t there be the same dress code for all the teachers? Male teachers are free to wear western clothes.

      And can wearing a sari save our culture? Does it make us look or act more respectably? Desi Girl shared this picture, do take a look. http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4180560

      You may like to read Desi Girl’s, Usha Pisharody, Smitha and Starry’s comments.

      • I understand your point but i dont agree that this particular incident has anything to do with saving the culture or anything.. they had to choose a uniform dress code so they choose sari.
        Since saree is worn by most women its easier to choose that dress code. some older teachers may not wear jeans or salwar so sari might have been chosen in their interest..

  25. Needless controversy.

    I say, simply specify the extent of the body that must be covered and specify what can be exposed.

    I suggest that any dress that exposes the face and neck, hands from the upper arm to the tips of the fingers, and the portion of the legs from the ankles to the toes is okay.

    Let the dress be anything, saree, salvaar kameez, jeans and top or any new dress that fashion gurus may come out with.

    Regards
    G Vishwanath

  26. Saree in India has always been considered ”Formal wear’. Certain professions require you to dress formally, and this is a rule all over the world.

    The formal wear for men in India has always been shirt and pant, I don’t think they will
    be welcomed if they show up in shorts or tees too, if they were teachers or doctors.

    I think that is all there is to this issue, nothing more.

    • ‘Always been considered’ is often used as a reason for double standards, moral-policing and gender bias but one needs more than that Anu.

      ‘Salwar kurta’ and formal western suits are also ‘formal wear’ for women. Just like men have kurta pajama and Achkan /Nehru Jacket as formal wear. Starched dhoti/mundu is formal for men.

      But the college is more concerned with teaching women about being Indian and in forcing down their idea of being ‘respectable’ – which is not their job or their business.

      Do read Starry’s comment too.

      • I am most comfortable in a salwar kameez which I have worn all my life. But my profession requires me to wear business suits, skirts that go above my knees. As much as I dislike wearing them, I have no other choice. The written rule clearly states that I need to be present in a suit, the business attire. What do I do in this case? Leave my job? Why is a saree or a salwar not suitable enough dress in these so called urban professions ? Men wear full length suits and women in skirt suits?
        When did western wear and showing a little skin become equivalent to being ‘progressive’ and why is wearing an Indian dress considered ‘conservative’ or ‘traditional’ ? In reality, the Indian body structure or weather conditions is not even suited for western wear and that is a whole other issue….
        In short, gender bias is all over, we tend to ignore what suits us.

        Very nice topic IHM, makes us notice of things that we generally tend to ignore in our daily lives.

        • Me – 1. Another commenter has explained that in a private firm, if you were informed of the rules when you joined, you can’t do much. Does the place have different rules for men and women? Are women allowed western formals – trousers etc?

          2. Even today most Indian women are not allowed to wear Western clothing. A few decades ago western clothing for women was permitted only in families who lived in cities and/or were educated or had traveled widely. Today a much larger number of Indian women wear Western clothes, and even today conservative families do not allow female family members to adopt western clothing – this has led to associating Western Clothing with women who face lesser restrictions. It is assumed that families which don’t impose dress codes on female members also accept them as intelligent, reasonable adults in other matters and are hence seen as Progressive. This is a stereotype and western clothes do not mean a woman is really free or progressive nor does Indian clothing confirm that she is not allowed to wear Western clothing.

          3. Indian weather conditions are suitable for shorts/skirts and T shirts in summer, and trousers and jackets in winters since both are not permitted to an average woman – they have found Maxi/Nightie/Gown etc as the alternative. Sari is not suitable for Indian winters and monsoons.

          4. About Indian body shapes and Indian clothing – I think this is an excuse given to Indian women when they object to wearing saris etc.
          And what about Indian men? Western clothes are fine for their body types and Indian weather conditions for them?

  27. While not directly related to the topic at hand, I am reminded of dress codes in temples too.

    In Kerala, in some temples I was asked to remove my shirt and go bare chested.

    Women are mercifully spared this treatment!

    I now worship from outside at such temples and do not enter.
    I have not wondered at or questioned the propriety of this rule.
    I believe every temple has the right to decide it’s own rules for entry.
    If you don’t accept it, simply go elsewhere.
    Just like rules of private clubs.

    In the case of this school/college, if this dress code had been a declared policy right from the beginning and teachers had been advised about it before they joined the controversy could have been avoided.

