E-Pao! Opinion - Dressed to kill

Dressed to kill ??

By: Jenni *

(More updates to this article given below... scroll down....)

In september 1947 Sir Cripps, President of The Board of Trade declared in response to Dior's New Look with its long and wide skirt:

"The shorter the skirt the better....The country...cannot afford the great changes while we are so desperately short of materials...
If we wasted any of our efforts, we should be unable to effect the balance of imports against exports which is fundamental to the future possibility of our work and life

Not truly a shortage of raw material but "minimal cloth" has been in vogue for sometime now.

And third world country like India following along with its poor states like the North East too.

Female's demand for cosmetics, clothings and household goods have ever been increasing along with the sale of women's magazine along with various expert opinion and editorial formulas of fashion, romance, home and family; Femina, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Era to mention some.

Clothing and fashion have always been more associated with woman while man have always been regarded as 'hidden consumer' though the scenario is changing nowadays.

Clothing has much to offer as a suject for cultural analysis. It has been used by humanity as a language of symbolism and communication beyond its practical and economic purposes.

Clothing allows us to read what people want to tell others about themselves. For woman clothing and personal adornment constituted the most obvious means of self-expression, respectibility or social status.

But with the changing scenario of fashion and fashion industry, it can be said that fashion has reached its saturation point, and there is no limit to fashion at all.

It is well and good with the changing world but fashion chooses the 'type' of society too. What I wanted to explain with this point is that there are many societies that does not welcome the changing scenario of fashion and yet there are many societies that does not accept people from those society that has endorsed the changing scenario.

Here I would like to emphasise North East girls at the heights of fashion outside their respective places. When a Non north-East girl endorsed the latest fashion she is called 'classy' but when a North East girls wears the same cloth she is called 'sexy'.

Well this term may be be considered in any way 'half empty or half full'.

Minimal cloth worn by non 'chinky' (as we are often reffered to) is regarded as vulgar but non chinky wearing minimal clothes goes unnoticed, disappear among the majority crowds while the North East minimal popualtion stand out in the crowd. Besides many of the North Indian people have a typical mentality, wrong notion about we - North East.

Here I just wanted to emphasise about a message that has been circulated in the Delhi University campus some time back.

Some typical ethno-centric 'culprits' have been circulating wrong information in the form of posters on the graffiti wall of the campus that North East girls and Christians (as they think that all North Eastern are christian) girls are spoiling the Indian man through their vulgar clothes and behaviour.

They are spoiling the image of the University and the nation.

This is just a summary but exact details of the posters are really hard to swallow and unbeleivable. Besides many of the unfortunate incidents that has happened to many of our Norh East women in many Metro cities of India has been blamed solely on their dress and behaviour of some of the girls.

How true it is we never know, though I firmly believe that there is always another side of the story.

It is true that some North East girls do wear unusual clothes and have unusual behaviour but not all girls fall in the same category.

In fact majority of them.

No matter how hard we try, we can never change the typical notion of such North Indian people.

But the question is what we can do from our part.
Do we have to prove ourself endlessly to them?
Do we need to enforce a sricter dress code which of-course is not possible.
Or should we follow fashion upto a minimal limit which would not be acceptable to many style icons.

The question is an open question. But it all depends on the individual. Since we are looked upon like that, the girls should be specially careful from their part when they follow the latest fashion trend.

Because no human can disrespect a person who has got his or her own 'self respect'.

Update with Readers Input:

I would like to thank every reader who had given a thought to my article and had given some of their valuable opinions.

Firstly, I strongly agree that a large percentage of North East have prejudice against the whole "mayangs"(as we refer them, which also is a discrimination in name itself as we are referred also as chinky) and vice versa.

And yes, there are many of them specially the well educated ones, who doesn't give much thought to such low profile issues.

And yet its human nature and social upbringing is as such,there is always some amount of prejudice at the back of their mind. We cant blame them because its same from both side of the party.The diffrence is on the level of prejudice.

There is one of a very good North Indian girl who is our classmate. She mixes mostly with North East and hardly with the rest of our class. She says that we, North East, are not as mean and narrow minded as the other indians. She dresses like us, eat like us.

In fact everything.

She used to say "I wonder how you people are so hard working?".

She even went on to having a north east boyfriend. It was a two year old good frienship, we thought we know everything about her and she knows everything about us.

One day, during exam fever she told us "Why dont you guys appear for CIVIL SERVICE exams? You guys will definitely get selected because you have this SCHEDULE TRIBE QUOTA AND NORTH EAST QUOTA, you guys dont have to struggle like us".

Alas! I spent two hours lecturing her on the qouta issue and about the structure of our society and still I continue to do so.

One professor even call every manipuri ladies in our class as "CHANU". He was impressed by Sharmila's courage and says its a mark of respect.

As for my friend , she still coudnt grasp what I explained for two hours and even asked me the same question some months after. So it didn't came to me as a surprise when other indians asked me
"Do you travel by helicopter to your place since i heard its hilly?",
"Where is manipur located?"
"What clothes do you wear at home, that feathery type?"
"Do you learned hindi by watching movies?"

I just end up having this feeling at the back of my mind, if geography was taught properly to some people, if they understand that we are also Indians and our national language is taught at almost every school.

And I would also like to emphasise one very important point given by one of the reader. That the non-North East girls flashing skimpy clothes mixed up only with elite class who are used to such attire and lifestyle and those few who do not mixed only with elite classes hardly gets noticed.

This is very true. But for the North East girls, oustside their native place, they have to either travel by rickshaw, autos or buses which makes them prone to various unfortunate incidents and lewd comments.

So we have to be careful from our parts if the situation is as such.

Read Readers Comments here.

Miss Jenni, from Delhi University, contributes for the first time to . She can be contacted at . This article was webcasted on December 27th, 2006 and was updated on January 5th 2007.

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.

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