#DressLikeAnIndianWoman: Because good girls don’t dress like men – More recently, a group of students protested on the premises of the Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University (SNDT) against a circular which directed female students to wear ‘decent’ and ‘formal’ clothes.
Recently students from SNDT Women’s University protested against the Vice-Chancellor’s diktat of asking students to dress formally in college (File Photo)
In the last year, several city-based colleges have been imposing gender-based rules on students. Recently, University of Mumbai restricted library access to female students; on Monday, a government-run polytechnic college in Bandra decided to divide the canteen space based on gender to resolve sexual harassment cases on campus.
Students across the city are protesting and fighting several gender bias issues. Annaya Shah, Class XI student of St Xavier’s College, said, “Some rules are necessary but rules like banning ripped jeans on college premises is too much. When we say that India is a democratic country and we have freedom then we also have freedom to wear what we want. The institute says that we get distracted because of wearing ripped jeans. But the question is how can we get distracted by wearing comfortable clothes. When we say we give equal rights to both the genders then why not give them right to wear what they want. When there is restriction on girls it should be on boys too. Rather than asking girls to change their choice why not ask boys to change their mindset.”
Echoing her voice is Jhanvi Ravishankar, a first year BA student, Mithibai College, “There are no rules in my college but I don’t agree with the rules imposed by other educational institutions. Such rules instigate students to rebel more and go against it. Rules regarding wearing ‘decent’ clothes are necessary but the college should not go overboard on this decision. It is the student’s choice to wear what they like.”
More recently, a group of students protested on the premises of the Shreemati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey Women’s University (SNDT) against a circular which directed female students to wear ‘decent’ and ‘formal’ clothes.
The angst is palpable among female students. Can dividing canteen space really curb sexual harassment? “Dividing canteen’s space is not going to help. It is a high time that we live in a society where everybody should be allowed to choose what they want to wear or where they want to sit. When parents don’t have any problem then why should the college have? Anything can happen outside the college as well. People are mature enough and they know what they have to do,” said Shriya Popat,a first year BA student of Mithibai College, Mumbai.
A quick Google search will yield results showing several cases of gender bias. Are we in a bid to ‘save’ our women from sexual harassment moving backwards in evolution? According to Dr Ranjini Krishnaswamy, Director Principal of Billabong International School, Thane, “We have uniform rules for girls and boys in our school. Only the basic facilities like washroom needs to be separate. I don’t think there is any point of making different rules or facilities in the educational institute’s premises. Most of them have siblings and stay together at home. There should be a healthy interaction between the students which will help their growth as a good person.”
What is irksome for many female students is the Bandra college principal’s theory that dressing like men and wearing pants can be the cause of Poly Cystic Ovarian Diseases (PCODs). Speaking about whether what we wear can actually affect the reproductive system, Powai-based gynaecologist Padma Ramakrishnan, shared, “Poly Cystic Ovarian Diseases(PCOD) can happen when we wear tight-fitting clothes for a longer duration. The tight clothes reduce the aeration in the private parts and then they are prone to a lot of moisture retention which may cause fungal infection. In Mumbai, we have severe humidity. According to me, we can only make the students aware about the issue and give them a choice to choose.”