    Legally speaking, I think the college is well within it’s rights.
    I don’t like it but I will not protest.
    I would simply find another college to teach if I was an affected party.

    Regards
    G Vishwanath

    • “I have not wondered at or questioned the propriety of this rule.”

      Some of us don’t wonder. others (praise be to them) wonder and question and change a lot in not only their lives but for others and for generations to come.
      Many temples have rules like you mention. And I too was (note the past tense) of the opinion that you have expressed. Just as you, I thought, ‘if you don’t like it go elsewhere and pray’ and I followed the same too. Guruvayur insisted on saris for women. I decided I’d stay away. After all I could pray elsewhere.
      But…. think of it this way. What if all of us thought that way??
      Many people were not allowed inside the temple. Those who denied them entry had perfectly valid reasons, they thought. In spite, people protested and now we have entry for all humans in temples, though with certan conditions in some places. There was protest about the sari clause in Guruvayur and now salwar-kameez is allowed at that temple. Girls were no allowed entry into certain institutions, sports,… now even the army has women.
      Would any of this have happened if some had not decided to protest?? Even things that are legal can be changed by making new laws, amendments, for the changing situations.
      One thing is for sure, the society we live in today just did not happen to be that way right from the beginning. What we see and have at our disposal is because people (before us) at one time or other questioned, protested and insisted on change. I for one salute them because I, not merely as a woman, but as a human owe a lot to them for whatever I enjoy.

      IHM, I don’t know if this is relevant to the topic here. But I just wrote this in reply to Viswanathan’s comment :) I leave it to you to approve or not.

      • Thank you Shail for responding which I enjoyed reading.

        I also enjoyed reading “Confused wife”‘s rejoinder to my admittedly orthodox views in an earlier post.

        Is it only my imagination or did I notice a cautious and defensive tone in your last few lines?

        You wondered if your comment would be approved or not.
        Why not?
        IHM has already displayed the message:
        ==================
        WELCOME TO THIS BLOG :)
        I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
        ================

        When the blogger has such a tolerant policy, why this doubt?

        My previous comment has received more negative ratings than positive ones and I can take that in my stride.

        I am enjoying my visits to this blog site.
        IHM is a great writer and she is supported by an excellent group of commenters and followers who are great writers too and also outspoken, cogent in their arguments, and convincing too.

        I must thank Desigirl for leading me here.
        I look forward to following the debates here with interest and, hopefully, will be able to participate with an occasional comment.

        I trust, being male and also much older will not a handicap.

        May I make a minor correction in your comment?
        I am Vishwanath, not Vishwanathan.
        Not that it matters but why stretch an already long name ? I won’t tell you what G in my name stands for except to hint that it is even longer!

        Regards
        G Vishwanath

    • @G Vishwanath,

      …Women are mercifully spared this treatment!

      Yes, they are spared the entery in many temples in Kerela. Do you really want to worship a God(s) that are controlled by humans.

      The British introduced the rail roads in India and they made white and brown policies then why did Indians need to protest. It was British intellegence that created it if desis felt discriminated they should have stayed away from the rails. :) India was sold to East India Company by the Indian principalities (Raj came in later). So why was there so much hue and cry when it was sold. Was it a private property? Each principality was property of respective ruler. Did people have any control over it? Theoretically yes, and practically NO.

      The college in question is a government insititute and goverment in a democratic country. A college board can not rise and arbitrarily impose rules only upon one constituent (women). Most of all why does saving the culture and tradition always comes and rests on shoulders of women when they can’t even decide what to wear.
      Do rapist and wife beaters think about the great culture of this country? Rather raping and wife beating is considered part of preserving the culture and tradition, it is a way of punishing errant women.

      I Desi Girl, as a woman refuse to save the culture and tradition of my forefathers irrespective of its centuries old lineage. Is there a law in this democratic country to charge me with treason? Bring it on…

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

    • Vishwanath,

      Don’t forget to mention that in those same temples it is mandatory for the women to wear a saree/lehenga else they are required to drape a cloth (to make it look like a saree!) waist down. The rule is for men and women- no matter how rational/irrational it is there’s at least some common ground there. I by no means justify/support this rule for I firmly believe that one’s relationship with God has nothing to do with what one’s wear or the place one worships. And as you said “you chose not to enter”, do you really think changing jobs and not opting to enter a temple are the same thing?

