Being Single in India

Guest Post by wordssetmefreee

My niece has often shared with me the troubles of being single in India. A couple of her friends are now almost turning 30 and pressure from their families is mounting. This they’ve chosen to ignore, but everyday life is not easy. The way neighbors and random strangers seem to treat them is reprehensible.

What are some challenges single Indians (both men and women) face?

Based on my niece’s experiences, and the comments from My Era, Neha, Cosettez, Simta, and Fem on the recent post on ‘women and friendship’, here are some –

Practical/Everyday Challenges

  • renting a place to stay
  • going out in one’s neighborhood (attracting uncalled for attention, especially single women from ogling men )
  • living in an apartment complex where everyone makes it their person business to worry about your future
  • for women, mild to moderate to severe harassment from some men in the building (staring, lewd remarks or worse)
  • getting mistrustful looks from some married women (being viewed as a potential ‘threat’) and not getting invited to family gatherings, pujas, festivals celebrated in the building
  • advice from family, relatives, neighbors and random strangers to get married and settle down and obsessive matchmaking that sometimes borders on abuse
  • Questions like, “Why are you not living with your parents?” (or at least with an aunt’s family)
  • being judged for dating or being in a relationship or pretending to be married when you are in a live in relationship
  • for women, being constantly reminded of your biological clock ticking
  • finding your name appearing mysteriously on matrimonial websites, without your permission, with the description, “highly educated, yet traditional, fair, beautiful, makes X amount.”
  • difficulty finding and keeping friends as most people get married by 30
  • patronizing attitudes from co-workers with families
  • workplace discrimination (“if you are single and over 35, there must be something wrong with you”)
  • questions on the person’s orientation, which is now everyone’s business
  • friends of the opposite gender forbidden from visiting apartment (because God forbid, they may have consensual sex. And we’re okay with marital rape, of course, that’s the poor woman’s problem, but consensual sex is everyone’s problem)
  • If you are divorced, you either did something wrong or you are unlucky. You no longer make the cut in terms of group membership.
  • Single women wanting to adopt a child face bureaucratic and societal challenges
  • Real threat to safety (when I go for my morning run wearing shorts in India, I feel safer if my hubby, brother or older son goes along with me. I’ve tried running alone but felt intimidated by the hostile stares and the lecherous grins. How is this different from the Taliban mindset? The man in your life may not be The Hulk but having one next to you seems to discourage unwanted attention.)

Emotional Impact

  • Feeling of being more visible – being singled out, more negative attention, every behavior/action attributed to one’s single status
  • A sense of being more invisible – ignored at or not invited to social gatherings/outings if more people in the group are married
  • Displacement from family – younger cousins, married with children are quoted as examples by sad parents, parents don’t understand how someone can want to be single, a feeling of collective rejection from family and extended family – being blamed/made to feel guilty for not making marriage work
  • Self-doubt and confusion – rejection and isolation leading to feelings of uncertainty, disorientation, and demoralization.

Some possible ideas to deal with this

  • Find other singles to network with. If you are divorced, find other divorcees. Start a support group. Sometimes these groups lead to friendships, sometimes they don’t. Even if this doesn’t lead to friendship, a group can be helpful for advocacy reasons – it is easier to fight for the right to rent without being discriminated against, if many people are involved.
  • Remain committed to the few people who are supportive. Keep in touch, make time to keep the friendship going without withering.
  • Join online groups and forums to get help/ideas for specific problems as well as to feel connected.
  • Start a blog on the topic as a meeting point for ideas and support. If there is a blog that focuses on the issues of single people living in India, please share.
  • Divorce needs to be made as un-intimidating as possible, otherwise marriages become prisons.  Many women stay in unhappy marriages because there is insufficient legal information and emotional support for taking this simple step – of walking out of an unhappy situation.  Therefore, please share resources/websites for divorcees, especially legal resources that explain your rights, procedures, property and custody issues.

Are we better off?

In the past, the only people who remained single were women who “failed to get married”.  They remained in their brother’s or uncle’s or male cousin’s house (after parents were gone) and served the families that extracted work and threw scraps at them in return.  They were ostracized within the family and held as an example of what happens when we don’t pray, fast, or train for a good husband.

