“My dad tells me not to wear skimpy outfit when he is around”

My dad tells me not to wear skimpy outfit when he is around – Link shared by Swarup. 

According to this article, this dad, ‘has enough time to be a doting father and also gives his little girl thoughtful advices’ 

And all the comments agree.

‘which dad will not give this advice…!?’

And some assume the ‘thoughtful advices’ are meant to protect the daughter from crimes.

he is a genuine daughter loving father who wants to see her reason with the truth. Under Indian conditions and under Indian policing infrastructure, judicial system, he is giving her the wisest advise through himself.

This belief is so strong – it is almost as if there has been serious  research, and as if statistics have found that traditional clothing protects women from assaults. Why do we continue to believe and propagate such Rape Myths?

This mindset takes the focus away from the horror of the crime – it makes serious crimes a matter of shame, honor, clothing, timing, social life etc. And that make it difficult for victims to report sexual crimes.

Also consider – if a young woman has been ‘advised’ against wearing ‘skimpy’ clothes, isn’t there a risk that she might blame herself [link] if she is sexually harassed? What if the blaming and shaming silences her?

Yes, Indian conditions are frightening – but lies and myths have not protected women through the centuries. Why don’t we see that this doesn’t work?

Confidence and Awareness are more realistic tools. Equally (or more) empowering is having a Voice.

Also, the understanding that like any other crime, this crime too can only be controlled by putting the fear of the consequences in the mind of the criminal.

I wonder if instead of risking silencing with shame about clothing (or anything else) maybe a doting father would assure his support and love – no matter what.

That alone would be a step towards two of the three most powerful tools, towards Confidence and  towards having a Voice.

Related Posts:

“But, my only motive in life has been my daughter’s happiness which is now in your hands. I beg you, please keep her happy”

At what point should educated, 21st century women who can think liberally for themselves, take responsibility for themselves…

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

Difficult daughters, easy sons?

What do you think of this mother, and this family?

“This man is openly threatening his daughter and is instigating others to burn alive their daughters.”

These lines sum up the biggest reason for male child preference and skewed gender ratio in India.

Rape and clothing: How it’s all dressed up – A guest post by Praveen Talwar.

“This is how we all do it. We find a corner in the house, where the others can’t see, and then dry them.”

“Here’s what I would tell my future/potential daughter, if I ever have one.”

A response to: Why we think women activists should change their attitude of “wear what you like”

Did the posters threatening acid attacks on women wearing jeans surprise you?

Dad knifes girl for speaking to lover

53 thoughts on ““My dad tells me not to wear skimpy outfit when he is around”

  1. Who defines what clothing is “skimpy”? In some countries wearing shorts might be perfeclty normal but showing cleavage might not be. In some countries women who are wearing jeans are blamed for dressing provocatively while in others women who wear jeans are “covered up”. It is ridiculous to blame sexual assault on what a woman wears-if men “cannot control” themselves, their movements should be restricted, not women’s. But I am preaching to the choir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The society does. Even in the US, you cannot walk around naked and claim that you have the “right” to wear whatever you want.

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      • But what exactly is skimpy? Are knee length shorts skimpy? Is lungi skimpy? Is a sari skimpy? Is skimpiness level decided by how much skin is showing or how used-to are those looking at the outfit? We know nighties are disapproved of by some, jeans by others, and salwar kurta by some in Andhra Pradesh. What exactly is not skimpy?

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        • Well, it depends on the cultural context. As you rightly pointed out, in many southern states wearing a jean would be considered skimpy. In Delhi, may be showing cleavage is considered skimpy. It all depends on the social context in which you live. When in Rome, do as the Romans. That’s it.

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        • Do you think women should need to make this constant assessment of what is approved by random people in their immediate vicinity?
          Is it possible to be dressed in ways that get everybody’s approval – how does this process affect the society?
          Does it empower men or women or their families?
          How is it that we see some societies more concerned about this than some other societies?
          Are women safer where their clothing is controlled more or where they freedom and rights are respected more?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Women don’t need to make constant assessment of what is approved by random people… First of all in this case it is not a random person but he dad. Secondly you make assessment once and than pretty much follow it.

