The Channel 46

Uff, yeh kaise kapde pehene hain? Don’t you know clothes maketh the woMAN!

If you want the job, dress the part, my high school Principal would say. And as an Indian woman, if you want a crash course in dressing for the job, watch one of the saas bhi type shows of the 90s. The pattern becomes pretty clear. If you were the adarsh bahu, sanskar-loving pativrata nari, you wore nothing but a saree, with your sindoor and mangalsutra intact, matching bangles, bindi and jewellery, even as you did your everyday chores around the house.

Sarees are sanskari. Crop tops na pehno, aisa hai jan hith mein jari. Unless you look like an abala naari, uspe hogi charcha bhaari.

Sudha Murthy (co-founder Infosys) once shared a story about how because she was wearing a saree, airport staff automatically assumed she couldn’t afford to fly business class.

And this is one of the richest women in the country we’re talking about. Whatever be your choice of dress, you’re bound to get labelled. Wear a salwar-kameez – a behenji. A skirt whose length goes inches above the knee, and a top whose hemline plunges – they call you words I’m not sure I should even be mentioning here. And if recent court orders are anything to go by, wear the hijab, or sindoor and a mangalsutra, they call you out for being overtly religious.

The Channel 46

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