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A girl of over 20 years walked into a pub and my friend leaned over to me and said, “Look at her, she is inviting trouble. Her short skirt is like a desperate measure!” The girl whom my friend had judged was dressed impeccably well, a short silver skirt, paired with contrast heels, a frilled blouse, and a matching clutch. Now, somehow, this sent a different message to my friend observing her style. Perhaps, it’s not about the message being sent, but, the perception of a person (my friend) and the message they hold about the girl’s sense of fashion.

Go to a party in a pub, and if you are surrounded by women in itsy-bitsy skirts, chances are the judgmental comments and the furtive glances begin. Women judging women, men judging women – this is entirely gender-less! Almost everyone I know has done it because someone, somewhere, dared to wear something they wanted which was perceived as a desperate call for seeking attention! 

The more skin you show, the more you send a signal based on a misguided judgment. The fact is, a woman’s hemline is often considered as a measure to offer respect. “Why should I respect a woman in a short skirt? She’s asking for it,” is the perception. The shorter the skirt, the lesser the respect. A lot of abuse that is centered around women is also attributed to “what women wear”. Often, a woman with rising hemlines is considered “trashy” or someone who wants to attract attention from men. The higher the hemline, the lower the respect level. (It’s ok if men wear shorts or run naked on the beach a la Milind Soman.) 

So, why am I writing about this today? It’s disturbing to know women themselves judge other women who opt to dress as per their taste. Often, it’s not even about the hemline, a backless blouse will invite the same ire as much as a short bodycon dress.

One’s fashion sense is always a personal choice. I’ve loved my mini skirts as much as I loved my Indian wear. I’ve had a supportive bunch of friends and acquaintances but there’s always the oddball who’d never be happy with whatever you wear. So, dare you to choose to switch to Indian wear, the statement would go, “Hey, I think you look better in western wear!”

You cannot please everyone! As opinions change and people being people – the silent judging would always be there. A shorter hemline is not always about rebellion. It can be that the woman chose to wear it because she likes it! As simple as that. 

One’s fashion sense is always a personal choice.

Self-love and self-respect, both do not need validation
Stand Tall and Stand Proud

Why a Change of Perception is Needed 

People are going to judge nevertheless what you do. I remember when I had raised an issue about a person trying to cross their boundaries with the words used, which I considered as unacceptable, I was told, “You wear shorts, so what do you expect?” I am no longer friends with this person. While I am particular about where I wear my outfits which is largely dependent upon the event, it gives no person the right to comment about their perception which was quite unasked for! 

  • A change of perception is only possible when a human looks at another without judgment.
  • A person should not hold their perceptions as true for all.
  • A person understands that this is a woman’s personal choice.
  • A person also acknowledges the concept of consent. The consent is also applicable to the kind of comments made when no one has particularly asked for it.
  • Most importantly, a change in perception will happen when women hold themselves accountable and learn to ignore tongues that wag. 

If you’re a man reading this, do remember that every person has a personal choice. It has nothing to do with a person’s character.

If you’re a woman reading this, remember, fashion is a self-expression and a way to unleash your inner diva. So, if you feel like wearing your sequinned skirt or bodycon dress, go ahead! Find your outfit, channelize that goddess in you and stand tall and proud!

 

Author: Kashmira Lad

Indian Fashion Blogger with a Focus on Women Empowerment and Mental Health.  

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