Now, most single people I know (who are in their 20s, 30s, and 40s) got there because they made a choice. They chose to stay single.  They chose to walk out of unhappy marriages.  They chose to be in a relationship with someone without marrying them.  Boy, haven’t we ( a minority perhaps) come a long, long way?  Even if their % is small, there are probably now more single men and women in their 30s and 40s than there were a generation ago.  What does it mean – the fact that this is the first generation that we have more single people than ever?

  • this indicates that a few more people are putting off marriage to a later age (in my generation, many women got married in their early 20s and men by their late 20s).
  • this could also mean that a few more people are choosing not to marry
  • more people are opting for divorce when faced with unhappy marriages
  • at least a few women are no longer worrying about their biological clocks – they can choose to adopt (if they want children later) or choose to be child free
  • more women are able to work and hold jobs that allow them to make a living, so being married is no longer the only way to survival
  • being single longer and marrying later makes marriages more level playing fields – women who have lived alone and managed finances are less likely to be enslaved, men who’ve lived independently are not mamma’s boys, can take care of themselves and are not looking for someone to cook and clean for them, both women and men know what they want in a relationship)

The fact that a few people are making the decision to remain single or get divorced despite the challenges listed above means that our mindset is changing – that freedom and choices are now more valued – that they are pursued at the cost of society’s approval, acceptance, and the need to belong.

If you are single, please share your experiences and challenges with being single/in a live in relationship/divorced in India, and how you cope with both the practical and emotional aspects, and especially what has helped. It would be great to hear from both women and men on this.

If you are married, would you be comfortable renting out your apartment to a single/divorced person, male or female, if they appear to be honest, reliable people and have proper paperwork?  Would you rent to an unmarried couple?  Do you have unmarried friends who are over 30 or do you make friends only with married people?  Do you invite single/divorced people to gatherings/celebrations in your building?  Why or why not? If the answer to any of these questions is no, please elaborate why you are uncomfortable or what’s getting in the way of your friendship/trust.

“So why do we wear clothes again??”

‘I wish one had the liberty to slap these kids to senses and send them back to kindergarten to be taught…”Why do we wear clothes again??”’ (From J’s comment here)

So why do we wear clothes?

1. For protection from heat and cold? Most civilisations that did not need protection from cold did not have rigid rules for body being covered up.

Did traditional Indian clothing have blouses or shirts? Men and women wrapped a dhoti or sari, children generally wore nothing. Body was decorated with flowers, ‘alta’, turmeric, sandal wood paste, kohl and jewelry, wanting to look good was not considered inappropriate.

When invaders arrived from locations where clothing was necessary for protection from extreme heat or cold, they also brought along the concept of ‘shame’ and modesty. In ‘Chokher Bali‘ the newly wed refuses to wear a blouse with sari, because it was too British (modern).

Once the society starts covering women up, Margaret Atwood describes how the threshold for what is found sexually attractive changes, soon even a glimpse of an ankle becomes sexually provocative.

One example: Pakizah has the hero falling in love with Meena Kumari – after he sees her beautiful feet. Was that love?

2. Do we wear clothes to look better – to look sexually attractive?

Was there this fear that if women did not cover up, men might stop finding a mere glimpse of a part of a woman’s body attractive? (Margaret Atwood, Handmaiden’s Tale)

Mr Balvinder Singh’s experience in Nagaland shows making rules about covering up a woman’s body, is the beginning of objectification of women, to ensure ‘excitement’ does not ‘turn into monotony’.

“The men wore only a loincloth and the females wrapped just a shawl below their waists. The women folk of all ages were seen working in the fields, carrying fire wood or hay for the animals, pounding barley, washing clothes at village water points, knitting on hand looms (almost every house had a hand loom where the women would knit shawls etc) or attending to other such daily chores of life, wearing nothing on top.

