How do you think that story ends? What does a scantily clad man even look like? Would the story have ended differently if the person in question was a girl? What does gender have to do with this at all?

How we cover our bodies has been defined by ages of social conditioning- years of dictated conformation to “fashion,” years of being told to “cover our modesty”- clothing has gone from protecting the human body to enslaving it in subtle yet disastrous ways for both sexes. Historically, culturally enforced clothing items like corsets and lotus shoes were seen as being beautiful, but resulted in lifetimes of bone crushing disabilities- all for the sake of dressing according to the norms that prevailed. Today, the widespread norms are heavier on the mind than on the body.

The scantily clad woman in the aforementioned case will probably be shamed and have her morals questioned, the man will eventually become the butt of all homosexual jokes, after being given disgusted puzzled looks and having his gender identity ridiculed.

We call ourselves a generation of liberals, but how liberal are we really? While we may consider the right of a woman to wear a top that shows her bra straps to be ‘empowerment,’ we scorn at a man wearing his jeans too low or his shorts too tight. The point isn’t to contest which gender has it worse- the point is to accept that in some way or the other, we’ve all given in to what we’ve been told is normal and acceptable.

Even in colleges, the cornerstones of developing young mindsets, dress codes prevail and often perpetuate the very ideologies we claim to stand against today. From barring boys from wearing shorts and capris in SGTB Khalsa College to telling girls off for wearing off- shouldered tops in Bhaskaracharya College for Applied Sciences, these regulations still insist our compliance with certain clothing ethics defines our morality and qualifies us as civil members of the society, instead of our conduct and how we treat our fellow beings.

Like in all other aspects of life, change in this attitude begins with you. The next time you see a scantily clad lad walk into a bar, tell him he’s rocking that outfit!

Featured Image credits: Huffingtonpost.ca

Vani Vivek

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