      Also, while you may choose to worship God even sitting at home, unfortunately it’s not the same case for work where one has to spend a considerable amount of time of their waking hours. Moreover, any discomfort/displeasure at work (for whatever reason) is bound to have an effect in one’s life. Hence, the need of free will and choice or at least options to choose from and not just a mandate to be followed.

      —Delhi Girl

  28. Agreed that adults should be given their choice in selecting their clothes….. but i think there should be a limit on it….

    -Say some teacher tells she is comfortable in bikini and teaches in bikini would u as a mom join ur kid there?
    -Say ur spouse is always cross dressed (and argues that he is comfortable that way) wouldnt u force him to wear a proper one?

    I think because we are living in a society and not in a forest we need to abide by society norms. I am not against having/giving choice but i believe the choice these adults should be in check.

    What do u say?

    • Please take note of the facts here,
      The female teachers were not wearing a bikini, they were wearing salwar kameez and trousers.
      Male teachers were wearing trousers and shirts (western clothing) too, not swimming trunks.
      The college decided that the female teachers needed to save the culture and stop looking vulgar which they felt could be achieved by wearing saris.
      The college did not feel the male teachers needed to have Indian values or stop looking vulgar.
      Salwar kameez is an Indian outfit and can covers more than a sari does.
      Formal trousers and shirts are formal for both men and women.
      There is no way logic to assuming that sari is respectable and jeans and salwar kameez are vulgar. Take a look at this sari – http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4180560

    • @ravi,

      …Say some teacher tells she is comfortable in bikini and teaches in bikini would u as a mom join ur kid there?

      You just touched on the ultimate male fantasy. Sorry it only happens in desi men’s dreams.

      This is a women’s college, if a teacher were to decide teaching a women’s class in bikini, she ought to have a great body image; not figure. Learn about healthy body image http://www.peelregion.ca/health/commhlth/bodyimg/bintro.htm

      These perceived (hypothetical) senarios are used to monger fear and control people. It was same way with Mandal Commission, middle class uper castes were up in arms against it that lower castes will give them orders. Same thing happened when Indira Gandhi came in to power, men felt now their wives will give them orders. Did it happen? Did one Indira Gandhi in the top office change the status of all Indian women? This is exactly the same fear right wing Hindus use, if muslims are not controlled India will soon be a muslim country. And it is the same fear Islamist right wing uses, Islam is in danger.

      This perceived danger, fear of loosing control motivates people to control other people.

      …Say ur spouse is always cross dressed (and argues that he is comfortable that way) wouldnt u force him to wear a proper one?

      There are people who are cross dressers. But the question is did the spouse disclose his cross dressing before the marriage or he was closeted and came out accidently or insisted on outing himself after marriage. In either case if it was not disclosed before marriage then it was a sort of cheating and as a wife I’ll prefer to be away from such a person who prefers to cheat and say until death do us apart.

      You said, … i believe the choice these adults should be in check.

      These adults are already in check, they have their own moral police operating from their heads, wearing a demin pant with loose Kurta, or designer Salwar Kameez, thus they are already covering more than what a sari exposes.

      Peace,
      Desi Girl

  29. @Vishwanath, I apologise for mispelling your name.

    With regard to my comment and its approval, please correct your misconception. I thought my comment may not be relevant to the blog per se, hence, I left the option to publish it or not, to IHM, as a matter of courtesy.
    I have been around long enough to know the policy of this blog page and its writer :D Lol. I don’t have to ‘wonder’, not even for a second, whether my comment would be approved!!! :)

  30. Such a move is clearly illegal, as it infringes upon their fundamental rights, guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Hope the teachers ensure that this mindless rule is not implemented.

  31. I do agree with you to the extent that every person has a right to decide what to wear; but it largely comes from own perceptions of what is good or bad. Like some people ( males as well as females ) are dressed too loud at an occasion when restraint is required. At times, it is also too indiscriminatory of the place!
    Its a long debate, endless but tell me one thing; do women proest so vehemently whan they are made to wear skimpy uniformed skirts of kingfisher (even in winter days) or a Sari in One of the airlines? Most corporates have this enforced dress code culture for their employees so whats wrong in schools doing something that is just on similar lines. Its not that Sari does not look good or is demeaning anyone. By the same length, I would agree that it would be wrong if male teachers were allowed to wear Jeans and women were not.