While a small cleavage visible under the thin dupatta or through the pallu of a woman’s saree is certainly a pleasant sight for any man worth his salt, without harbouring any malafide thoughts in the mind, but there in the villages of Nagaland it was an anti climax to see the dangling pairs of bare boobs, available to look at in abundance in all shapes and sizes. Initially they were a cause of some excitement, which was natural , but gradually the excitement turned into monotony. I was reminded of the words of a famous poet that the ‘beauty that is veiled looks more beautiful’.” [Click here to read the entire article]

3. To prevent offending the sensibilities of those who think covering up is a religious/social/cultural/safety requirement?

This is extremely subjective.

Some people find even the glimpse of a woman’s eyes offends their religious sentiments, some find sleeveless blouses offensive, for many only traditional clothing no matter how much it convers or reveals is acceptable.

Some think it’s okay to wear anything so long as one can ‘carry  it off’.

Most people simply resist any change. So in most places,  there are rules regarding not just skin, but also how much of which clothing should not show.

So the sight of boxers and bra straps offends some people.

For many other people’s legs (shorts, bermudas), calves, arms (sleeveless) and knees (skirts), midriffs (saris, lehengas), shape, curves (fitted clothing) are offensive.

In  India showing one’s back and midriff is acceptable when one is wearing a sari, but not if the outfit is Western. Nigeria disagrees! Read Nita’s post – ‘Sari an immodest garment?’

So it seems what’s okay in some societies is not acceptable in some other societies and the rules change with times, all the time. Most societies seem to accept and rigidly follow their current – generally unwritten norms.

How do these norms get created? And how do they change?

How is it that more of these rules apply to women?

Could these rules be a means to control women’s sexuality?

Why do you think do humans wear clothes?

Related Posts: 

The way a woman dresses.

No Jeans for an Indian daughter in law.

Not just a pair of jeans.

All teachers except Indian women can do their job well enough in Western clothes?

Even if Poonam does not run naked, she should be punished?

Model Poonam Pandey’s plan to strip if India beat Sri Lanka Saturday has angered the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) women’s wing which has sought police action against her.

“Indian women are revered and respected since time immemorial…”

How exactly do we show this reverence to women? Please do compare this to how we show respect to everybody else.

Can threats be called ‘respect’?

I have so much respect for you; don’t ask to eat with the rest of the family. Your happiness lies in seeing us enjoy the food you cook.”  Is that respect?

So basically,

If you disagree we can’t respect you.

Don’t try to give your point of view, we won’t be able to respect you…

Little girls earn this respect by respecting the fact that they are always second to their brothers. “What’s wrong with that, don’t they love their brothers?

It’s more like a Terror of Respect.

Do as you are told or else we will not ‘respect’ you.

Dress only the way we permit or else…

Don’t choose your life partner or else…

Let your husband and his family abuse you, or else…

Give us a male heir or else…

Don’t enter the temple, you are impure…

And worst,

Don’t complain if you were sexually harassed, molested or abused or else no respect.

So, when it comes to women, it seems respect is more a means to control than a privilege.

I would say the only kind of respect that matters is the respect we have for ourselves. Or Respect that is given in return of respectequal and mutual. All other forms of reverence and respect are not too far from ‘honor’ and ‘honor killing’ or honor related abetted suicides.

Kelkar objected to Poonam ‘sullying the image of Indian women before the whole world.’ (Read Bhagwad’s objections to granting Poonam such powers)

Another man thinks her actions can sully the name of his caste. So obviously this lawyer believes there are no Brahmin rapists, child abusers  and murderers? Or these crimes don’t insult Indian culture?

“Even if Poonam does not run naked, she should be punished as she not only gave a wrong impression of the (Brahmin) community but insulted Indian culture,” The case will be heard April 5. (Today)

We live in an India where some people can legally express their arrogant, sexist and casteist opinions and offend my democratic and tolerant sentiments. I find it difficult to understand or ‘respect’ such frivolous objections. Are they doing this for free publicity? In a country where rape victims have to wait for years for justice, aren’t such cases a waste of time and resources?

Thankfully we are a civilized, democratic society. Poonam Pandey, Rakhi Sawant and Mallika Sherawat are generally free to ignore these opinions or react (if required) through a civilized, legal process.  No stoning. No anti-blasphemy laws.

