Costumes and it’s politics is serious issue to talk about. He asked G. Ushakumari to begin.
Our dressing is being questioned daily. It’s got into more of a complex stage. Beyond being the male- female body. Clothes were once connected to caste system. Now it has moved beyond all that and has even emerged in a male chauvinistic attributes. With ‘ Maar Marakkal Samaram’ we have seen a drastic change where woman realized they wanted rights in the society. Wearing clothes were never pushed due to shame but once it has been practiced only then did clothes become a metaphor for shame.
Now we see how clothes are the judgmental statements for someone to be a culprit. Back in old times dressing up was unbiased by gender.
V.P. Rajeena then said “You must be expecting the most obvious answer from me. The freedom I as a Muslim woman have in my clothing.”
Clothes have to be in its most diverse condition like any other thing. Clothes are linked to different spheres. So its politics is as diverse as it is linked. Next Arundathi shared her views.
She began by asking a question that whether we should stand with the politics of Gandhiji who boycotted shirt and opted a piece of cloth or the politics of Ambedkar who opted to wear a coat to show how equal and forward we are. This is the kind of politics in costumes that we deal with.
She also shared an experience when she heard about the plight of black woman in U.S.A where they had to spend more money on clothes to buy bright and colorful ones and how they had to give it off quickly and keep changing while at the same time white woman wore subtle colors. This happens because these black women were judged for the costumes they wore. This was their identity. And the white woman had their color as their identity. It’s always easy for people who savor a lot of privileges. She boldly supports “My Body My Choice”.
Later Radhika C Nair shared her views on this topic. She too compared the revolt that happened back in those days to how it’s being spoken or perceived about in this 21st century. It’s very saddening to see how we are judged by the clothes we wear.
Women are the ones who are being subjected to a lot of things regarding clothes. They are made aware of their shame and code of conduct regarding the way they dress even at an early childhood.
The Rajeena spoke about hijab and the conditions around it. For some, opting hijab is their choice while for some it’s subjected upon them and is bound to follow. While there are some who even opt out of it. She says what Quran says about wearing a Hijab or veils. Nowhere in Quran does it ask women to cover her body or head with a Hijab or pardha.
Eventually Arundathi concluded by saying that, whatever social condition that is making a woman revolt for her right to enter Sabarimala, the same social conditions are making her revolt against the way she has to dress up.
Towards the end there was an active interactive session with some really amazing questions from the audience. The session would have went on and got in an interesting session but due to time constraints it had to be wrapped up, discussing just the important points.