• Shaming Women on their Choice of Clothes

    Neha Mishra

    January 13, 2017

    Hasin Jahan, a human being, a woman, a former model, and also incidentally the wife of fast bowler Mohammed Shami, decided to choose her own dress for an occasion. Her big mistake was that she did not take opinions about how she should cover her body, from random strangers on social media! Therefore, naturally, she was trolled (read harassed) on social media, based on her choice of clothes.

    Mass molestations of women happened in Bangalore, in front of police personnel, this New Year’s Eve. But that’s okay, because according to Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara, “youngsters are almost like westerners. They try to copy the west, not only in their mindset but even in their dressing. So some disturbance, some girls are harassed, these kind of things do happen…”

    Shaming women on their choice of clothes is not new to our country. We must realise that the choice of dress decides the “Indian culture”, and so, commenting on the choice of dress (or any basic choice of women) is essentially an important part of Indian culture.

    One doesn’t really need to go too far away in time or space to solve the mystery of this cultural tradition of unsolicited advice to women in general. Most people in our societies, communities and political parties give us ample evidence. Unless one comments on women, one's true ‘Indianness’ doesn’t really reflect. How do you blame the “trolls” and the ones who stood in support with other “trolls”? They just wanted Hasin Jahan and women in general to learn plain and simple lessons. Introductions to the manuals on ‘Women 101’. The basics cannot be missed! Cover yourself, wear what the “trolls” want you to wear, or else!

    Rape happens! But not if you dress well! Remember, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, a formal RSS man, had once taught us, “If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her in the wrong way."

    But what, you ask, about rape of “fully covered” women, or a five year old baby girl, or an eighty year old woman? Rape happens! Another intrinsic part of indian culture. But what to do, really, look at the food people consume these days! Jitender Chhatar, a Khap Panchayat leader once reminded us, “Consumption of fast food contributes to rape incidents. Chowmein leads to hormonal imbalance, evoking an urge to indulge in such acts (of rape).”

    Remember old times? No! Take a history lesson from Mamata Banerjee, Trinamool Congress leader and West Bengal Chief Minister, "Earlier, if men and women would hold hands, they would get caught by parents and reprimanded, but now everything is so open. It's like an open market with open options. Rapes happen because men and women interact freely."

    Though let’s not really forget that there are simple solutions to avoid rape! Haryana’s former Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala has an easy recipe, “Marry off girls early to prevent rape.”

    Anyway, all this does not really matter, after all, let’s not forget what RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, taught us about rape, “Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat, but they frequently occur in India”

    Let’s come back to Manohar Lal Khattar, because he has been relentlessly guiding us with his immense wisdom for a long time now. Starting from his love for Khap panchayats to his didactic teachings about rape and pre-marital sex. His insights have never failed to enthral us. Starting from how gang rape is a “trivial issue” to deploring pre-marital sex, and calling it ‘ulti-seedhi cheezein’. “Pre-marital sex is a blot. Sex after marriage is acceptable. Pre-marital sex happens as the minds of the girls and boys are not on the right track.” He has also taught us other many other important lessons, like how women dressing appropriately will stop rape in this country. We must also always remember that girls need to be dressed decently so as to “not attract the opposite sex”.

    But you know, such things will happen! Women actually attract harassment and rape on themselves. Sudin Dhavalikar, Goa Public Works Department minister says so! “Young people go drinking and it often leads to law and order problems. Our sisters and daughters are getting spoilt.”

    Blessed are we to have people like Vibha Rao, chair of the Chhattisgarh State Women Commission, who realise and propagate that women are “equally responsible” for crimes committed against them. Or people like Kiran Bedi, who bring out a befitting parallel from kingdom Animalia to substantiate harassment, “Male pigeons always chase female pigeons. It’s an animal instinct.”

    But worry not friends, focus on the solution and not the problem! Remember how BJP's Rajya Sabha member Raghunandan Sharma had given us concrete suggestions to check crime against women, “Girls shouldn't be allowed to use mobile phones before marriage and women shouldn't wear jeans.” Simple!

    Not convinced? Worry not, we have more solutions. Remember Asaram Bapu? Remember what this alleged rapist had advised? “The victim is as guilty as her rapists. … She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop.”

    Rape, you know, is not always wrong. Never forget what BJP politician Babulal Gaur said, “Rape is a social crime which depends on the man and the woman. It is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.”

    But why, I wonder is there always such hue and cry about trivial things like commenting on women’s bodies, clothes, their right to dignified freedom! We must remember and constantly remind ourselves of the wisdom Mulayam Singh Yadav illuminated us with, “Boys are boys, they make mistakes.”

    Women bodies are the prerogative of this society. Whichever religion you belong to, whichever caste, the agency of women's bodies is constantly denied. And such ‘enlightening’ public narratives, aggravates the false nostalgia of older times when women were “safer”.

    Isn’t it fascinating to imagine where these various leaders of our country are leading us to! Clearly to a brighter future, where women exist in dark closed rooms, covered from head to toe, readily available for pleasing men, because after all, boys will be boys!


    First published in Newsclick. Republished here with minor edits.

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