Sharing a comment by Anonymous to ‘The sari is the best way of showing global companies that these are Indian women managers?‘
My response in italics. It’s possible that I did not quite understand the comment in some places.
Anonymous: Firstly lets dig deep into our history and try to figure why sari alone describes indian-ness in women.
IHM: Sari/dhoti describes Indian-ness only for some Indians, and only when women are wearing it. If it was really about Indian-ness they would be asking Indian men to wear dhoti and turban [etc] too.
Anonymous: Could be because it covers the full body, from your head-to-toe blah blah, and dates back right from the time when women did not even have the freedom to go veggie-shopping.
Centuries rolled and saris got “westernized” along with women. Now we have the munnis and the sheelas and their fans who love to show their bodies in their saris n strut it. I do it too.
IHM: The traditional sari covered less and there was no concept of covering from head to toe or of wearing a blouse or petticoat in most parts of India.
Today, sleeveless blouses are seen as modern and revealing, and some ways of draping the saree face criticism for showing too much skin, but women in villages in many parts of India, wear backless blouses, or blouses that are not covered by a ‘pallu’ – that’s their ‘traditional’ dress, so nobody notices.
So skin showing doesn’t really seem to be the issue, it seems to be more of a fear of women being able to choose what to wear and gradually going ‘out of control’.
Anonymous: My point here is the current sari is in its modern form as well just as the Indian women are. So arent we contradicting ourselves here by saying that saris are traditional.
IHM: My mother is 72 and she (and other women her age and older), have been wearing the current-sari the same way for the past 50 years. There are some who wouldn’t approve of my mother’s sleeveless blouses, but she hasn’t changed (or modernised) it for the past 50 years.
The saree is worn in different ways by different people in different parts of India (and generally the wearer has little choice in how it is worn). Since not allowing women choices is a part of our culture, maybe ensuring it is worn in certain ways is seen as the ‘traditional’ thing to do?
Anonymous: Moreover saris are not even conducive to today’s age and climes. so whom are we kidding! Lets keep our pretty saris to times when we just have to eat, pray, and love and certainly not when we have prepare reports and give out presentations. and lets keep it that way cause we are tomorrows’ MILs. :)
IHM: Are ‘we’ tomorrow’s MILs? Do you think today’s generation of men and women should see themselves as tomorrow’s Fathers in law and Mothers in law? That’s only possible if everybody gets married and has children, and those daughters and sons get married too…
And why is keeping it that way better for tomorrow’s MILs? Would you say that the future MILs control what Indian women wear in future?