“When you judge a woman by her appearance, it doesn’t define her, it defines you.”
~ Steve Maraboli
It’s almost 4 a.m. in the morning and I’m simply unable to sleep as I need to flush out the humiliation I faced yesterday (technically speaking) by penning down my emotions.
Even though it was drizzling occasionally, I found it to be a perfect day to hang out. No more of the dark gloomy clouds that would make you feel dull and force you not to move an inch from your bed. Instead, the smell of the earth after rains was irresistible and compelling me to move out of the house and intake some fresh air.
Thus, after deciding the venue and time with my boyfriend, the next obvious thing any girl would do is – think about what to wear, so did I. Due to the nature of the unforeseen rains, I decided to wear a dress as drying up of jeans in this weather might take days. So, I dressed up and was all set to feel the fresh air against my face and the cold breeze blowing through my hair. My face glowed with a broad smile by the mere thought of it. I met my guy and he welcomed me as usual without really bothering about the length of my dress whatsoever. But, I didn’t think in the wildest of my dreams that it would bother so much to other people who were complete strangers to me.
As we stopped at every signal, I found eyes looking at me. Some were staring silently, while others were mischievously giggling among themselves. I decided to ignore them because obviously, this is India and we can’t control everyone’s actions or change everyone’s mindset. We have to accept that some cheap, narrow-minded people exist here and it’s practically impossible to shout down everybody or abuse at each one of them. It’s a fact that according to them, the length of a girl’s clothes reflects her modesty. I have absolutely no clue about which book they referred to learn such things.
Moving on, we reached our destination which also happens to be a well-known shopping mall in Thane. Before shopping, we decided to grab some food at the food court. As soon as we entered the area, a guy in his late 30s told something to his female friend who had her back towards us and she turned instantly to have a look. I stared right back at them and they started smiling and talking among themselves. Oh! Did you like my dress? Or my legs? Or my shoes maybe? THEN TELL ME ON MY FACE, YOU COWARDS!
Again ignoring another bunch of creeps, we had our lunch and made our way out of the food court. While walking, my boyfriend noticed people staring at me and still couldn’t fathom what was wrong.
After spending some time hunting shops after shops, we decided to check out Hypercity. So, as I passed through the kids’ section at Hypercity, I found one of their female employees turning around completely while looking at the hem of my dress as I walked passed her. I and my boyfriend immediately turned around only to find her and her male colleague gossiping and giggling while looking at me. I was shocked and horrified by this. I thought that enough is enough and something needs to be done. So, I enquired about the floor manager but as he was not available at that moment, I complained to one of the department executives. She confronted us with those employees. They immediately started denying it and replied saying that they were discussing something else. The executive assured us that strict action would be taken against them (which I seriously doubt). Soon, the floor manager was called and informed about the incident. He started apologizing us and promised that such incident won’t be repeated.
My entire day went from happy to horrible within seconds and the only reason behind this was a dress which could have easily fallen under the category of a school uniform. I couldn’t understand whether to laugh or cry at this situation. I couldn’t find answers to the questions like why a little skin show is considered to be such a taboo? Why do people give death stares to anyone wearing shorts in India?
Once I came home, with a calm mind I thought about the entire day. I was basically trying to give my mind a logical explanation behind people’s reaction but was unable to come to a sane conclusion. Some of the reasons behind people (males & females included) staring at a girl wearing shorts maybe:
a. because they enjoy it
b. because they envy you
c. because they just want to make you feel uncomfortable
The general perception of people is as follows:
For all those creeps indulging in clothes shaming and body policing,
I would like to say that thank you for taking out time from your busy schedule to notice and think about me but believe it or not, my short dress has nothing to do with you. You may giggle at my small-sized dress but I laugh at your small-sized brains. If you are trying to make me feel uncomfortable in my own dress then you are failing miserably. Moreover, if you think that your awkward glances and whispers would discourage me from wearing that dress again then you are wrong. Because I will wear any damn piece of clothing from my wardrobe that I like. You have neither given me birth nor have sponsored for my clothing so it’s better to mind your own freakin’ business. For god’s sake, do not make it look like it is illegal to wear short dresses in India.
Girl flaunting a dress that bothers you.