    • Do take a look at the post The Wizardspost,
      1. The reason why only female teachers are asked to wear only saris is that salwar and jeans are seen as ‘vulgar’ and sari as ‘respectable’. A very wrong message to give to the students.
      2. Sari is also made compulsory to save Indian culture… what about western outfits for men? And salwar kameez is not Indian?

      • I guess it depends on how something is worn. Any attire can be made to look obscene; like I knew a teacher who used to wear low cut blouses and wore the Sari a bit too low…. and what would anyone say since she was adhering to the rules?
        All I said was that there is nothing wrong in a dress code unless it is too demeaning. All organizations have it; and there are places where men are expected to wear full sleeves shirts with tie, leather shoes, etc etc and there is no restriction on women.
        If someone has said Jeans or salwar kameez is vulgar, its his or her personal opinion; but you would also agree that IF worn wrongly, anything can be vulgar and having a dress code ( unconnected ) is not altogether a demonic idea as long as it is not demeaning for anyone….and is an organizational need.

  32. This is how things hapeen

    1. Don’t wear jeans,salwar in schools. Wear only Sari
    2. When you wear sari at job , what is the problem in wearing sari at home? No more jeans please , wear sarees
    3. To girls, when your mothers dont wear jeans , why do you want to wear jeans. No jeans. This is Indian culture and tradition.
    4. A girl ‘dares’ to wear jeans. Now everybody tonges go wagging. And we know everybody will blame the victim for whatever the men do.

    There are 2 reasons why these rules are imposed on women and not on men
    1. The decision makers are mostly men. That too older ones. What do you expect? And if there are some women, they will mostly be traditional (by choice or by design, I don’t know)

    2. Women are easier to control than men. I don’t say that as a fact of nature, but as an observation of society per se. And even if you put rules in workplace for men, they have freedom at home. Women , not that much

  33. On airlines, can anybody tell me what do Ladies Pilots wear? Is there dress code the same as air-hostess, like saree or short skirt with 4 inch heels? Or they wear Suit and trousers like men pilots.

  34. Oh Good Grief! Get over yourselves people! This form of jingoistic feminism sets back the equal rights movement many years.

    The college is a professional institution and has a right to weigh in on the dress code of its employees. In the referenced paragraphs I did not see any judgment on virtue of women wearing jeans or other forms of western attire. Sarees are prescribed as a dress code for the post of the teacher. I do not see them proscribing these lady teachers from wearing jeans or any other outfit outside of their employment. If you do not like the dress code you are free to seek employment elsewhere. I think that they are perfectly within their limits to suggest such a dress code. IN India no other dress is as polished and mature as a properly draped saree. Saree is after all considered to represent a mature woman- someone who is experienced. The fact that saree can also be draped to look whorish is inconsequential to the argument. Jeans on the other hand are still considered the realm of the young in India. You may not agree with this perception but there is no disputing the current reality. I personally think jeans should not be part of the professional vocabulary where you interact with third parties – they just do not look professional enough. This holds true especially for a profession like a teacher or professor where one does need to appear mature and knowledgeable to be able to command respect from students. God knows that itself is hard enough otherwise. Notice also, that they have included salwar kameez with jeans and I agree.

    As for not requiring men to wear dhotis, – For whatever reason, shirt and trousers have become acceptable “formal” and professional dress attire for men.

    How you extrapolated this into a “feminist” issue boggles the mind.

    • Forgot to add that I would have no problem if the dress code for men is dhoti and kurta either. Men should also not be allowed to wear jeans. I am just not ready to read into this an attempt to control wonen’s dress code because formal pants and shirt do look professional. Whatever looks professional.
      Also think that salwar does not look professional.
      Also acknowledge the unfortunate consequences of having to wear a saree during monsoons etc.
      How about a properly draped nine yard saree? Looks professional and eliminates the restrictive nature of a 5 yard one. Afterall Rani Laxmibai fought battles wearing it.

  35. Also, I really do not identify with half of the stories and issues discussed on this blog. That makes me suspect a huge sampling bias. I am a Maharashtrian for its worth. I cannot understand the sentiment that someone might be upset that I “dare” to wear jeans. I have never identified such a sentiment in my extended family members who might device a dress code to punish me for my impertinence.

    I also wanted to make clear that there is always a possibility that such a dress code “may” sometimes be used as a part of a clever and insidious plan to dictate what a woman can wear and not wear. However it does not seem to be the case here. Just sayin.