And that is something I respect about my country. 🙂

Women who value the respect they have for themselves more than the respect of every wannbe politician, publicity seeker, neighour’s third cousin etc are able to fight back.

Sraboney shared this video where this Pakistani actor Veena Mallik is fighting back against similar allegations. Makes me wonder if hypocrites are the same everywhere.

Three Saudi youths were arrested for attempting to sexually assault a teenager…

Teenager escapes rape attempt (in Taif,  Saudi Arabia)

Did you find this news difficult to believe? I did.

Is the victim going to be stoned for attracting the molesters attention?

No.

“The victim told police, after  escaping from the youths, that while walking down the road a car with three men pulled up and invited the victim to join them. When the victim refused to get in, two of the men tried to drag the victim  into the vehicle, but the victim resisted and managed to run away. They had also taken the victim’s mobile phone.

With the help of a Bangladeshi worker, the victim called police and described the car the attackers were driving.

A police patrol detained a car matching the victim’s description when it passed through a checkpoint later in the night.

After being interrogated, the youths admitted to trying to sexually assault the victim. They also confessed that they had sold the victim’s mobile phone for SR300 in a nearby market.

They took the police to the shop where they sold the phone and officers interrogated the shopkeeper.” (News from here with minor changes, to make a point…)

Can you guess why this victim is not going to be blamed for this (attempted) crime?

Miyan Biwi razi to BAN karega Kazi?

1.

Khama’s brothers and uncle allegedly took Rs 5 lakh from a Rekha Ram with a promise that Khama would be married to him [Link]. (Not sure but it could have something to do with dwindling number of girls in Haryana.) Rekha Ram kept Khama tied with ropes, but she escaped and married the man she loved – Chatra Ram.

So now to save their err …’family honor’ Khama’s brothers and Khap Panchayat decided that the young couple must either die or pay Rs 5 Lakhs as ‘fine’.

FINE.

Khama and Chatra Ram then approached the district magistrate and reportedly put up a bizarre request: that they be allowed to kill themselves as the last attempt to escape the khap diktat.

2.

Last week a Anuj, 22 was arrested for killing Ajit Saini for marrying his sister. The next day the ‘murdered’ man and his widow walked to a police station to show they were alive [Link].

Now a police official says the brother has been released on bail and the  his family has filed a complaint against Ajit for kidnapping their daughter [Link] No mention of what Anshu, the daughter and sister -an equal adult citizen has to say about this.

3.

Manoj and Babli were threatened by Khap because they were from the same gotra. They sought legal protection.  The couple was killed while returning from court – in front of the police escort.

The killers were family and close relatives. The Judge in a forthright judgment gave death punishment to five of them and life imprisonment to one and seven year jail term to another. [Link]

The news had made me smile… only for a while.

Did the murderers learn a lesson?

What do you do when you want extortion,  murder, molestation and abandoning to be justified? You invoke our traditions and culture. And honor.

They decided that Hindu marriage law should be amended to ensure that people from same Gotra (Sub caste) cannot marry. They plan to agitate to save the youth (around a hundred of who they have allegedly killed).

When I mentioned this to a relative of mine, settled for decades in America, she said those from same gotra are siblings. So those who want this ban would find support.

I reminded her that we have some same gotra arranged-marriages in the family – in one case the girl was ‘adopted’ by an aunt in front of the pandit, in the other nobody bothered with the gotra.

My maid from Orissa has seen this too, so ‘adoption’ as an ‘upaya‘ seems to be a common   practice.

The khap panchayats are demanding a change in Section 5 of Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to disallow marriage between couples from the same gotra and living in the same village.[Link]

So same gotra is not the only objection. They should not belong to same village too. We already know that young married couples can get killed for marrying out of caste, community and religion too.

Basically the ban is on marriages where the girl and boy got to meet and like each other.

Reminds you of Taliban?

Many Indian parents do not like their children to find life partners for themselves. They feel the girl would be taken advantage of (outraged honor & modesty)  and the boy would be trapped and taken away by the girl. (Read Alankrita’s comment here.)