          Skimpy has to be put in context of society and place. What is acceptable in one place might not be acceptable else and vice versa. And yes this assessment of skimpy has to be made keeping in mind random people

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        • So who exactly should women ask? Their dads? Random people? Their friends? Boy friends? In laws? What if some views are not in agreement with each other? Should they trust the more ‘modest’ view then? Why should they do this? What happens if they decide to wear what they like – like everybody else does?

          Liked by 1 person

        • “So who exactly should women ask?” – Just look around. That should give you sufficient hints as to what is acceptable attire.

          As long as individuals are dependent on other members of the society for their day to day activities, they have to follow the rules of the society. You cannot say that you need other’s services but also remain insulated from their rules. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

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        • So women depend on other members of society for their day to day activities… ? And being able to exercise their human, legal and basic rights is having their cake and eating it too?
          What about the law of the land?
          And those who do not have to seek the approval of random people are those who do not depend on the society for their day to day activities?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Not just women, men too. We all depend on each other and so have to follow some common rules. Men cannot walk around with half their butt visible. They will get ridiculed (and probably beaten up too). Similarly, women get judged when they walk around semi-naked.

          “And being able to exercise their human, legal and basic rights is having their cake and eating it too?” – What “right” in the constitution is that exactly ? The degree of nudity acceptable in public is regulated in all countries. No one has a “right” to be semi-nude/nude in public.

          I don’t understand this obsession with feminists to be able to walk around naked/semi-naked. We used to do that, probably in the stone age and then we evolved. What’s the point in going back ?

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        • wearing clothes according to the place is more important. In my native place, men wearing lungi is considered more decent than one wearing shorts. But in Bangalore, it is the reverse. I wear clothes according to the place. Wise way to choose cloths is to look around and see what most of them are wearing in that locality. Choose the clothes which look comfortable to you among the one which you see there. I guess most of the men do the same. Women in Tamilnadu (outside Chennai) are very good in that aspect. They are modern in their approach but wear the right clothes. Even girls in some villages ride geared motorcycles without any fuss. The often don’t gain unnecassary attention or get unnoticed because of the way they conduct themselves. They are also well educated. But always modest clothes which suit the place where they live.

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        • You say: ‘wearing clothes according to the place is more important. In my native place, men wearing lungi is considered more decent than one wearing shorts.’

          IHM: This will change when and if more and more men/women start making their own choices and stop worrying about what is expected by random other people.

          Comment: ‘But in Bangalore, it is the reverse. I wear clothes according to the place. Wise way to choose cloths is to look around and see what most of them are wearing in that locality.’

          IHM: A lot of people may not want to spend the time, effort and money to alter their appearance this way. Some people are just comfortable in whatever they are used to wearing, sari or jeans or lungi.
          Also, who exactly are these people who are bothered by it and why exactly are they bothered? How did they get this idea that they have this right to control what other people wear?

          Comment: ‘Choose the clothes which look comfortable to you among the one which you see there. I guess most of the men do the same. Women in Tamilnadu (outside Chennai) are very good in that aspect. They are modern in their approach but wear the right clothes.’

          IHM: If you read some emails on this blog and you will find many women are very unhappy with such expectations from other people – including families, spouse, strangers. And many others are able to choose for themselves what they would like to wear – these also seem to be generally the more empowered ones, or more in control of their own lives.

          Comment: ‘Even girls in some villages ride geared motorcycles without any fuss. The often don’t gain unnecassary attention or get unnoticed because of the way they conduct themselves.’

          IHM: Unnecessary attention is given by those who know they can get away with giving unnecessary attention.
          If we stop holding women responsible for ‘gaining unnecessary attention’ – this will change. Otherwise women will continue to spend long hours of their everyday life wondering what more they can do to avoid being seen as ‘provocative’ by those who give them unnecessary attention with impunity. We should realise that asking women to remain invisible/not-noticeable/unprovocative/conspicuous does not work – even ghunghat doesn’t protect women from sexual harassment.

