Conclusive thoughts on ‘provocative dressing’ ..

I just want to thank you all for your participation on this thread.. I have learned a lot,and every comment counts..I just want to highlight two comments ,that made lot of sense and struck the right chord in me..Alankrita and 1conoclast(he wrote this as a comment on IHM’s post)..Thanks again..


Alankrita said :

Nimmy, this is just to reply to your “do our part”. What is “our part”. What dress is provocative? Ankles? Knees? Short sleeves, short sleeved blouses- and how much cleavage? Is a Sari conservative? With the back and the shoulders bare? Is a salwar kameez good enough- and if so how should the chunni be draped? Over the head? Hair- Short? Long? Makeup- now that can be a turn on… so what is “non-provocative”? It is so difficult to define. And therefore just as abuse-worthy- if the “she was immodestly dressed, she provoked me” defense is to be taken seriously. Because what is “accepted” by some may not be by others.q

  And we are not even looking at things from the other point of view. Why is it that we never take into account how the way men may dress may be as “provocative”. You know, with 50% of the population men, that should be an issue too. So why isn’t it common to hear of women having heir baser instincts aroused by some man and assaulting him. Maybe, it is not so common because of the assumed privilege that men enjoy- women learn to “control” themselves. Men, well, it is always the woman’s fault.
I can understand why this conversation can be a reality- but when you really pare it down to the bare bones, you realize how inherently sexist the view is. Just replace “men and women” by different races or religions and “provocative dressing” by something else, maybe the right to walk down a certain street. It will immediately begin to seem very offensive. Living in a sexist society, we do not realize how completely sexist and “slut-shaming” assertions about “proper dress” or”decent behavior” are.

Indeed, this is a conversation I have heard several times. And quite often felt too that Miss B makes sense, but on deeper examination her attitude reflects just how completely she has been engulfed by a world view which inherently makes a woman inferior. Being careful is a good thing. But it boomerangs in that it breeds a degree of helplessness and lets the perpetrators go unpunished. It lets a lassitude creep into society, a tolerance for law breaking and it demonizes the other sex too. “Men are animals” is easy to say, but that is as bad a stereotype as “women are weak”. Be careful is excellent advice, but haven’t we heard it always? Careful in terms of what to wear, how to behave, whom to mingle with- and does it really help. As far as I know it serves to let crimes of harassment be trivialized, rape justified as “she asked for it” and a reckless lawlessness take over.
We cannot change everyone in society.We cannot make everyone view things our way. We cannot make people view the sexes as being equal. What we can do, however, is to call out on inherent misogyny when we observe it. We can also think deeply about issues we come across, even he very “compelling arguments”. And above all we can and should not keep curtailing our own freedoms just because perverts live in our society.


1conoclast said:

I said I’m on blogging hiatus & I intend to be, but I just had to correct the misconceptions that Ms. B has (& a few that the author has).

1. Idealism is what moves society ahead. Inventions, Discoveries, Art, Science, Laws, Civilization, everything comes from being idealistic. It’s called evolving.
Realism is an excuse for stangnation, for extinction. No planes would’ve existed if men hadn’t wanted to fly. So much for the realists!

2. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance yes. Yes we should be able to walk around nude & leave our doors unlocked & our wallets lying around in the house. And we do.
In olden times, no one locked their doors. Did we have a problem? I’ve heard some towns/villages/colonies still do that!
In my house, I leave my wallet lying around. By God’s grace, the maid doesn’t steal anything. I’m trying to illustrate that just like stealing happens, the opposite also happens. So having faith & encouraging trust are equally important.
Nudism isn’t a problem. Go to Goa. Lounge on the beaches. Take in the nude breasts. There’s no stopping you. Just don’t rape. I was in Goa & I took in the sights smilingly. I didn’t rape anyone. I didn’t even feel like raping anyone. I didn’t want to touch or pass a comment. I may have wanted to compliment a few of them, but that’s not the same thing as pawing.

3. Take it from a man. Men like looking at women. Period. A figure hugging churidar-kurta is as ogle-able as a bikini.

4. Women who wear shorts/skirts outside the house definitely wear them inside the house.

5. Zulm sehna bhi gunaah hai. Opting to take care of yourself, like IHM suggested, could be carrying pepper spray, car keys, learning karate etc. Not hiding behind ghunghats & burqhas!

6. You think modesty avoids problems? Where do most of the rapes happen? In naked urban India or in fully clothed rural India?
Was Phoolan Devi wearing a little black number when she was raped? Was Banwari Devi?
What was the 17 year old college girl that was raped by constable sunil more on Marine Drive wearing???
Boss… Living in fear will not solve the problem. Locking up the goons will solve half the problem. Giving them an education will help solve the problem. Making society more open & sex more acceptable (& accessible) will solve the problem.

