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ISN’T MINDSET A STRONGER REPRESENTATION OF CULTURE THAN CLOTHING

The last two days have been an immensely knowledge gaining experience for the women in the country. Firstly, somebody as important as the chief minister of a state questioned what values would a woman wearing ripped jeans impart to her children and the society at large 1. Such a pertinent question doesn’t our entire culture, thought process, values everything rests on just a piece of clothing after all. While we’re still coming to grips with this vital piece of knowledge that an MLA from the same state Mr Ganesh Joshi has this profound piece of wisdom to impart “Women talk about all things they want to do in life, but the most important thing for them is to look after their family and children.”2 The woman folk of the country are so overwhelmed to listen to this, we have been needlessly wasting our time and effort on career ambitions and dreams, chulha chowka is what should be our ideal if we haven’t cooked and served a 4-course meal at least three times a day to the family, what is the use of our existence. To add more strength to these path illuminating words, more specifically about no ripping your jeans the chief minister’s wife has said “He (Tirath Singh Rawat) said that women’s participation is unprecedented in building the society and the country. It is the responsibility of the women of our country to save our cultural heritage, save our identity, save our costumes.”3 Shouldn’t we be overwhelmed so much responsibility has been placed on our shoulders, and we can achieve all this by simply forging a piece of clothing.

The above-mentioned knowledgeable statement linking ripped jeans to lack of culture was made by the newly appointed Uttarakhand Chief Minister Mr Tirath Singh Rawat at a workshop organised by the Uttarakhand state commission for protection of child rights in the state capital Dehradun. Challenging a woman’s right to dress according to her choice and passing a misogynistic and sexist remark to establish the fact, in what manner is it relevant to child rights? If anyone can give a feasible explanation, I am all ears. Secondly, this gentleman has grave concerns about the culture that would be imparted to the next generation by women wearing such pieces of clothing such as ripped jeans, the last time I heard culture had a stronger connect with the thought process, spoken words and behavior. So, wearing an extremely sanskaari piece of clothing and sprouting misogynistic bile and judging others is what is extremely detrimental to culture.

Now the other learned man who wanted to tell women about their most important duty, again I understand he only wants to promote the great culture, but our culture has been about doing our assigned work. Here his assigned work is ensuring proper governance in his constituency, the women in the country are smart they will manage their work well and prioritize it just fine. For ensuring effective execution of the work, it is essential to be comfortable, so again let them choose the piece of clothing they desire. As for our costumes, we woman like variety in our wardrobe, women have even learnt to drape their sarees over ripped jeans and flaunt with aplomb, garnering attention to both. Even otherwise, ditching one piece of clothing is not going to necessarily catapult another to popular demand. All those concerned people asking jeans sporting women to be concerned about our weavers, please tell me how many men have ethnic weaves in their regular everyday wardrobe?

Women wearing ripped jeans do not wear it always to set a coolness quotient, neither is Ms Ranuat’s way of wearing it has the correct magnitude of “coolness quotient.” Most normal mortals like me on any given day before stepping out, just pull out the first piece of clothing that our eye catches in the cupboard, the only rule is it must not be a pajama and tee. But despite this I guess the confidence with which woman in the country manoeuvre through their everyday schedule while also dodging the judgmental barbs, patriarchal expectations and misogynistic rants, does make them statement inducing divas, I guess. Why otherwise would a pair of jeans be making a chief minister this uncomfortable? Give this a thought while I scroll through this collection of ripped jeans to see, which one fits me the best.

  1. https://www.nationalheraldindia.com/national/what-values-will-women-wearing-ripped-jeans-impart-asks-uttarakhand-cm-tirath-singh-rawat  http://
  2. https://www.deccanherald.com/national/uttarakhand-cm-tirath-singh-rawat-blames-women-wearing-ripped-jeans-for-destroying-culture-courts-controversy-963083.html
  3. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/duty-of-women-to-save-cultural-heritage-uttarakhand-cms-wife-defends-ripped-jeans-remark-7235322/

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