How much does your happiness and peace of mind depend on the way your family members dress?
Would you expect your spouse (or hen family members, like hen* parents etc.) to change from Indian to Western wear, or from cotton to nylon, or from sports wear to more formal clothing because it is more to your taste?
How would you react if they have similar expectations from you? Are these expectations generally mutual, if not, why not?
Why does other people’s clothing make us happy, offended, sad or outraged?
What are the chances that we know what would make them more comfortable, better than they do?
Do we have a right to tell family and friends what not to wear?
If it’s not about their comfort, or if they are sure they know what they want to wear, then why do some of us feel good if some family members change the way they dress, or choose their clothing keeping our feelings in mind?
Do we see clothing control as a sign that we are respected and cared for?
Whose clothing is most likely to be controlled?
Is it about hierarchy and control? Which means those who are able to choose what they wear (or don’t wear) are seen as more in control of their lives (and choices)?
And also, aren’t those who can dictate how other family members dress seen as powerful… For example ladke-wale?
Isn’t this why married women who are able to wear Western clothes (generally disapproved by Indian in-laws), are seen as more in control of their lives? Hence more modern, more Westernised, more a threat to Indian culture, and more likely to provoke sexual assaults?
Note: ‘Hen’ is a gender neutral term meaning him, her, his, hers etc.