Valentine’s Day bans are tolerated because of the same concern.

So would it be acceptable to such minds if the couple lived in instead of getting married?

Note: How how replacing the first letter of Kazi with a more appropriate letter?

Related post by Bhagwad Jal Park – Make the Khaps leave India – traitors to the Constitution

What I love the most about my country.

I receive email links from a reader who signs as  ‘Moral Police’ 😆  Moral Police complains I see nothing good in India. 😐

Moral Police is mistaken.

I love the fact we are basically a tolerant and peace loving nation.

I love the colours we love, amongst my favorites is the Pink of Pink Chaddies.

I love our arts (which include Hussain, beaded necklaces sold on Janpath and Khajuraho),

Our dance and music (including bhangra rap and Bollywood remixes),

Our culture  of inclusiveness… where cricket has become an Indian game.

I love how we can ignore our moral police’s politicians’ worries over our  ‘Pub and Mall culture’.

I love it that we have activists who can take on our politicians.

I love how we love to look good. Men too.

I love our  food and sometimes I tweet my breakfast menu. I love the fact that it’s so mouth-wateringly easy to be a vegetarian in this country. I love it that a chapati made from whole wheat atta is known to be the healthiest of all breads. (But I don’t own the chapati or the art and culture and I don’t think my loving them gives me any special rights over them.)

But what I love the best about my country is it’s Constitution. I am glad it has acknowledged me as an equal citizen. Can’t thank Jawahar Lal Nehru and Dr Ambedkar enough for this.  I am glad Khushboo, You and I can voice our opinions.

I love the fact that it has empowered me to marry or live with whoever I choose, no matter how much some well meaning local citizens’ sentiments are hurt. Sania Mirza has this right too.

I am glad I cannot be chopped into pieces by those well meaning people  for marrying the one I like. I am glad if someone does that they can be hanged.

These headlines in The Times of India made my day today.

CHANDIGARH: In a blow to the Taliban-style caste panchayats of Haryana, a sessions court in Karnal on Tuesday sentenced five people to hang until death for killing a couple from the same village and gotra.

But does loving one’s country mean one has to be an ostrich? Does acknowledging the fact that parents in India feel they own their children mean one sees nothing good in our country?

Do we have to live in denial to prove our love for our country?

And who does one submit these claims of patriotism to? To the moral and cultural police who has been taught a lesson by what I love the best about my country?

Instead of bothering about lingerie display…

‘‘Your mannequins should wear sarees, not underwear. From now on, keep all undergarments inside. Show it to the customer when he or she asks for it. Five days from now if undergarments are still hanging outside, we will light a bonfire of the lingerie,’’ Chandra Shekhar threatened.   [Link]

Is it legal to threaten to ‘light a bonfire of’ something we do not want displayed?

And what is their objection to the display of lingerie? Culture is not good enough a reason because Prudery was not a part of ancient Indian tradition or culture, it came to India with the British and the Victorian morality they imposed on us.

The traditional saree, they approve of, was worn without a blouse or a petticoat.

“… Sculptures from the Gandhara, Mathura and Gupta schools (1st-6th century AD) show goddesses and dancers wearing what appears to be a dhoti wrap… a long, decorative drape in front of the legs. No bodices are shown.

In Kerala and Tamil Nadu, it is indeed documented that women from many communities wore only the sari and exposed the upper part of the body till the 20th century. Poetic references from works like Silappadikaram indicate that during the sangam period in ancient Tamil Nadu, a single piece of clothing served as both lower garment and head covering, leaving the bosom and midriff completely uncovered.[3] In Kerala there are many references to women being bare-breasted,[5] including many pictures by Raja Ravi Varma. Even today, women in some rural areas do not wear cholis.” [Link]

It would be better if they left the women’s underwear on window displays alone and focused on things like street sexual harassment. They could follow Italy’s example – ‘Italy Ban On Public Privates-Scratching.’ [ Same news,  another link.]

