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Dress to impress? No, we don’t!

Dress to impress? No, we don’t!
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How do you define sexiness? What is sexy?, ‘From an infectious smile of  Madhu Bala to the poised grace of Zennat Aman; dancing swirls of Madhuri Dixit and to the zero figure of Kareena Kapoor, everything is sexy! It has nothing really to do with how they dress up,’ said fashion critic and journalist, Reena Dhaka during a discussion in Oxford bookstore.

‘Is being sexy anti-sexist?’, ‘Does dressing up in a sexy manner define a woman’s mindset?’ were some of the pertinent questions that were raised during the engaging conversation. An audio-visual presentation seeking responses from various women with different backgrounds attempted  to answer these questions. They all were asked one question and that was, if they dress-up for others? The unanimous answer was an outright ‘No’.

The discussion attracted quite an ethusiastic crowd who were of the opinion that they dressed-up for themselves and no one else.The key speakers of the conversation,  fashion designer, Rina Dhaka and Vinita Dawra Nangia discussed how dressing-up sexily does not really mean that one is easy or available. Nangia further said, ‘To even ask such a question would hint at sexism.’ The rape victims in this fairly sexist society are often slapped with a counter-argument as to how they deserve what hapened to them because they asked for it. When you ask them how? They will promptly reply with, ‘Of course, because of the clothes they wore.’ No one asks for violence, no one wants to get beaten up or raped, no matter what you wear.

Dhaka said being a woman she has to confirm to various roles in a day and is expected to dress aprropriately for all the ocassions. She asked, ‘How can you expect a woman to dress appropriately throughout the day for varied ocassions. Isn’t that hectic? To dress three to four times a day? Just because people think it’s inappropriate to step out in a dress outside in the public?’ She said that dressing-up has nothing to do with sexiness. The definition has changed. It’s all in one’s attitude and the way they feel they are, not the way they dress.

However, Dhaka’s ‘When in Rome, do like Romans’ comment did not strike well. She said, ‘In India,  it is very important to select a dress according to the place and environment. There is no harm in carrying a shrug or a scarf, which you can easily take off once surrounded with a like minded people.’ The question this comment raises and remained unaswered was,  why does one need to carry a scarf around? Instead of being preventive, why can’t we strive to change the mindset which compels us to carry a scarf with us?
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