Dressing the undressed

Two questions perplexed me about our concept of women empowerment – 1. when people justify rapes by victim’s  indecent dresses , why should girls wearing jeans get raped ? 2. why women clothes are getting shorter , while men’s remained the same over generations ?


Before answering these questions , there is a basic assumptions that defines most of the girl’s aspirations i.e. they want their male counterparts to respect them as human beings and look beyond their body into their soul .

In this article , we shall try to establish that women should dress decently , not because their society or circumstances asks so , but because its the best way to uphold their dignity and respect . Lets consider the advertisement of Maggi , a 30 second commercial that stresses on its only competitive advantage that it can be prepared in just two minutes . Now , lets understand why women desire or choose to wear short “western” dresses  . This is because they want to feel desirable by men and symbolise freedom from shackles of slavery. Obviously , no men can judge them in a gaze of 30 secs , but for their physical attraction . Thus , similar to the Maggie commercial , the best way for women to make themselves desirable , is by advertising their competitive advantage i.e. their body parts . Thus , when women themselves want to become an object of desire , how can men not be expected to treat them as objects of pleasure . Contrast this to men , why dont they advertise their body parts in public places inspite of six packs trends or muscles ? Simply because , men are not valued by their body but by their monetary status or intellect . So ,while men are judged by worth other than physical body , women are compelled to find other ways to be judged by men , and the easiest way is their body curvatures .


An interesting trend that has emerged in past 100 years is , while women dress length has constantly getting reduced , men’s dress length has remained the same . This is evident if we analyse some Hollywood and bollywood movies , which are reflection of the contemporary society . While men’s costumes have remained almost of same length , women have reduced their length . The questions which arises is – why women’s dress has constantly reduced unlike men ? Well , it can be easily argued by women , that men want to view such appearances and are willing to pay for such , while men argue that women are willing doing this . This viscious cycle will continue , until , boundaries are delineated , especially by the female sections .


When an  incident of a raped women wearing jeans is reported and the rapist comments over the clothes of the girl for the cause of rape , it is ridiculed off . However , understanding of the aspirational level of women and insecurity among  men can help understanding the meaning of such comments . Apart from other economic and social aspirations , women define modernisation by expsoure of their body in public space by limiting their clothing . While wearing jeans cannot explain rapes when viewed in isolation , the insecurity among men about rising women’s aspirations even in dressing reflect their reluctance to allow women to reach their highest aspirational level of undressing themselves .


Women argue that why should only they define their boundaries ? why shouldnt men be asked to stopping desiring such vulgar dresses ? The simple reason is human  psychology – we always feel superior seeing others undressed , naked , disenfranchised , weak and inferior infront of us . So , more the women undress themselves , the more men would enjoy the act , and more they would desire undressing . So , the level of decency which any women can allow themselves to be undressed is by the women themselves . Thus , its for the women to decide and choose not to become an object of pleasure , but a person of character , who is respected for her intellect and values .This can be achieved by wearing decently in public .


But how can we define decency , when its a subjective concept and varies across cultures ? While wearing jeans in USA is decent ,  its considered indecent in India . The answer also lies in the same human psychology mentioned above . While men want other’s undressed , none of them would like their family members to indulge in such acts . Thus , any definition of decency can be deduced from Immuel Kant’s universalisation principle which says that girls / boys can define the dresses as decent , if they wish their family members i.e. mothers , daughters and wives to indulge in such clothing . Such definition will decide if the dress is indecent for the society .


When people , especially women realize which dresses are indecent , they would strive towards wearing only such  clothes that will promote the level of decency in society , thus refusing to become an object of pleasure for men . This awareness will reverse the trend , where women presently seeks to achieve to level of nudity from fully covered body to a state where a women would seek to reach the highest level of decency by fully covered body clothes . Only when this trend is reversed , we can expect the aspiration towards undressing themselves , as a sign of women empowerment , to change towards the urge to become decent  and become truely empowered with dignity and respect from all . This self realisation will reverse the trend from westernisation to Indianisation of dresses .



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