The Indian society views girls wearing traditional Indian clothes like suits, sarees and lehengas are “sanskari” while girls in western clothing are labelled as seeking the attention of men. People very easily judge the character of a girl from the way she is dressed.

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“Girls should not wear revealing clothes.”

“Girls wear such clothes to attract men.”

“Good girls don’t expose!”

We all have heard such comments, not only from men but also from women.

Has anyone asked them if they are comfortable wearing sarees to the workplace or while sleeping? If they feel lack of any pockets wearing suits? If the dupatta has caused them trouble by getting stuck somewhere?

There is no doubt that sarees, suits and lehengas represent our traditional Indian culture. Every Indian girl does like to wear these clothes for occasions and festivals. But wearing them daily might not be very comfortable for them. Western clothes might offer them a cheap, low-maintenance and comfortable option. Moreover, it is their choice to wear what they like. We all have been granted the Right to Freedom under the Indian Constitution, irrespective of our gender, class, caste, race, etc. If men can wear anything they like, roam shirtless, then why aren’t women free to wear clothes of their choice? Why are so many restrictions imposed on them?

If you think that these restrictions are important as clothes are the cause of rape and sexual harassment, if you think that short clothes are an invitation from girls to men to come and rape them, then what about the 9-month-old girl who was covered in a blanket? What about the woman in burkha? What about the 70-year-old lady in a saree?

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Bollywood films like Lipstick under My Burkha perfectly represent the societal restrictions posed on the clothing of women in India when Rehana (played by Plabita Borthakur) and a group of college students campaign for the right to wear jeans. Jeans ka Haq, Jeene ha Haq, they scream through the streets, challenging authorities, something that we’ve seen across college campuses in the country. From skirts to jeans, mobile phones to chowmein, everything they say invites rape. Yet, that doesn’t guarantee that a burkha-clad woman like Shireen (played by Konkona Sen Sharma) won’t be raped in the safety of her own home by her own husband.

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Recently, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Padmavat’ has undergone certain changes and the makers have released a newly edited version of the song ‘Ghoomar’ in which Deepika Padukone who is seen performing Rajasthani folk dance. The makers have used VFX to cover up Deepika’s midriff which was exposed in the earlier version because the society has problems even with it.

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This clearly shows that there is much need for a change. So, don’t ask your daughter, sister or wife to cover them properly before going out, ask your men to change their thinking.

All the Indian citizens have freedom of speech and expression, freedom to assemble peacefully, freedom to move freely throughout the territory of India, freedom to practice any profession and religion, then why not freedom to wear what one wants?