Are You Dressing Up For Yourself?
I often find myself a prisoner of my own mind when I dress up.
I have to think about how I should dress based on where I am going, whom I am meeting, what would be suited to the weather and what not. And while thinking of the many factors I find my conditioning a huge barrier in my own liberties. I still can hardly gather the courage to wear a deep neck which shows my cleavage. I will be conscious if in a particular pair of trousers my butt wobbles, or the panty lines show.
All this comes in my way of just being comfortable! How many of us can find the courage to not give a shit and just wear whatever it is that we want to?
Well, I managed to find a fine young lady who has it in her to do just that. And she didn’t think of it as a big deal until I told her that I would like to write about her and her dressing sense. Her name is Ganita Dahiya and she belongs to Haryana. She comes from a village named Jharothi and her father is an army veteran but she has always seen him more as a farmer.
How does she find the Courage to Dress Freely?
She says in her regular nonchalant manner that she doesn’t really care about who is looking at her. To the extent that it never even struck to her that there is something about her dressing until I said it. She says that she doesn’t feel bad about her body and is therefore not conscious about it. “I love my body,” she says “and I am not ashamed of the way it looks.”
“You can only be free when you have body positivity. You have to love your body to be able to be free with it”
So what is Body Positivity then?
Body positivity is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, in doing so it challenges how society presents and views the physical body. The movement advocates the acceptance of all bodies no matter the form, size, or appearance. The goal of the movement is to address the unrealistic beauty standards and to build the confidence of oneself and others.
The movement sets forth the notion that beauty is a construct of society, and poses that this construct should not infringe upon one's ability to feel confidence or self-worth. The idea surrounding the body positivity movement is centred around the notion that people need to love themselves to the fullest, accepting their physical traits.
Influence of Media in shaping our Dressing Sense
Ganita, all of 22 has some really interesting thoughts to share about image creation and its impact on us. She says that the various media that surrounds us feeds us a certain image about how we should look like. It tells us so much about fitness, thinness, how high heels makes us look more attractive, how a thin waist is desirable etc. She says that she didn’t have such standards to meet or a certain conception because where she comes from she didn’t have access to a television growing up and for that matter, even electricity was not regular.
Relationship between Clothing and Abuse
She says that she has seen and known people turn abusive even when you are covered from head to toe. In fact, she says when you dress up a certain way and are confident in that clothing, people can sense it and are more conscious about breaching the line and don’t dare to cross boundaries. They become more aware of their limitations and a person’s personal space.
Criteria for Picking Clothes
Ganita wears only those clothes which are comfortable and airy. An outfit has to give her the freedom of mobility. And all the clothes have to have pockets. While she shops one or twice in a year she gets most of her other clothes stitched, and she ensures that the tailor never forgets to arm her clothing with pockets to carry all that she needs.
How people react to her Different Style
“It depends on their conditioning,” she says. And there are two ways of dealing with how people react to my dressing sense, one to be bothered by it and stopping yourself from being yourself or being bothered by it and acting on it”. Ganita continues, “everybody is different. But people tend to submit to the notion of being a certain way. The space is not created for any person to be themselves”.
Having been associated with the Pinjra Tod movement taking place in universities, she says that there need to be more spaces for women. There needs to be more space for women on the streets too! “Don’t we feel more comfortable when a woman enters a bus we are travelling in at night?”
That leaves me thinking about how we all need to go out and claim spaces for all of us to be comfortable! But this discussion about claiming spaces belongs to another article.
The Different Facets of Clothing
Owing to the recent outburst regarding the woman’s outrageous comments about women wearing certain clothes, it only brings to the fore how so many emotions and thoughts are associated with clothing.
Ganita, in her regular profoundness, says, “Everybody’s definition of empowerment is also different. While some may feel empowered wearing a bikini others may feel empowered in a Burkha”. When I discuss with her how clothes are a depiction of one’s personality, she is prompt to point out how elitist a concept that is!
“Not every person has the privilege to wear what they exactly want to. A PhD candidate may want to wear a formal suit but may not have the resources to get one. So one starts choosing what to wear when she has enough resources to choose.”
Stereotypes Associated with Clothing
There are innumerable stereotypes associated with clothes. White stands for purity and all the politicians wear it. Movies and serials build personalities based on the clothes they wear. Vamps would have dark clothes and big bindis whereas the heroines would wear bright or docile colours. All actresses generally have long hair and so on and so forth.
Clothing and the fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry and we are all a part of it. Changing fashions, and the sheer volume of advertisements and media, in general, that surrounds us leaves little space for an exploration of our own. However, amidst all this bustle we need to find ourselves.
Love your Body
But most importantly we need to learn to be free with our bodies. We need to love and cherish our body in whatever form it is. A healthy body is all you need, panty lines or no panty lines. You are good, with or without your cleavage showing. You are beautiful, even with those stretch marks. You can wear shorts, even if your legs are fuzzy with all that hair. We all need to be comfortable in our skins and stop making fellow women uncomfortable by pointing out at their internalized conception of beauty.
“50 years ago in China, there was a tradition of foot binding which was considered a sign of beauty, maybe 50 years from now women will talk about waxing in the same light”,
Ganita Dahiya signs off!
Join the Fashion community to know more women who are rewriting the fashion choices for themselves.
C*****I LOVE THIS. I'll definitely use you as a source in my future blog posts.
G*****You need to be comfortable in your skin whatever you chose to wear...And yes ,I dress for myself....There are always going to be men who haven't grown up and who think it their birthright to keep gossipping about a woman's dressing sense and link it to her character...So let them be where they belong to,down in the dumps,Dress as you please,looking good , dressing well boosts your morale,so go ahead and do it...
S*****V true n inspiring
S*****Very insightful article!
S*****True that, i always wear loose fitting clothes cause i am comfortable.in maxi skirts and tops,when in college the girls used to tell,me to buy tight fitting tops, while shopping together, she said it would look feminine. Lol.i agree ,even if a lady is fully dressed she gets stared at parts of the body, it has happened to me.i am sure many women get that too. I am learning not to be perturbed by vulgur stares.
B*****This is amazing. I love her attitude. And yes after falling prey to the society's norms today after 23 years of marriage at the age of 44 I wear clothes I'm comfortable in and give a damn to what anyone says whoever it is. At home I'm comfortable in my kaftaan style nighties and wear them without wearing any innerwear especially in summer as I'm a plus size woman and feel uncomfortable wearing those bras which irritate me in trying to lift my otherwise sagged heavy busts. And same with panties too. I'm comfortable without them at home with my kaftaan styled nighty giving me the comfort I love