A few days back a male colleague of mine tells me – ചേച്ചി, ഈ ബ്ലൗസ് വല്ലാതെ നിഴലടിക്കുന്നു – എന്താ വാങ്ങുമ്പോൾ ശ്രധിച്ചില്ലെ? (This blouse is almost transparent- didnt you pay attention while buying it?) I must say that was a question which I did not expect especially from that quarters. I just said “Really” Later, after a few indignant thoughts, I even retorted that that it was probably because my inner wear was unusually bright on that day. The person who said this is really not anyone suspect just as I realise he is a typical average Indian man.
I apologise if you dont belong to the typical lot for generalising so much - but really the newspapers and daily experiences so tend to make this belief so strong in my mind that Indian men are going from bad to worse. As I am a malayali and a resident of Kerala I am referring particularly to Malayali men but I do know that men from most parts of this country think the same way.
Thirty-five to forty years ago we had a worker in our tharavad, a woman of about 40 to 60 years of age (very difficult to be precise) that never used a blouse in her life. Earlier than that in Kerala women who covered their breasts were an odd phenomena restricted to affluent women of higher caste. Later on, we had young women, upto the eighties who wore only blouses with their long skirts or mundu, and wore a veshti only on occasions when they went out. Films of that period will show heroines in this garb, and really no matter how hard the cinematographer tried, men did not ogle at them as much as they do now if even a bit of the stomach is visible between the blouse and sari.
So we have women reflecting these thoughts by fear and resorting to pinning their saris in the most odd positions - at the back of the blouse, on the front and where not - that I am sure that manufacturers of safety pins are really digging gold. Ultimately the beautiful sari is made into a grotesque piece of cloth lending the person an ugly figure, whereas if one had draped it in the right manner it could have made the wearer demure, sexy, attractive or any adjective the wearer would like to be referred to as.
So you have people who wear purdahs that are most unsuited for our tropical climate. Then you have the others who deride the purdah and wear or make wear saris like purdahs fearing exposure anywhere. You must realise that it is suchbackward thoughts that make people attribute rape to the clothes of the victim, ie please excuse the rapist as he lost control of himself seeing the attire of the woman. I mean how more perverse can you get?
I wish women would stop from covering their bodies with tents just becuse they fear the xray vision of some men. Or at least stop criticising those of us who feel good about ourselves.
Dress well, dress smart, be trendy, show a little back or waist avoiding the ugly and the vulgar. For anyone with doubts about my feminism - I am one a staunch one, but a very feminine one. I like to look attractive and get admiring looks from both sexes. (Burning inner wear is not my forte).
Back to my blouse, well I still wear that one, i dont stick pins to hide my paunch completely from world view (I like fresh air), I like deep backs because thats where I dont have tyres - in short I dress in what makes me feel good - നിഴലടിച്ചാലും ഇല്ലെങ്കിലും, (see through or not)