How Did We turn into Such A Regressive Society?

There has been a lot of debate these days about how  a woman should dress to look ‘respectable’ and ‘moral’. There are two sets of views one stating let the women wear what they want to wear, teach the men how to control their desires. To which the other side promptly answer that ‘that’s how men are!’ or ‘if you offer fresh meat to dog, he will BITE in it” or “She had shown her place in the society” or better still “She was ruining the family’s izzat and crossing the line of maryadaetc But, my point is, when did clothes become such an issue anyway? Long ago, before clothes were invented, how did the women manage to protect their izzat and maryada and not get raped? Or where they raped every other day? Even after the advent of clothes, Indians, specifically the Aryans, used to wear a cloth on the waist. This was done by both men and women. You can see the early statues for the reference. How did we manage to change from this(our ACTUAL ‘traditional dress’)   Or even if we see the statues of women that was made around that time, we see: This clearly shows that during this time, a woman would drape a cloth just over her waist. Even if we see old statues and paintings on Goddesses of that era, we see them attired in the similar fashion, meaning that women who wore such attire were respected, why else would they be Goddesses? So, the very basis of the people who say that a woman, who wears ‘revealing’ clothes is bound to get raped get negated as the above women wore even more ‘revealing’ clothes, to an extent that they did not cover half their bodies, never got raped. Then the dressing evolved into something like this: Beautiful traditional women paintings Again, a sari without a blouse was a standard dress for majority of Indian women. This never hurt any sentiments during that time. But, coming to the 21st century, there are women, who after their marriage are forced/brain-washed to wear this: And still, there is a very high chance of getting raped and what’s more the rapist can easily claim he was ‘provoked’ as the woman did not have her Ghunghat properly or other equally stupid reason and get away! Coming to men’s clothing, heck, no one ever question’s men’s clothing to be provocative to anyone, so no debates there! It’s like as time passed, Indian women were taught to be ashamed of their own bodies and that too by making them believe it in the name of false ‘tradition’. I remember when I was in School, there was a movie, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam where the characters were debating about what all guys do, girls can also do. And in that scene, to end the debate, Salman and his gang of guys remove their shirts and proudly show off their bodies while the women all become shy and run away. And even at that time, I felt something was terribly wrong not with the movie but with the society. At that tender age, the first question that came to my mind was WHY? Why do guys get to get away with that while girls are made to feel ashamed of themselves so much so that they have to keep themselves covered in various layers from head to toe? I remember that when I was 10 years old studying in 5th standard when we had a two-day trip to Lothal. It was damn hot there and the guys conveniently took off their shirts. I was jealous, I could not do that. Because society has told me that my body was to be covered at all times, no matter how hot it was. It was not at all modest if I do it, I would have been termed as an immoral person, but when guys do it is just normal, no big deal. How did this happen? Am I the only person to see a progressive society turning into a highly regressive one? I really have no clue! Do you?


17 thoughts on “How Did We turn into Such A Regressive Society?”

  1. “‘if you offer fresh meat to dog, he will BITE in it”
    That’s the reply given by many who are ignorant or choose to be so, that a trained dog, who has been taught what to do, will not bite into any meat, fresh or stale, whoever offers it. That shows the men in our society very badly need “training” and teaching from a very young age, which the society fails to give them, letting them grow wild and instead going all out controlling and covering up women.
    a hundred years back women in Kerala were walking around bare-breasted. Our Goddesses stare at us with minimum or no clothes. Yes, how indeed did we become the way we are?!


    1. Exactly, and these days even street dogs do not go around biting sundry people just because they get ‘provoked’, they prefer leaving the place instead.


  2. Any part of the body can be sexualised, lips, eyes, breasts, ankles, shoulders… I don’t think women’s breasts were seen as ‘provocative’ in the societies where they were not covered, but now most societies consider breasts obscene. 😦


    1. Now even the sight of two eyes of a woman fully clad in burkha is considered ‘provocative’ and women are asked to wear ‘one eyed burkha’ in some Muslim dominated countries, this in 21st century!
      Some people feel men get aroused by even a centimeter of a woman’s flesh, be it anywhere on the body!
      Give men some credit not all of them think with their genitals, some actually use their head, its unfair to them!