          Comment: ‘They are also well educated. But always modest clothes which suit the place where they live.’

          IHM: It’s not education but attitude that empowers women. Women with no education can also hold their own and educated women may find themselves on the defensive, struggling to prove they are as modest/unprovocative/inconspicuous as random strangers expect them to be.

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      • True, but even if someone does, say, due to mental illness, it does not give people the right to attack/rape him or her…Also, how is it that men have the ‘right’ to urinate in public or walk around in underwear scratching their b@@@@?

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        • See that’s the whole point. Men don’t have this right to urinate in public. It’s just that when they do that, there is no one to stop them. So that has come to be seen as social standard ( in an inverted manner)

          Man dont urinate in public in all countries. They would get fined / arrested for that. Because the social standards are different

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      • I dont think there is any set standard, society evolves, the same society which deemed it bad when i wore frocks in 12th grade , are fine with me wearing shorts when i visit for vacation — I’m married and in my 40″s so is it age. since I beleive I’m quite fit and look about the same. is it my marital status.
        or is it the fact that i challenged them that i would dress as i please and they can go hang.. the same society invites me to their homes na dadmires my sarees , they have not ex-communicated me ( yet!!!) or ostracised my parents. yet the very same society condems my SIL when she wears capris. they talk adn think as a DIL she ought to wear either pants or salwars..why? because I live abroad , or is it because Im more outspoken, or they dont dare talk against the daughter of the family but DIL is game, or are they scared I’m rich ???

        I think we as women, especially indian women should be least bothered by society, they have nothing better to do. sure dont walk naked, but wear what youa re comfortable givent he weather and conditions and what makes you happy.

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  2. I often wonder about our ‘fragile Indian Culture’ which is held in the length of woman’s clothes.Our ‘Indian Culture’ is hurt when an Indian woman lives independently.It is hurt if a woman drinks.However conveniently ‘Indian Culture’ is never hurt by street sexual harassment,misogynistic comments or portraying women as objects.

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  3. Guys act the same way no matter how clothed a girl is. How many salwar-wearing ladies undergo physical abuse in buses! Did they wear skimpy clothes? nope! These stupid comments on women’s dresses are only churned out by cowardly guys looking for a reason to blame women.

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    • We don’t live for ourselves. We live for others. We get the real happiness when we live for others. At least for your family. Don’t get disheartened for these things. You also have every right to ask your dad/husband/son not to wear some clothes which you feel not good for them. Also choose the clothes according to your body. Post a picture of tamil actress Laila in shorts and actress Namitha/Shakeela in shorts in some forum. Can you guess who will be admired more?
      Why one looks sexy while other is not? Can you tell me?

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      • 1. Why is it important to look sexy or even pretty? Do women owe pretty to the world? Aren’t looks, attractiveness etc subjective? What is attractive for one, could be unappealing for another person – nobody can please everybody.

        2. Living for others is generally expected from those who are lower in the hierarchy(frequently women and the youth), or dependant on those who are deciding what is appropriate.

        3. Those who are in positions of power are able to wear what they please.

        4. Women who are able to choose what they wear are often seen as threats by misogynists because they sense that their opinion is not being considered and that takes away their power to control women’s personal choices.

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  4. This annoys me greatly. I agree that to a very, very miniscule extent, the rule of what-to-wear extends to men too, but it’s predominantly women who constantly have to evaluate their clothing choices based on the beliefs and expectations of some invisible judgmental audience.

    The sight of legs embarrasses people, the sight of cleavage titillates, the sight of the body’s shape is a declaration of the woman’s availability for sex. When are we going to stop blaming clothes, when will we stop calling things a “consequence” of said clothes? Skimpy clothes, slutty clothes, “revealing” clothes–these DO NOT EXIST.

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  5. Response for ANON that wrote:

    “I don’t understand this obsession with feminists to be able to walk around naked/semi-naked. We used to do that, probably in the stone age and then we evolved. What’s the point in going back ?”

