As I heard the horror story about the girl who was gang raped, I felt a stir in my soul. I felt angry and frustrated for all those girls who aspire to improve their lot in life without hiding behind a man. It is truly a heart-wrenching story that has sparked a revolution.
From my experiences from across the globe, I have noticed that India is predominantly an orthodox society. Dress code for women is still a issue in India. The show of legs or cleavage by girls is considered provocative and even the advent of Facebook and the android phone has done little towards improving the image of women. Wearing shorts or tight tops is still frowned upon. It is a common sight to see a group of guys leering at a shapely girl wearing a pair of shorts and a tee.
So why does this kind of behaviour happen?
One of the reasons may be increased Westernisation which has helped this country to catch up with the rest of the world in many ways in less than 20 years. The mindset some sections of males might have not adjusted to this rapid evolution.
In recent times, however, public places too have evolved. With the advent of the malls, things have become a bit better as they act as ‘safe zones’ for modern women. Girls feel free to wear tight clothes and shop their favourite high street brand without the fear of being teased. However, once you exit, the streets outside are completely different story. With regard to the words ‘safe zone’, what got me introspecting was an explanation given to me by a friend who relocated to New Delhi from New York.
In her words ‘it is ok for a women to wear anything in Delhi provided she travels in her own car and goes to the right places’. This sounded discriminatory. What about all the lakhs of women in Delhi who live alone and need to travel by public transport? Will they never enjoy the freedom my expat friend experiences? These pressing questions need to be answered soon. However, I choose not to be steeped in such pessimism.
One thing that has become clear is the accommodating nature of the Indians. From a time when an onscreen kiss was considered taboo, India has come a long way. The entertainment industry today has become a frontrunner in upholding woman’s rights, at least to some extent. With the advent of reality television the general public has become more accepting towards the image of a more Westernised Indian woman.
We have welcomed talent from across globe in film and TV. Even an international adult movie star has been accepted as mainstream heroine. This of course cannot be considered a landmark change, but it indicates the change in the mindset of the modern Indian male.
But to what extent the image of the bold Indian woman on celluloid proves helpful to the common Indian girl is open to debate…..
Salloli Kumar is a regular on the page 3 circuit for nearly a decade…