Couple weeks ago a few of my friends called and we suddenly made a plan to meet. I was really excited since it had been ages since we had caught up. We planned to meet at a pub or lounge and catch couple of drinks, some dinner and head back. Now being a mother of two such treats are rare and you want to make the most of it. So I got dressed, reached the pub where we to meet. Moment I walked in I had people looking at me strangely. Reason- possibly I was the only woman in the pub dressed in salwar kameez. My friends made a small joke too…I laughed it off too.
However this incident just made me realize how much we stereotyped people basis what they wear. Girls wearing modern attire might not be homely or religious, someone wearing saree might not be modern or aspirational. Few years go I was to meet my husband’s parents – this is before we got married. Now I am comfortable wearing jeans and tees most of the times , and I wanted to be comfortable when I met them more than anything else. As I was getting dressed my mom started telling me that this was not an attire that I should be wearing and wearing a salwar kameez or saree might be more ideal. Why do we decide that homely girls would wear salwar kameez? Does my attire have anything to do with my ability to manage home? For past many years I have successfully managed home, cooking, working and raising kids….so much for judging me basis my clothes.
We have stereotypes for everything- You need to wear “Indian attire” when you go to temple. Why? Does god love you more when you do? or do you suddenly become more devoted? There are temples in India where they don’t allow you in if you aren’t dressed “appropriately”. And who decides what is appropriate for me? Shouldn’t my dressing me a function of what I am comfortable in? Weddings naturally mean loads of jewelry and heavy Indian attire……then whether someone can afford it or not becomes secondary.
And these stereotypes aren’t limited to women, men can’t wear pink…must be a gay if he wears feminish colours. Boys like cars..heaven forbid of they like stuff toys or even boys don’t care about how they lookas much as giirls do.
In a society which we call advanced it’s disturbing that we should have such stereotypes and pass them on to the next generation too. We want the world to change around us…I guess we should start by changing our own beliefs and perceptions.