Or they could focus on this: http://twitpic.com/y6enk [click to see] by Brainstuck. (Thanks for the tweet and the link Poonam). Not as interesting as women’s  lingerie, but if they take interest, they get their free publicity, we get cleaner cities.

[Cartoon from : Communalism Watch, Hindutva attack on lingerie – R Prasad Cartoon in Mail Today. If Communalism Watch or the cartoonist R Prasad or ‘Mail Today’ have any objection to the cartoon being used here, please let me know, I will remove it.]

16Jan10MailToday-RPrasad

Edited to add : Mr Balvinder Singh’s posts are a must read for those who still aren’t convinced that we need no moral policing.

About Konark Temple –

http://balvindersingh.blogspot.com/2009/01/pub-club-or-temple.html

Another one about Nagaland –

http://balvindersingh.blogspot.com/2009/02/journey-continues-to-nagaland.html

Liberal waywardness and degeneration!

To a commenter on Thank God for small mercies who says...

… .the pubs now. Only Mangalore seems to rankle in liberal minds, but let’s look at the issues.

* Under-age drinking. I have not seen a single liberal question the fact that children as young as 16 are now allowed to drink… Which liberal questioned the fact that these students were in a pub during the day, instead of in college? I’m against what happened but that’s hardly a case to close one’s eyes to the issues at hand.

Under age drinking is a big problem in the slums in my neighbourhood, semi literate goons are not authorised to deal with either them or with women in Pubs.

The only thing to do here is to inform the authorities. If the individual is more than 21 (legal age for drinking) then you are in no position to ‘take the law in your hand’, not even if the person is a woman. Not even if she is dancing with someone who you suspect is not her husband. No point trying to call her parents, if she is more than 18, she can marry or live with anyone of her choice.

Bothers you?

We may all live in one country, but we have many different lifestyles and cultures [Please read this linked post], and we are not qualified to teach other equal citizens how to spend their free time.

All radicals and fanatics think they know best how citizens, especially female citizens, must live, and if we don’t mind our attitude, there will be no difference between us and the Taliban.

* Watering holes used as a conduit for prostitution.

Prostitution, mainly when the rich are involved, is a big worry for all moral police. (The morals of the sex workers on the streets are neglected making one wonder if the concern is genuine.) Anyway here again the eager to protect macho goons will have to let the equal citizens decide for themselves. Unless they have comitted a crime, they continue to be free to frequent the places of recreation they wish to.

Also, prostitutes have legal rights too.

2. Accusations of prostitution are also used to discourage supporters. Those who kill women for ‘honor’ would rarely  utter a word to support a girl who is accused, even indirectly, of being involved in prostitution.

What I would like to see liberals do is talk about responsibilities rather than rights. Who picks up the tab when the costs become exorbitant?

One responsibility here is to create awareness against such crimes. We can’t allow a talibanisation to take over our Democratic values.

…Men with their liberal waywardness are party to such degeneration.

Read about what happens when nearly every man gets drunk every evening in the slums and in villages in many parts of India, here. The terrified, hungry children, the helpless mothers, the helpless alcoholic, the family trying to hide their bruises and their problem, or families beyond caring who learns of their ugly problems. That’s degeneration.

Women drinking and dancing in clubs is just another way in which our vast nation and its diverse people celebrate life.

Love Aajkal is against Indian Culture, but Kicking is legal?

I am so confused!

First thing I notice in Love Aajkal is that even the heroine is ambitious! I like that. I clearly remember Bollywood once suggested that an ambitious woman left her child alone at home, ‘burning with fever’ to fulfill her selfish ambitions. She learnt a lesson – often after being slapped by her husband (I am not sure, but it is possible that it’s excusable under the law, unless your lawyer uses the right Act etc, though it seems Brinda Karat has challenged this). How does one prove that kicking is not an act of kindness when the old Bollywood heroine turns around and asks : ”Yeh thappar aapne mujhe pehele kyon naheen mara??” (Why didn’t you slap me earlier my Lord? ) Anybody watching movies of those times could get confused and think Indian wives are generally grateful for a timely slap (or a kick).  So any confusion is understandable.  Now are my maid’s mother in law and husband not cruel anymore? … was I breaking a law in supporting her? I am confused.

