Sunday, October 02, 2005

Clothes make a man?

I can’t begin to count the number of times I have been asked the question – “Why is that Indian men are never seen in Indian clothes, but we can see Indian women wearing salwars and sarees quite commonly all over the world?”

I wonder about the same too…Why is that in any Indian event/function, its common to see women in Indian clothes, but rarely do we see Indian men wearing the traditional dhoti?

Why have we adopted the western clothes so casually for the male? Why are men wearing Indian clothes ridiculed? Maybe answering these questions will help us find answers for why women wearing jeans are ridiculed!!


At Sun Oct 02, 07:37:00 PM, Blogger tt_giant said...

Simple: men need some "fat" in the hip region to make sure the dhothi stays on!. I wear pyjama kurta for indian events/functions, although its north indian attire.

I dont complain about what women wear.

At Mon Oct 03, 03:15:00 AM, Blogger TJ said...

Valid question!!
I wear 4 muzham veshti and travel in the tube and bus when i am going to temple. I feel perfectly comfortable. It is just in the attitude of people that indian wear are uncomfortable.

Also, i suggest my friends and cousins to either go for saree/half saree or for western wear. The former is your identity and latter is your work compulsion.

I am of the view that a salwar is a symbol of slavery, a legacy left by the burka advocating Islamic rulers.

At Mon Oct 03, 01:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blaming men for all the troubles in the world?

Would you be willing to accept a man that's not chauvanistic? Or would you categorize every Indian male you see as an MCP; a boorish, dominant wife beater? You just seem so angry at the male community. You got to give them a chance - just look around and you'll see more gentlemen than wifebeaters.

What's your opinion of the men of the West?

At Thu Oct 13, 11:46:00 AM, Blogger RS said...

Actually Anonymous, I don't hate men or am 'blaming them for all the troubles in the world', though they can be attributed to most :-)

I have a genuine question as to why is that Indian Men don't wear our traditional clothing more often in an everyday setting? Why is an Indian male wearing pants & shirts, or suits & ties more acceptable than women wearing jeans or skits or any 'western' outfits?

> What's your opinion of the men of the West?

Human nature is the same everywhere! Doesn't matter where you come from!

At Fri Oct 14, 08:07:00 AM, Blogger Badhri said...

You can actually generalise that question to the society of any developing country today.

If you ask me, in all such societies, women were (are) put under the magnifying glass. The society measures womanhood on yardsticks like "Accam madam, nANam, payirpu", (you will know if you are a TN-ite) while such things are not for men. One may be tempted to conclude that its because the society is male dominated.

Until as recently as 50 years ago, even the more advanced societies were not excempt to such things. With my experience in living abroad and talking to people, I would say that "old-fashioned people" from even advanced societies like the UK and USA would say a woman wearing a jean is "less preferrable" than wearing a skirt. This has changed there now, but the society is still male dominated. So, I would say that such things are because, people want to "stick to the past" or "safegaurd the tradition". And there are more such people in a society like ours.

At Wed Oct 19, 09:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

>"I am of the view that a salwar is a symbol of slavery, a legacy left by the burka advocating Islamic rulers."

Arn't shirts/trousers in india atleast in part due to the brit rule?
What do we plan to do abt that now? Nothing because shirts/trousers are comfortable, manageable and accepted. (well we could try something like changing Bombay VT to CST... duh... big deal... did less ppl died of starvation....)

Its sad that educated ppl have such corny ideas.

At Sat Oct 22, 04:36:00 AM, Blogger krishna rautela said...

i think we shd take this more objectively. i think indian women should be feeling more fortunate that they were not forced to change their attire as a result of slavery. indian men are now like tamed dogs ( just to please you with analogy :) ) who like the dog collars. men as they imitated their masters and fashined their attire after them have gotten used this western attire.
but as the world has evolved today and everything western makes better sense than anything oriental/ethnic, some women might ask this question and treat this another example of women's subjugation.
personally i like women in almost anything they want to wear :)

At Mon Oct 24, 02:12:00 PM, Blogger Naveen said...

