How do you imagine everyday style of modern Indian people?
To read Part 1 of this article please Click Here.
As for “western clothes” on young girls – mostly it’s about jeans and tops, casual style. To wear leggings and a t-shirt is already a normal thing for girls here too. It’s still quite rare in India to see someone in short or too open clothes, though now it becomes more: mostly people do wear short clothes to some particular places: malls, sights where there are many foreigners, parties or fashion bloggers – for their pictures.
This moment was and is still some sort of mind-blowing for me: why in some places it is okay to dress up in short clothes and in some it is not. Since in my country it is the same people who you see in malls or parties and on the streets, and in Internet, so I am not used to separate places like that. But, well, in India you can not say so: here classification of people is insane and really many things depend on the level of education and family mindset the person was raised in, as Indians say themselves.
On normal streets it is a bit problematic to wear short or open things here: they do attract a lot of staring and some men can consider that girl wearing it is “asking for it”. Even when rape happens, woman in India can be asked what she was wearing and can be blamed for that. Though not only the girls who wear short clothes are being raped (I will write another post about it!). This is the biggest factor why short clothes are not so normal thing in India yet: not that it is because it is prohibited here like some people can think, or that most of the Indian girls are shy and afraid of judgments.
Though a “reputation” does play a role in it – neighbors can judge a girl’s “character” by her clothing, and Indians, especially girl’s parents do care about it a lot. But Indians do really wonder themselves that elder women who wear sarees show their almost full naked stomach in the same time can judge young girls who wear crop tops and jeans with the small gap between them. In Russia, for example, elderly women are ashamed to show stomach but ok to wear knee-lengh dress, especially more classy types – but even wearing such kind of dresses in India, dressing up like a teacher basically, brings a lot of attention towards me, than feels like “a walk of shame”, regardless of some Indian girls trying to wear shorts on the same streets. I was allowed to wear shorts by my husband’s family, yet, I can’t, because staring in India can be just exhausting – to read about staring, Click Here. I mostly do wear jeans, and even if I will wear Indian clothes – people will stare too. While when I go to Russia, no one cares, even if I wear a crop top and shorts in the same time, and it already even feels strange – when you have a freedom to wear what you want and people see it just as clothes, it’s not making your life dangerous or labeled.
In India it’s all mostly because of inadequate reaction of men now. Which is, obviously, very sad and disgusting. Somehow the region of India also matters in this question – and Delhi – the capital is not on winning side – it is considered to be the most, in fact, dangerous for women cities of India. Mumbai, Goa, Bangalore and many other cities of the country are considered to be “more open-minded” about women’s clothes and coming back late in the evening alone, and more safe. The girls who come to Delhi from Northern cities also often dress up more fashionable, stylish and are not afraid to wear short clothes even here. I can not say though if they do dress up the same way in their own cities – I have not visited Indian North East yet.
Which can be hard to believe, but there are also Indian girls, mostly bloggers, who can post nude photo-shoots, and they won’t be even judged too much on social media platforms but called “bold” and brave. I’m not sure even they feel ok to wear shorts on normal streets. But they will, for sure, receive many harassment messages on social media, although every girl in India does receive such messages, I suppose, no matter what kind of pictures she posts and what kind of clothes she wears.
Nowadays women in India are actively fighting for their rights, safety and respect, trying to raise awareness that it is just clothes and nothing else and they are not dressing up to attract men but for themselves. But about it in different post…
It’s also almost impossible to meet people who look like representatives of subcultures in India, as well, especially Goths or Punks, because they will be overly judged too.
About the types of traditional Indian clothes I will write later. Stay tuned!