Do you agree with the points made by Mr. P.V.Indiresan (a former Director, IIT, Madras)?
My response in italics.
It is neither correct nor wise to judge one generation with the values of another.
I think it is wise, in fact essential, to acknowledge a wrong as wrong. If human rights were encroached upon, the values were wrong.
When I was young, in Southern India, Brahmin child widows would have had their heads shaved when they crossed the age of puberty.
Even if this was acceptable in that generation, it was wrong. It was stopped only because some people refused to accept it as the right value even though it was a value of that time.
There are even groups, both among orthodox Hindus and equally orthodox Muslims, who have prescribed what women should wear or should not wear.
On the other hand, I wonder whether the most ardent devotees of women’s liberty would wear topless or transparent dresses or even condone such behaviour among others.
Hence, strictly speaking, the protest is not about a dress code but about its rigidity.
The protest is about dress codes (or choices) made by some people for some other people, just because they are women.
Generally these dress codes are enforced by threats of violent assaults, intimidation and rapes; and blaming and shaming the victims for all of these. This energy needs to be directed towards conveying that sexual crimes would be taken seriously.
I had a British classmate who wanted to talk – merely talk – to an Indian girl who was his neighbour in London. He told me he dared not because she was modest; she dressed in a full length sari (in an age when miniskirts had come into fashion) and would not look at any one. Apparently, modesty has its own virtues and even authority. That point is probably worth noting by some of our modern girls.
1. ‘Our modern girls’ sounds condescending.
2. How is it a virtue that this British classmate did not ‘dare’ to talk to her? Would it not be simpler to tell someone, if one doesn’t wish to talk to someone?
3. Doesn’t this idea of ‘virtue’ isolate women? Communication can be empowering.
4. What happens if a man does approach her? Would that mean she is at fault for not following the dress and behavior code? Reminds me of this post by Small Town Feminist.
5. Why expect women to dress in codes to convey that they are not interested in conversations/friendship/fraindship/relationships/sexual harassment/sexual assaults etc?
From this article: Moral ambivalence, then and now, P.V.Indiresan (The author is a former Director, IIT, Madras.)
Those little walks… – Small Town Feminist.