    Women don’t want to walk around naked/semi-naked. This is just your thinking.
    We just want to dress the way we feel fine. If i wear a short dress is my personal business . You can think what you want about me but don’t have any right to say something to me or to touch me. Is my business what i wear and how i look and is your business what you think.
    Is the police business if you touch me or sexually harass me.

    If i see a man looking great, mucles all over, walking and wearing short pants and a sleeveless shirt is my business what i think. I will not go to say to him anything and neither i will jump on him because is hot.

    So grow up!!!!!!!!

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    • You totally sidestepped anon question. Yes whatever way you dress up, i don’t have a right to say anything to you or to touch you. But at what point i have a right to complain to law officer, who then has the duty /responsibility to arrest you for obscenity?? At what point freedom to dress cross over into indeceny?? This is anons question and mine too

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      • what would you complain about, if i walk the street in shorts and a sports bra. — i do run like this you know. if you cant stand to see this, you need to keep your eyes shut🙂 sure you can go ahead and complain and i can defend my choice of attire, why would i be arrested for what crime, in fact the guy should be arrested for oogling me and and harassment if he follow me.. if he watches me daily and my clothes its close ot stalking perhaps ???? no..

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        • Now your arguement has entered into ridiculous territory. Yes i can complain and yes you can defend, but it is very much possible that the law will deem it obscene and you might be arrested.

          You say you wear sports bra and shorts and its fine. Ya it is fine. But in that social context in that place. It might be totally inappropriate dress in some other place. And that is the whole point.

          How is that particular social context and what is acceptable decided?? That is the question you are evading

          Let me try to put ot another way… In offices guy wears jeans / trousers with shirts. On the other hand girls can wear trousers/jeans, skirts, salwars/saree. Now imagine if a guy comes in saree. What will the reaction of everyone including women?? Will that be acceptable or the guy will be mocked and ridiculed out??

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        • Sports bra and shorts would be unsuitable in India not to mention Egypt,Dubai,UAE,Iran Iraq Pakistan.,…probablyprobably even sri Lanka.
          People are OK with tourists,…but if you are living and working there one can’t escape the norms.

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        • Why? of course i wouldn’t wear it in a country where they have rules and get thrown in jail, but is there a specific set of rules in india ?? If so i wouldn’t flout them ..not morally what people think one should wear. and why is it permitted for tourists only?? what about athletes. is it ok for them, what about if i wear training for a marathon min india. people do runt here dont they?. I think a decent pair of shorts and a cross back sports bra is perfectly fine, it’s like a sleeveless t-shirt and shorts, what norms?

          you have to care about the norms only if you care what other people think.

          I’m not saying i would wear this . I just mentioned it as an example. but i routinely wear shorts and tshirt when Im in Chennai (counted as conservative) and no one seems to care. Guess they got used to seeing me wear it or probably realised I don’t care about their views🙂

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      • Dear Anon

        I believe these are your rights.
        – Understand that women are human beings who have the right to dress as they like.Just like you.I know! Shocking as it may be!
        – If you feel obliged to get somebody arrested because of how they dress,I think you can start with ‘arresting your mind’.Try to repeat to it.Slowly.Tell your mind ‘It is none of my business how a women chooses to dress herself’.

        BR
        V

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      • Anonymous, I have been following your discussion and anon’s discussion on this topic…both of you seem to have an unholy obsession about controlling skimpily-clad women.

        First, please tell me where in India do you see women so skimpily dressed that you feel obliged to bring a law officer into the picture. What is your definition of indecency (since you are the ones running for a law officer)? Jeans? Sleeveless shirts? Shorts? Bikinis? Where do you draw the line? The answer will probably tell you more about yourselves than about the poor souls walking around minding their own business.

        Please don’t talk about “cultural context”…it’s just another name for moral policing.

        My point is simple…culture, tradition, society…none of these trump individual freedom. As long as the law is not broken, people have the right to dress whichever way they want. Even the law officer that you so frantically complain to is still bound by the law…not the vaguely amorphous rules of a vastly heterogeneous society

        Case in point – A few years back, a woman named Moira Johnston traveled topless on the New York Subway. People huffed and puffed about it, they complained to the cops, but they were not able to do anything as she had the law behind her. Now, you may agree with her, you may judge her, you may despise her…but neither you nor any law officer can take her right away from her.

