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Immodest Garments

August 17, 2008

Nita Kulkarni questions whether sari is an immodest garment in response to a news article about Nigeria attempting to ban sari on grounds that it shows too much of the midriff.

I quite liked one of the comments on her posts:

“immodesty is in the eyes of the ogler”

I believe sari or any other form of garment can be worn in a manner that brings out the sexuality (of women, since we are talking about women’s garments). The same would actually hold true for men but it wouldn’t make a good post to read ;-). Sari is one of the garments that is extremely sensual without being vulgar. Well generally speaking that it. One could wear a sari in a vulgar manner too. Yeah yeah, we could go on saying that vulgarity lies in the eyes of the ogler too!

And do you think the seeming modest garment like salwar-kameez can’t be worn in a manner to bring about the sexuality? Well think again. Depending on how it’s been stitched and how one wears it, salwar-kameez could give sari a run for its money in being sensual and in some people’s eyes, immodest.

What about the western office wear? Plain pants and shirt, with a jacket perhaps? Can it be sensual and immodest even while it covers most parts of the body? Not to mention jeans and top (t-shirt or any other). Sure it will cover the midriff and most parts of the body, but man it sure can be sensual.

I mean where does one stop? Is it the garment as such or the way it is worn? And who decides what is immodest? Do I decide for my wife or sister or daughter? Do I decide for the neighbour or anyone else in the society? If I am in a position of power or position, is that okay for me to decide what’s right?

Societies have a way of self organizing. There are many theories to this effect but I am not going to bore you. Basically society as a whole will move towards deciding what’s right or what’s immodest. If we have moved to wearing blouses and petticoats, or if Nawari is being considered immoral, it is the society’s way of self organizing. At the same time, if girls can walk in spaghetti tops when going to college, it is society’s way of self organizing.

So let’s continue attempting to move the society in the direction we want it to move towards, much like the moral police will try to move the society in their direction. Ultimately we will self organize. And irrespective of where we are, there will be opposing views pushing and pulling the society in different directions.

Just as long as we manage to limit these dress code signs 🙂

Photos courtesy:
Sari by bengal*foam
Salwar by PiscesDreamer
Business suit by gcoldironjr2003
Jeans by hoyasmeg
Spaghetti top by SarahR89
Dress code by ToreaJade
4 Comments leave one →
  1. Sania permalink
    August 18, 2008 10:43 am

    Hey, what did you do to ur blog? It had better looks earlier. please revert back.

  2. August 21, 2008 9:47 am

    @Sania I thought I will try out new looks to match the dresses :-). I will probably try out a few more templates. Keep watching and providing feedback.


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