Well, thats a nice question..I think that women feel confident in their sarees because sarees have a lot of art work and stuff which are instantly admired my foreigners (or whoever!). And it is a natural tendency for women to like being in lime light at least for a brief period of time! (Im not a chauvinist)

But, dhottis sometimes are mistaken as bath robes and that puts a guy in an awfully embarrasing situation (I was in such a situation once :( ). So, I think guys dont prefer that apart from being less comfortable to wear (if not used to it )

This is my opinion..

At Fri Nov 04, 02:44:00 AM, Blogger Praveen said...

Why we are befooling ourselves..there are lot many people..both men and women India,who don't have any idea about finding their next meal...for them clothes never matter...they wont have any designer preparing the best outfits..whatever they have, they are wearing that..u may be calling them conventional...Chod do ye sab..

At Sun Nov 27, 12:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i find the question completely valid , but rather than getting all frothy about it , i suppose its better thinkin what we can do about it , let us all males get together & try go wear genuine indian wear , 8 muzham vesthi.......

At Wed Dec 14, 09:31:00 AM, Blogger apyboutit said...

Hi Ramya. The following article talks about different Indian attire (both Women's and Men's) and seems to have some apt information to help this discussion.
Traditions usually have historical reason and origin. With every passing century, every society willingly or otherwise exchanges many of its traits with others. This is especially true for a country like India, which has a busy and symbiotic history.
How much of what we follow today is/was "our" choice or way of life ("purely Indian") - is hard to define. Many times I wonder how our ancestors that built our temples dressed (both men and women). Their dresses, as depicted on the statues, will be considered too liberal for our society today. Did they consider clothes as bodily cover-ups or a way to express their self? We (I) don't know yet, but my guess is, they seem to have been the latter (free spirited). How we changed over the years to what we are today (or have we changed) is a good point for research.
Dresses/clothes are presently perceived as ways of expressing one's self in the western world and recently also in India. The booming of fashion industry in India (recently) is one of the many facets through which India seems to be rediscovering our ancient (or discovering a new) freedom of expression. It is interesting though that there is fewer variety in dresses and fashion shows for men than for women (is it because women want to express better/more than men want to? I don't know!). In any case, how we wish to express (dress) ourselves varies with time, history and our will (among other parameters).
To lay it straight, most of what we call Indian today could have been chosen by people of generations before us, for various reasons. We still follow them partly because some of them still suite our needs or we don't have the need or insight to change. After all, "traditions are what we agreed to follow or practice". There is a lot of scope for research into this topic.
A note - like pants, bodices are also not traditional Indian attire – almost all Indian women wear it! Pardon me, this last note wasn't meant to be offensive, but hopefully humorous! Cheers.

At Wed Dec 14, 12:24:00 PM, Blogger aruna said...

Hello Ramya,

Came to your blog from vatsan's.
Are you the Ramya I knew from Srec??

At Wed Dec 14, 12:58:00 PM, Blogger Shanmug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At Wed Dec 14, 01:04:00 PM, Blogger Shanmug said...

Hi Ramya...

I didn't read all the responses
May be somebody else might share my idea...

Ok..What i feel is ?..Men don't care much about clothes...we just want to look our ancestor men started adapting themselves with pants and shirts which they found more comfortable than the traditional ones and they just didn't care much abt it...I think ladies take care of their clothings like.. colour, make ups and MORE IMPORTANTLY JEWELS.....nobody can disagree this... Women love Jewels...So our type of indian clothing is closely related to several things like that..and women could not come really out of ..for instance if u take our indian functions...
Tell me frankly...Do u feel better with western dress?...I don't say that u cannot be looking grand in a western dress but u know better how to make yourselves look better with indian dress ..Am i right...??!!!!!

The point is we don't care much abt clothes so we adapted easily..and indian women well..not only indian women..women care a lot abt it so they cudn't easily adapt to the dresses which are comfortable with them..

Again here..I am not saying that veshtis or lungis are not comfortable ..but I just say that pants and shirts are comfortable in the current situations so men adapted to pants and shirts..even i would like to wear veshti..but have to go through some difficulty to have it on my hip all the times...:-)) ..Why men are being ridiculed with indian dress???..This is a normal human behaviour...People will be ridiculed if they do something different than others...they won't be ridiculed if everyone at the party wears a veshti..;-)


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