  36. This is becoming more of an anti-feminist / feminist debate :)

    Me – It might help to keep in mind that feminism is basically Human Rights.

    Coming back to the subject, I think it is how a person teaches and conducts herself ( OR himself ) that finally matters. Dress is an issue that comes up only when certain schools have certain perceptions about what is good or bad for the students – and rightly or wrongly, the managements do work in such a manner.

    These students happen to be our children and when we have selected a particular school do teach them values; i think we must have faith in the system and not be so volatile on these matters.

    Me – When it comes to our children we should never have blind faith in anything or anybody, no t relatives, not neighbours, not strangers, not acquaintances.
    And then most schools today are careers and business opportunities for most of those involved – it helps to be aware consumers.
    Basic values are better taught at home.

    Sari is not a demeaning attire, so why this issue?

    Me – Are jeans and salwar kurta, dhoti, mundu or kurta-pajama demeaning attires? Is it okay that we have a bias against some teachers based on their gender?

    PLUS – I may be wrong in this but i have a feeling that there are a fairly large number of schools and colleges where the principles and trustees are women and yet they have similar dress codes.

    Me – Does that make it alright The Wizaedspost? ? A lot of schools also have no toilets and and they support corporal punishments, and ignore absent teachers etc.
    “Has always been done this way’ should not make something alright. Earlier women were not allowed to work, they were just glad they could work I guess, they didn’t dare bring up the discomfort of what they wore, today they can see they have options that the schools are somehow banning.
    Why not let the female teachers decide what ‘formal attire’ they wish to wear, just like all other teachers?

    • I think I have said everyone ought to have a right to choose what to wear, but at the same time, one should not feel something drastically wrong if an organization lays down a dress code for employees.
      Taking everything as loaded against a gender is like creating a bias. Men too have to adhere to rules about dress codes. There is nothing wrong in dress code. No one would say McDonalds should have waitresses dressed in Salwars; would they? Or Kingfisher should permit Salwars to be worn by their stewardesses? Do they have a choice there? So why this against the school managements who, as I said, may rightly or wrongly be trying something which in their minds is better.
      Have a look at even the some of better class clubs during the new years eve…you will find dress code for men and not for ladies!
      As a final test case – how many women go dressed in salwar kurtas for the interviews and selection of the jobs as school teachers? ( or for anything else )….As per my guess there would be a very small minority; which proves that they themselves differentiate what ios good and where.
      I DO see your point too, but as I said…this is an endless debate :)…and everyone is right. so Cheers, I rest my case.

  37. As for not requiring men to wear dhotis, – For whatever reason, shirt and trousers have become acceptable “formal” and professional dress attire for men….

    May be given a chance, shirt and jeans will become acceptable “formal” and professional dress attire for women. Isnt that possible.Should we not even try

    And the moment you start dwelling on the answers to the question you have asked, it gives you the reason behind all these posts

    Me – I agree… well said Aseem.

  38. The female revolutionaries of colonial Bengal pushed the envelope and actually broke several barriers sending this ‘society created’ carefully and painstakingly built up ‘sati-savitri bharatiya nari’ image flying out of the window. These ‘society created’ images, social evils, etc also masquerades under the pseudonym – ‘our ancient culture and traditions’ – which (mind you) we all must uphold at any cost. And which our ever-increasing legions of ‘sons of the soil’ vow to do… at regular intervals. This also includes ‘women wearing jeans’… while men wearing jeans are conveniently excluded. ‘Coz they are under no obligation to uphold ‘our ancient culture and traditions’ by switching to dhotis/mundu. After all… what’s chilly powder for the goose is sauce nay ambrosial nectar for the gander! Plus… the ‘ancient culture and traditions of India’ began at the very moment Levy Strauss ‘invented’ the blue jeans in 1873.

    Wonder why the history of the revolutionaries (especially the female ones) hailing from colonial Bengal – the seat of British power – is unknown to the rest of India… and why only the name of Rani Lakshmibai… the fiery Queen of Jhansi is bandied about… ???

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    • True Deboshree. And the Indian woman doesn’t have much say in this either.

      All Indian women are clubbed into one category and must fit into the role of the saviors of the culture, whether they approve of the role (or the culture) is not taken into consideration. Culture, tradition and religion are the most popular tools for controlling women’s lives all over the world anyway.

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