“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?


Those charged with our safety should have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise.

Sometimes the same people who think women should endure unhappy marriages also worry about the gender ratio. They see no connection or contradiction.

Some people think banning prenatal sex determination tests will end female foeticide in India, even if the society continues to see getting and staying married as a woman’s life-purpose. They see no connection.

The same people who claim to respect women also insist that controlling how women dress can control crimes against women.

Somebody told me this protest in Canada, ‘condemning the notion that suggestive dressing is an invitation to assault’ was ridiculous.

When a Toronto police member told the students that they could avoid assaults on campus ‘by not dressing like a slut’,

The protestors swept through the streets wearing whatever they wanted

I agree with them,

Being in charge of our sexual lives should not mean that we are opening ourselves to an expectation of violence, regardless if we participate in sex for pleasure or work.

No one should equate enjoying sex with attracting sexual assault.”

The protesting students and the staff demanded that the Toronto police force take serious steps to regain their trust.

“We want to feel that we will be respected and protected should we ever need them, but more importantly be certain that those charged with our safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — slut or otherwise,”

(Link shared by Desi Girl on Buzz, Thank You DG.)

Do you think, in India, the police (including women in the police), the educational institutions and our law makers, and all those who have the power and the responsibility to ensure women’s safety have a true understanding of what it is to be a survivor of sexual assault — even if the victim ‘participates in sex for work or for pleasure’? 

I doubt it.

Related Posts:

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work.

Provocatively Dressed.

Why a ban on jeans may not stop street sexual harassment of women.

She does not invite it.

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

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Losers and Stalkers

Cilla’s brilliant collection of ‘loser songs’ reminded me of this one, I call it a Stalker’s Song.

Tum mujhko na chahogi to ko baat naheen, tum kisi aur ko chahogee to mushkil hogee..”

It’s an old song, but we have many subtler, modern versions today.

[Roughly translated, this guy says, “If you do not want me it’s alright, but if you like another (man) there will be problem.

Now if we are not together, we are not apart either; You haven’t accepted me, but you haven’t turned me down either

I can live with the thought that you are not mine, so long as you do not belong to another man.

If you do not appreciate my heart, it’s okay; but if you appreciate another man’s heart, there will be problem...”]

Songs like this one are not about infidelity or a broken heart after a breakup. These songs object to a lack of interest  shown by the girl the singer chooses, as in…

“Can I do fraindsheep with you?”


“Fine then I will have to throw acid on your face.”

Ever wondered why did he think she can’t turn him down?   “It is a normal human tendency to feel sad when rejected by anybody. But, where is this sense of entitlement and anger coming from? Why this feeling that she must like me, I am too good to be rejected, I cannot possibly be turned down?Read in Apu’s thought provoking post ‘That Huge Sense of Entitlement‘… (Cross Posted at ‘No Gender Inequality‘)

Why a ban on jeans may not stop street sexual harassment of women.

This post is in response to this news.

Why a ban on jeans may not stop street sexual harassment* of women.

Because sexual harassment existed in India before women started wearing western clothing. The difference is that now girls dare to speak up.

Why do we have street sexual harassment in the first place?

Because young boys are curious about girls and they want to get to know them. This is perfectly natural, but in our society they dare not express this. When they cannot speak to girls, they find negative, unwelcome and generally offensive ways to seek their attention.

Irresponsible statements and punishing the victim confuses the culprit. The boys notice they are not being blamed for molesting the girls, because the girls ‘asked for it’. This attitude does no good to a society, especially when this society will soon have a large number of unmarried boys.

When boys are focused on their careers they are less likely to find the free time to harass a girl no matter what she is wearing, but an aimless boy with plenty of free time will linger in her daily route to college. Not knowing how else to handle what he feels, especially if his attentions are not welcomed, he might do anything from whistling, singing, trying to touch her or throwing acid on her face.

Again what kind of clothes she wears has nothing to do with his actions.

Adults in positions of authority and influence should not be making baseless statements that reek of inefficiency. Colleges need to seek police assistance to ensure their students’ safety, the way colleges in bigger cities do.  Sexual harassment is a crime and should be treated as one.

Meeta Jamal must understand that there is no end to the ways in which she might find girls’ provocative. Today it is tight jeans, tomorrow it will be the way the girls wear their dupatta or the way they laugh or walk, and banning all of these has still not protected women in conservative societies. How safe are women in Taliban?

I have said this earlier, I repeat again, these are future scientists, doctors, teachers and mothers in those pairs of form fitting jeans. Meeta Jamal’s job is ensure they grow into confident young women, not  helpless victims who blame themselves for any and every crime committed against themselves.

(*Street sexual harassment is inaccurately and euphemistically called Eve Teasing)

I am still on a blog break, this post was written in a moving car -for the first time in my life!  I just had to meet a dhamaal ka provocation on my blog break 😉

Said Noodle Strap to the Sari – I


Flashing Traffic Lights

Sari clad Susheela glared at the girl in the next car. Music blared though the traffic. Long nails tapped brazenly on the steering wheel. Couldn’t she cover her tattooed shoulder? Then they blame the men….

The light turns green.

A knock at her car window. Startled, she turned to him. And turned away, red faced.

A literary work will be considered 55 Fiction if it has:

Fifty-five words or less (A non-negotiable rule)

A setting, One or more characters, Some conflict, and A resolution.

(Not limited to moral of the story)

Edited to Add:

Urban Dictionary ( http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=flasher ) describes FLASHER as,


1. A person, usually a man, who takes pleasure in exhibiting his private parts to random people in public. A cliché flasher wears a dust-coat, flabs of which he spreads in front of his victim(s).

2. A person who interupts tennis/soccer or any other kind of match by running onto it naked.

Flashers do it usually without a particular reason, for the sake of doing this.

Ad.1 While I was going to meet you I came across a flasher, lurking in shrubs. He had nothing to be proud of!

Ad.2 Kournikova was to serve when a flasher burst in and ran with his fingers V-shaped.