  3. Wow…wonderful article. It’s something worth thinking…when clothes were not invented, were women raped everyday? But the best part was taking off you clothes…thankfully, hadn’t seen the movie, would had felt bad. And it happens with me too, in summer time, at school, guys used to have the first two or more buttons unbuttoned. And me just unbuttoned first one, and it was my teacher who asked me to mend my ways. One day my parents told me that one of my teacher(she was my father’s friend too) that “she doesn’t know how to behave like a girl, how to look…etc” I’s in seventh standard then. I felt horrible. But the issue is when women are the one who do this moral policing.


    1. How true! How many young girls are told to ‘sit properly, like a girl’ once they are six or seven years old! No wonder we are so ashamed of our bodies, we have been told to be so!

      Girls who love their bodies are called ‘besharam’ which, if translated, means without shame! And that is such a bad thing, after all as a hindi saying goes: ‘sharam to ladki ka gehna hota hai’ (Being ashamed is like a jewellery to a girl) or something along these lines!


  4. It wasn’t 21st century when this nonsense began. It was late 1800s and early 1900s when the modernization of the colonized project was initiated by the Raj. Until then upper caste women wore sarees with no blouse/upper garment English educated young men had to convince their brides to wear blouse and contribute to modern India. It is not unique to India even African nations experienced similar change the missionaries distributed bras to the natives and women wore them on their head to welcome the guests. Similar effort was made by late Indira Gandhi to cover the tribal women.

    Covering women to the teeth is a very recent (just couple of 100 years old) phenomenon in human history the Victorian morality dig our grave pretty deep. It was a white man’s burden taken over by the native man who felt emasculated by the colonizer so in order to feel in control had to oppress the one on the lower rung of the ladder and women fit the bill.

    In early 1900s even men’s attire went through change in the south India they retained dhoti but started wearing upper garment a shirt and a belt, pants were not preferred until late. In the north where men already wore pajama bottoms and salwars pantaloons were to make it quick in fashion.

    Desi Girl


    1. Thanks for the info, Desi Girl!
      Its strange how we learned ‘modesty’ from English and now term it as ‘Indian Tradition’ and anything ‘immodest’ is termed as ‘foreign influence’


  5. Stumbled on this blog when I was trying to find the BBC docu about ste state of women in India.

    Something that intrigues me is the fact that in small towns, when girls are 15-16, they go away from the safety of their homes and live in a new city(even if in a women’s hostel).

    If and when I have a daughter of my own, With the state of women in India, I don’t think I will be able to send my daughter away from me. May I ask you where are you from and where did you go to study?

    (This is in reference to another of you post. I apologize for posting in this thread as I believe it will be more visible here)


    1. I live in Gujarat, which is believed to be comparatively a safer state than others.

      From my personal experience, going away from my home and living on my own, in hostels and later in rented apartment, gave me a confidence and strategies to deal with the “creeps” in a much better way than I could have ever learnt had I stayed at home.
      I learnt that creeps enjoy the power that he gets when a girl is afraid of him.
      I learnt how to go up the the person harassing me and yell at him in the middle of the street and embarrass him, makes him run away for good.
      I learnt a few indecent words, that can be used if someone harasses over the phone.
      I learnt it is NOT my fault, I should not be afraid or ashamed for being who I am and to make the other person pay for his wrong.
      In simple words, I learnt how to live my life and not stop living because some men believe they have a right over me.
      In end, Mr. Bharat, If you ever have a daughter, let her free, teach her skills that will enable her to live, teach her right from wrong, teach her how to speak up and be fearless, and a few karate moves if you fear for her safety!
      But, not letting her out is not the solution, that is what I feel.


  6. This post is splendid. Though I’m skeptical of one claim (I’m not sure you deliberately intent to make that claim, so if I misread you, I apologize).

    I’m skeptical of any claim that rape was less common centuries ago than it is today. Sadly rape has been pretty prevalent over most of our history (in both time and space)


  7. Here’s another relevant link: //My grandmother was something of a stick, she had a driving will, she would not be balked and whatever she did was designed to strike the spectator with awe. She rarely spoke to anyone who was not of her own social station and she received them formally, that is to say, with her breasts completely bare…She thought that married women who wore blouses and pretty saris were jezebels, in her view a wife who dressed herself above her waist, could only be aiming at adultery!!!//


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