My Comfort Clothes. And. What shorts don’t mean.
To be honest I haven’t worn shorts in quite sometime. I wear them inside home, of course, when its 40C outside. While talking to my brother who walks around in briefs and Ts (and sometimes shirtless) I remarked how its ok if he goes to pick mum up from somewhere close by in the clothes he wears (shorts and Ts), but I have to change my shorts that I am wearing in order to step outside.
I don’t venture wearing them unless I am inside a car and no one really sees me.
And there are the two reasons why: Over sexualization of body parts and unwritten standards. I will go with the latter one first.
Standard 1: Legs must be appealing. If you have toned legs its ok to wear shorts, but no one really wants to see those ugly out of shape thighs ok? That’s why its easy to see women here who aren’t the typical curvy body type carry shorts relatively easy than girls like me (with my not so toned legs.) There are unstated standards placed by the media that dictates what looks ugly and what doesn’t and on who. There are criterion that you must meet in order to wear whats actually supposed to make you feel happy and comfortable. If you are curvy or a plus size you aren’t supposed to feel comfortable wearing shorts unless you’ve LOST the weight, even though, by their very nature, shorts are – like – the most comfy.
Standard 2: Your image in the society. If you are a model or an actress, wearing shorts is absolutely alright. You are perceived a certain way and you are meant to look that way, or so dictates the entire world around you. Growing up I was a rebel. I guess I still am. I wore shorts to tell the world that it didn’t matter what they thought of me, but inside I cringed each time when someone passed even a silly comment on how I would look better in something longer. I was insecure (and a teenager) and I was a closet tomboy. Wearing shorts became tabooed because I am neither a model nor an actress.
Standard 3: Context (society at large). Where you are wearing shorts is VERY VERY important. You cant wear shorts in parts of the city where other girls don’t wear them. In a city like Pune there are only certain places where you can comfortably wear shorts and not feel like a naked mannequin. I can easily wear shorts in Mumbai for the same reason: because others wear it and its ok. If you even meet the first two criterion, the third one almost always gets to you. It was very natural for me to wear shorts at beaches in the US. The context dictates that you must wear clothes observing the rules and the societal norms. Or be ready for all the cusses, catcalls and “kitna degi kitna (how much?)”
Over-Sexualization of body parts
Fisherwomen in Goa (and in other parts) generally wear their kashtha sarees a little higher up because they have to get into boats and eventually water. Their legs are mostly bare from the knees. Yet, it wasn’t until Humko Aajkal Hai Intezaar, the song from 1990 that over sexualized the attire that is worn by so many women. But suddenly post the popularization of the video the women in koli kashtha are perceived differently. There is a deep tendency to sexualize body parts and clothes. This tendency to attach sexual meaning to body parts is both sad and frustrating.
Shorts are not a woman’s way of attracting the male stare, they don’t mean that we are seeking attention or that we like when men stare at us. Shorts are not a woman’s way of defying society, they don’t mean that we are rebels. I am quite at wit’s end and at the moment I have no solution, but I am open to ideas on how to proceed with this scenario that abhors women who like wearing clothes that are nothing but comfortable.
Side note: To discourage me from wearing shorts I was told I look beautiful in Kurtas. And to that I say yes. I have fallen in love with Kurtas. And I look great in them. But hey I look equally great in shorts, but you aren’t ready for it. And its ok.
As my lovely Esha said it in her previous blog- the secret is confidence.
I am wearing my comfort clothes
Plaid shirts and shorts.
And my bro’s extra-large shirt and shorts.
Keeping it simple with no jewelry and Lakme Nude Lipstick 9-5
Photography by Shailendra Pardeshi. Check him out on Instagram at shailendra.pardeshi