… but Dipika Padukone is ambitious. I admire her for that even if she is expressionless while being ambitious.

Then we have a heroine committing the sin of being drunk. Again I am confused, Kawariyas are provided liquor in shivirs but girls in Mangalore were beaten for drinking liquor, I get all confused by these modern definitions of my culture. Is drinking against our culture or not? Citizens in Ghaziabad (and Noida and Gurgaon) are advised, ‘kawariyon se na uljhen’ (‘Avoid getting into hassels with kawariyas’, in a local newspaper) but girls in Managalore are dragged by their hair and molested for allegedly drinking in a pub. Please explain.

Deepika Padukone in the meanwhile claims that she only pretended to be drunk, so that her boyfriend could “take advantage of her“. Reminds me of Kajol’s horror in a similar situation in Dilwale dulhania le jayenge (justified because  Shahrukh Khan was not her boyfriend till then) and SRK assuring her that he knew, “ek Hindustani ladki ki izzat kyaa hoti hai (Translated: He knew what honor means to an Indian girl). Saif and Deepika have no idea that in movies long ago a girl was required to rush blindly towards the nearest cliff because she had crossed her ‘maryada’ (even if it was without her consent).

So I liked Love Aajkal for showing some real life. And for showing women as sexual beings unlike this. I know of girls living happy lives with their husbands who took …err advantage of them before they filled their maang with sindoor. And what if things hadn’t worked out??!!! (Oh horror!) I am sure the disappointed guy would have eventually got over and the girl too, because unlike Rishi Kapoor in Love Aajkal, I believe, one must move on.

Life is too precious to be wasted because a relationship did not work. One’s First Love need not be one’s only love. This is something Bollywood understood ages ago… watch the video in the first comment.

What do ‘Modest’ women have that their ‘Immodest’ sisters don’t…

I read this article that teaches women how to dress modestly. The article recommends that women avoid wearing shirts that show anything below the collar bones, skirts and shorts that go higher than the knees, and tight fitting clothes.

The article says that women must not wear certain kinds of  clothes,  to prevent men (who may not be creeps or bad people) from being tempted to imagining what they look like beneath the clothes.

I am not convinced because I have read of many other men (who may not be creeps or bad people)  who will be attracted to the  sight  of a woman’s collar bones or ankles, or knees, or lips (with or without lipstick) or eyes lashes, or hair or the arc of her back. ETC.

If you read the comment section of “The way a woman dresses…” you will find capris or three fourths are also considered immodest by some men.  Jeans which the article says nothing against are considered suggestive by another commenter.

If you have seen Pakizah then you will know that even the sight of a woman’s feet is enough for some men to be  attracted to them.

Some other men think modesty is in the attitude and eyes, and not in the clothes.

So it does seem that modesty is a subjective term. It seems it is almost impossible for women to fit into everybody’s idea of modesty.

But more importantly how do women benefit from giving up free movement, comfortable clothing, the satisfaction of looking good, sunlight, fresh air, and a lot of personal freedom?

…In other words, what do modest women have that immodest women don’t?

They are told they have men’s respect.

Well, I am sure men’s respect is a very worthwhile thing. But seeing how millions of (immodest?) women are doing very well without this kind of ‘respect’, I really wonder if it’s time women stopped worrying about how men are imagining unprintable things about them, (because they find their clothing immodest) and started living their lives.

Thousands of women, (mothers, students, activists, nurses, athletes, journalists, engineers, construction workers, artists, actors, writers etc) are going about their daily lives without giving a thought to what every Tom, Dick and Harry is thinking when he sees them striding past.  They are all doing fine without fitting into every rikshaw-walla, coolie, clerk, politician, principal, army jawan and dhobi’s ideas of modesty.

I wonder who does a woman’s modesty empower… who do you think?

Related Posts:

1. What women ‘choose’ to wear…

2. Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work.

3. She does not ‘ask for it’.

4. Provocatively Dressed.

(who may not be creeps or bad people)