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        • I have seen few women in posh areas of Bombay and Bangalore.The skimpily clad women with see through shirts,ganjis, make even me feel weird and distracting and I am a woman. …especially overweight women with bulges,arm fat dressed as above.
          Instead of concentrating on their personality, too much skin, bulges comes in the way.
          Or maybe staying in India I am not used to seeing too much skin.

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      • Dear Anonymous,

        As much as i know the point when law officer can interfere is when a person ( man or woman) is completely naked on the street. This is called Exhibitionism.
        Exhibitionism is the act of exposing in a public or semi-public context those parts of one’s body that are not normally exposed – for example, the breasts, genitals or buttocks. The practice may arise from a desire or compulsion to expose themselves in such a manner to groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers for their amusement or sexual satisfaction or to shock the bystande.
        And as much as i know even in this situation the law can’t put in jail the person.

        How many times did you see on street naked women or men? I walk daily and never saw. I see only women dressed in different ways. Some are great looking and what they dress make them look stunning. Some are just average looking and what they wear makes them look normal. Some are not looking at all ok and what they wear makes them look stupid. But is their business as much as they feel well in that clothes.

        So you, Anon and many others try to work on your personal thinking, try to find hobbies in life, let women to enjoy the freedom to live on this beautiful Earth.

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        • That’s just your interpretation of exhibitionism. Does the law say that only when someone is nude “from a desire or compulsion to expose themselves in such a manner to groups of friends or acquaintances, or to strangers for their amusement or sexual satisfaction or to shock the bystande”, it is illegal ? I would doubt so. So, the other way to look at it is even in your country certain clothing (or lack thereof) is banned. I would guess going topless is still illegal in most places even in Europe. In US, one will definitely get arrested for nudity in most places. So, there is nothing new with society deciding what attire is acceptable in public.

          My “personal thinking” is fine. You can keep you advice to yourself. No, thanks.

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    • @bandaria: If we extend your argument to its logical conclusion, walking around naked should also be legal. If you are fine with that, then great !! If not, then what you wear or not wear is of a concern to others if it “offends” them. Exactly what is offensive and to what degree should it matter depends on the cultural context.

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    • If that is the case, if someone sexually harasses some other person, and if it is police business, then why are we even talking about that? Can we just leave the law / police to deal with it and keep quiet about what is happening next to us?

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  6. When I put on lots of weight and it began to interfere with my periods due to PCOS, she was after me to exercise, but the lazy bum I am, I wouldn’t get off my butt. Finally, she used what she thought was her ‘brahmastra’ – “Tera man nahin karta shorts aur miniskirts pehenne ka?” I rolled my eyes at her and was like, “Mom, come on!”😀

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    • Surbhi, people should wear shorts and mini-skirts if they find them comfortable or like them, no matter what their weight is. Remember the post ‘you don’t owe prettiness to anyone’? When I was a teen, I thought swim suits, shorts, etc. were only for models. I’m in my 40s now and live in the US. Here moms and grand moms wear swim suits and shorts. Some are flabby, some are fat, some are fit – it doesn’t matter. They are there to swim, not to pose. They are there to relax and enjoy the sunshine, and they have as much right to do that as anyone else. Slim figure should not be a requirement for any type of dressing.

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  7. What about reverse discrimination? I am a plain person,who prefers comfort over fashion.Through out school,college posh girls who wore shorts,spoke with a twang,wore makeup had a separate clique,…their main job was to ridicule girls dressed in salwar kameez etc….aka behenjis.
    The society judges people only on appearance in fact now its become worst.And such continues in 40s and 50s too.
    If women reject other women only on basis of outer appearance s, why are we so surprised when men do it ?
    The subcontinent men largely dictate what women wear indirectly and directly.If the husband likes sarees ,women prance around in sarees to please them sometimes even if woman herself finds sarees uncomfortable.
    The last time the guy asked me to wear saris because I look good in them,I told him he could go ahead and wear one if he liked them so much !!

    Like

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