Clothing and Control

From the blog on Women’s Web, an Indian website:

Clothing and Control

Why is is that we never hear of the ‘trouble’ with allowing young men to wear Western clothes? It is assumed that trousers and shirts are ‘normal’ for men, whether Indian or Western. Women, on the other hand, must uphold the symbols of their cultures or religion.

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4 responses to “Clothing and Control

  1. In North Korea of all places it was the same thing. Men in western clothes women in traditional korean clothing. She makes and interesting point.

  2. This has always fascinated me – ‘he’ is allowed the freedom of blending in, and often very fashionably, but sometimes in jeans that are anything but modest(covered, I grant you, but emphasised). ‘She’ is invisibly conspicuous (that’s the Irish in me!), under a bale of fabric. In the middle of a stinking hot and humid Sydney summer. I might be mistaken but I was always under the impression that the veiling and covering up started at puberty — so what’s with the little tiddlers all bundled up? while their brothers are, of course, wearing ‘Western’.

    Gae, in Callala Bay

  3. I think controlling what clothes women wear is just part and parcel of maintaining and presenting an ideal of a community (whose ideal that is is of course a huge topic in itself). Women are in every way responsible for maintaining the integrity of the social group. We’re not supposed to let “undesirables” into the group – be that people with different customs, social class or colour. Maybe that’s why women’s appearance has to be tightly controlled and seems to be everybody’s business.

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