7. IHM… The ultra-feminist in you misread the poor man. He was not going to pass a comment at the doctor’s offending blouse. He wanted to ask her to cover up, but was scared because of sexual harassment laws that are biased towards women. Maybe they should be that way, but that doesn’t take away the fact that they’re currently biased.

This desire to keep men well behaved is not very different from the male desire to keep women well behaved.

I take offence at your claim that it’s the fear of punishment that keeps men well behaved. If that were true sunil more wouldn’t have raped the young college kid! He was a lawkeeper. He knew the law!!! Your logic is flawed. The problem is deeper than that.

I don’t have statistics on this, but is the %age of rape lower in more sexually permissive societies? That could possibly be one part of the answer… one part only.

And if it is, doesn’t that again mean, that it’s the liberal, idealistic thought that solutions lie with, instead of conservative regressive thought?


I understand why I was wrong..Good day to all…

  1. That post had a raged debate… But than most issues will have in a country of such diversity…

    Hopefully sanity will prevail…


    🙂 Yeah,lets hope so and work towards it.. -Nimmy

  2. Nimmy This is a brilliant idea!


    🙂 -Nimmy

    • Chirag Chamoli
    • March 4th, 2009

    Well, conclusive indeed.


    🙂 -Nimmy

  3. I wish I had the ability to voice out my thoughts in such a clear manner! 😀

    Very conclusive and the debate has been worthwhile!

    Thank you! 🙂

    Hey why do you thank me??I must thank you all for your thoughts..and yes,the debate was indeed worthwhile. -Nimmy

    • 1conoclast
    • March 4th, 2009

    Thanks Nimmy. 🙂

    I posted another comment on IHM’s blog but I think she takes her Excessive Comment Moderation Award rather seriously! ;-D


    lol.. 🙂

    Oh,I just remember that i forgot to ask IHM’s permission before I stole your comemnt from her blog 😦

    Sorry IHM -Nimmy

    • I was thinking of posting these comments as a post too, so I was happy when I saw you did that Nimmy 🙂 I also agree with both these bloggers.

  4. you are tagged!

    will come back and read the post.


    Vishesh,that is a cool and fun tag..Will do it soon..I am so glad that you remembered me and choose me in the first set of people itself 🙂

    **sigh** i have ton tags to complete -Nimmy

    • read the comments and I have learnt a few things too from that post 🙂 And ya I know how the tag pile up goes,I just forget,if i don’t do it say in a weeks time,I have forgotten it 😛

  5. Thank you Nimmy.
    I think it is not about “provocation” rather about what is permissible. There are rules against littering. But some places are clean others are not. Because of what is considered alright. Similarly “eve-teasing” or plain out assault too. These occur more where the culprits are not going to be punished, or not punished as severely. And the demand that women cover up so that man are not offended is what follows. It is not about permissive societies , but about places where the law is enforced properly.I hope this does not obfuscate the issue more.


    That was a perfect comparison and i got it well..Thanks friend 🙂 Lets hope that many women like me would read our discussion… -Nimmy

  6. Great Post . Very very thought provoking . I second 1conoclast . I am a man as well , and yes , we do like to look at women . 🙂


    🙂 -Nimmy

  7. Nimmy such a balanced way you have of looking at things..few have the ability to look at both sides and come to a conclusion:)
    you are one of the rare ones who has a balanced head..
    bravo girl for being so honest!:)


    🙂 Hey,don’t pour so much so kind words on me dear..Infact,it is not my credit,but theirs,those who made the discussion worthwhile and that includes you ..Without you all ,this is just a one man show-a stupid emotional show by Nimmy 🙂 -Nimmy

  8. Nims, That was an interesting debate and these two comments actually sums up most of what was said. I find myself concurring with Alankrita but to an extend 1conoclast has a point too. There are times when one sits on the fence. But that in no way imply that I endorse Miss B’s POV.


    POV?? Whatz that??? -Nimym

  9. I had not read the comments on the post and I really liked iconoplasts comments. Like he said, men like looking at women (and vice versa) and there is nothing wrong in it! Its natural. However passing comments, touching, molesting, raping etc is the mark of an uncivilized and violent man who has no respect for women. Both men and women like to be admired, whats wrong in that! I think if women have to cover themselves up it shows how poorly the society thinks of their men.
    I think its wonderful that you have learnt from the blog post. Hats off to you!

  10. A determinate post to the debate!! Thanks for posting it

    Keep Blogging!

    • Milind Kher
    • March 5th, 2009


    The middle path is always the best. Between the burqa and the provocative, there is a kind of dressing that could be sescribed as tasteful or aesthetic.

    Extrems are not needed. As I always maintain, there are 99 numbers between 0 and 100.

    • maald
    • March 6th, 2009

    You wouldn’t start a night like this
    Why end it that way?

  11. oh that post was hell of learning exp… loved the posts and all the comments never followed any one post debates so closely 🙂


    🙂 -Nimmy

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