Free the legs

It’s been 3 years since I left school, and every time I go back and peep into old classrooms with colourful walls and little chairs, my heart swells with pride. This is my alma-mater. The place which made me, me.

Except that since I left school, times have changed. My lovely school’s done something very, very stupid. My 14 year old sister (goes to the same school) told me that the city’s best girls’ school, our school, has come up with an ingenious (read dumb) plan to protect its girls against harassment. And I can’t believe my ears.

So in the name of protecting its girls, my school has banned skirts. Yes, welcome to the 21st century India, the next superpower blah blah.

While the West’s raging with Free the Nipple Movement, we are shamelessly barring our girls from revealing their legs. Lest the boys get corrupted! No, I’m not comparing us with the west. The Western culture’s corrupt for allowing its women to show off their legs. Oo la la. And what are we, the messiahs of righteousness? We know all there is to know about keeping girls safe? We sure as hell know girls shouldn’t flaunt their legs. It’s so funny I’m crying.

As if butt-head politicians trivialising rapes saying “boys will be boys” wasn’t enough insult, we have premiere educational institutions directing girls to cover up. And banning skirts is all they could come up with.

Seriously, is everybody here a fucking moron? Wearing skirts isn’t even feminism, this is common sense and basic rights. Is this even a right? Isn’t it something obvious? Skirt’s just another garment. Well. I don’t know what to say. I’m at a loss for words.

My school said they’ve switched to Salwar-Kameez because it’ll keep the girls safe. Basically they’re saying that girls are molested/harassed/raped when they show their legs. Might as well cut our legs. Let’s see if that solves our problems! What a moronic approach this is to such a serious problem. The problem of rape and harassment boils down to this- girls show their legs and boys go mad. Wow.

What’s more, the school’s permitted girls to wear skirts on Fridays. Yes, I repeat, girls can wear skirts on Friday. Because maybe boys don’t molest on Fridays. Maybe they stay indoors and rest. I don’t know, the school’s wiser, it must’ve thought this through, right?

Except no, they haven’t thought this through. This is not how you empower girls. You pride yourself on being the finest girls’ school in the city and this is the crap you come up with? Ban skirts? Tell little girls it’s their job to dress modestly? Has anybody ever tried teaching boys to respect the female body?

We’ve got millions of problems in the country. From hunger to homelessness and murder to rape. And all we care about are uncovered legs. Because boys molest girls who show their legs. Seriously, stop kidding yourselves. You bring me one girl who’s crossed puberty and hasn’t been harassed/eve teased/whistled at/stared at/groped irrespective of her attire and I’ll give you a fucking medal and brand myself an idiot.

Don’t wear this, don’t do that, wear proper clothes, don’t attract attention, keep low… Shut up, please. It was never about legs. Stop curtailing girls’ freedom in the name of love and protection.

I’ll do what I want to do. My sister will do what she wants to. We’ll wear that damn skirt if we want to. Do you hear me?


©2016

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9 thoughts on “Free the legs

    1. The school in question- my school- is actually an all girls school. They’re saying girls outside school face harassment. But a lot of other co-educational schools in Delhi are moving in the same direction.. This harassment argument is beyond me. Is doesn’t matter what a girl is wearing, if the boy’s a sick head, he’ll harass her. I think they just wanna make money out of new uniforms lol.

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  1. This is so interesting, because from a Westerner’s perspective, back in say the 1950’s it was considered improper for a woman to wear pants, because society felt that pants showed off the shape of women’s rear ends and legs too much. These days I feel like pants can be just as revealing as a skirt can, it just all depends on the style.

    That aside, we also see some of the same mentality over here when it comes to Rape, the thought that men would not rape women if they did not dress provocatively, with no real thought on addressing the issue with the men.

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  2. It is a fucking joke that women and girls are taught to be “modest” but men and boys aren’t taught to not to molest women. The West isn’t any better for this attitude, I can assure you, and it disgraces me. I live in Brighton in the UK, and recently a woman was sexually assaulted outside a park during the night. When I told one of my colleagues, her reaction was ” what was she doing out so late? She ought to know it’s not safe. I bet she was drunk, the silly girl”. As if it was her fault and not the monster’s who couldn’t keep it in his trousers! It made me angry, and that kind of thinking is still taught at a young age. It makes me sick.

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    1. It’s just so, so sad. We’re doing it wrong. I keep telling this to people around me but my pleas fall on deaf ears! The patriarchal mindset we’re brought up with is sick. We need to change this, and we need to start with children. So that they don’t grow up to be sexist bigots. What the hell, as if covering up would change things. It’s so funny, makes me cry. It’s the same situation the world over, I guess.

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