Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Jeans Jinx

  The lives of ‘happy’ couples when seen closely can provide new facts and even shocking truths. A lot of suffocation and tiff goes on like a constant undercurrent beneath that lovey-dovey appearance. Girls often complain that in laws are too controlling esp when it comes to clothing. Let me get straight to the point- why is it so difficult for a girl to wear western clothing after marriage? Why are jeans so over hyped in our ‘culture’? I have seen poker faced mothers- in- law strictly reading out rules like a warden to their newly married coy daughters- in-law. If a girl wears dresses (one piece) or shorts or jeans, she is often made to feel obliged and thankful for the ‘openness’ and ‘tolerance’ of her in-laws. While ‘bahus‘ and ‘betis’ clearly have different rules and the double standard is apparent, the former is expected to have high levels of patience and ample maturity to absorb all the fuss the ‘sasuraal-walle’ make about her returning late from work and/or wearing jeans. 

  Well, I am not generalizing since many families do not believe in such double standard crap, but most do. I was still more astonished that even those with strong financial backing and education still want their DIL to behave like ones straight out of those of TV serials. Also, boys too have clearly different choices; while they want their girlfriends to be independent, fiery and like pop stars, they expect their wives to be perfect Indian brides- very motherly and an epitome of Indian culture and tradition.  (GF vs Wife)

 I clearly remember reading a piece of news a few years back. A newly married working woman in Noida divorced her husband because her in-laws expected her to be dressed up in saris all the time, along with full Indian jewelry like anklets, bangles etc. They also made her fast on various petty occasions like ‘ekadashis’ and ‘aamavasyas’ etc. Well, the result was that the girl refused the crap and gave them a piece of her mind…Lovely!

  Why are jeans so over hyped esp for DILs? Is full clothing the only way to rectify a person’s promiscuity? What about our brave sons who have all the freedom on earth to roam and fool around, while we expect their obedient and ‘sanskaari’ wives to sit at home all wrapped up in six yards fasting for well being of their pati-parmeshwars. Our society is clearly hypocritical and rather incorrigible. Wearing jeans does not indicate one’s character in any way and nor does wearing traditional clothes make one more of a saint. I think it is high time we rise above these things.

  An aunt of mine told me about one of her married nieces.
“Oh the family is so modern you know! Lovely people” She said happily.
“What happened?” I asked
“They give so much freedom to my niece”
“Like?” I asked
“Like…They are open people…modern in thinking. They treat her like a daughter…their own daughter.” She cheered.
“I mean, how are they are modern?” I stressed the main point again.
“They are…like she wears what she likes…like jeans etc…and they do not say anything! Such a nice MIL she has!”
“Awesome! how lucky your niece must be!” I remarked.

                                          I hope she didn’t notice me rolling my eyes ;)

(Images from the Internet)


  1. I agree with you 100%. Especially about guys. I see here in USA every day. Indian guy comes here, date and sleep with all sorts of girls, but go back to India and marry a conservative girl. (At least he thinks she is conservative. Wait till she comes to USA. HaHaHa.)

  2. I enjoyed your outspoken article.I felt these days most young ladies dress according to their own wishes and that jeans is not yet in out-lawed list.Traditional mils resent much exposure of midriff or deepcut tops.
    But most of the younger mils these days must themselves have worn jeans and should not object.The older generation may want dresses to be appropriate for the occasion, like temples,marriages etc and I believe most girls are aware.
    The bottom line is that there should not be any imposition on these matters so long the dress is not skimpy
    Here in Chennai schools/colleges jeans and shorts are disallowed for girls and there is justifiably a protest

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  4. नवरात्रि की शुभकामनायें-

  5. "We need a conservative girl with modern outlook". hehe. This is the typical line people say nowadays. Our problem is that 40% we are modern, 40% we are traditional, rest 20% don't know what to believe!

  6. I don't think what we wear matters in these present times.
    In my younger days my father was pretty strict, so we had to dress and behave accordingly. He would always say once we get married we are free to do what we please, as long as our husbands support us, and there was no friction because of what we do.
    Now how would we know what kind of family we would be finding ourselves in, suppose the in laws too were as strict as our father, then what?
    Luckily both my 2nd sister and myself got married to men who shared similar views with us, we believe in giving ample freedom to each other and also ample space to each other. However, my eldest sister got married to a man who is like my father, and the result is that she molded herself to suit him.
    Now a days nobody can dictate what we wear, and I am sure your generation will not be troubled by such archaic thinking.
    However, some institutes still seem to be very rigid about dress code, and they must be totally put down.

  7. Its a conflict between two different aspirations of modern Indians. One, to ape the West. Two, to stay distinctly Indian. Both at the same time.

    Indian women are more 'womanly' and look quite 'full' when thy wear jeans, than the skinny, bony, tall women of Europe and US. To top it up the Indian men are the worst lot when it comes to respecting women.

    These factors also play a large part in the rules which society creates around married women in India. The unmarried girls are considered 'innocent' and not in much danger to go 'astray'. It is not considered the same in case of married women.

    But, with time, society is changing. The dress code has changed a lot in last 20 years in India. Social mindset is changing at a slower speed. It will take time.

    Instead of being too 'liberated' about women rights and dress codes, the effort should be to create a balance between progress and stability. Look what has happened to the 'liberated' societies in the west where the institution of marriage has lost its meaning.

    What is more important, liberation or harmony? Think about it.

  8. The girls who listen to inlaws are very rare today..I see everyday people lamenting that girls today are so arroagant and show skin without any decorum.

    I have nevr bothered what my DIl wears,or does or goes:)but she nevr found me awesome:)

    But I believe that one must wear appropriate dress according to the occasion, showing too much of legs, midriff or low necks are indecent exposure.

  9. I fully agree with the author. May not be in all homes but in most, it still happens. The issue raised here is that DILs don't get same freedom as daughters, at least easily, and even small liberty like wearing jeans is given to the DIL as a grace for which she is expected to be grateful.
    There is no question of indecent exposures, clash of cultures, sanctity of marriage etc. I feel the article only talked about the differential treatment meted out to daughters and DIL, even of the same age, taking jeans as perfectly representative example of a common household. A daughter not talking may be taken to be unwell but a bubbly DIL is often advised to 'leave her girlish ways and act mature'.

  10. Bang on! This is the hard reality but since currently we are in a state of metamorphosis, something tangible will change in next 20 years:)

  11. People have changed and are changing. In my family most of the girls wear jeans, well nearly all, whether they are married or not. But when we go to temples and marriages, the traditional dresses like salwars/chudis and sarees would be nice.

    As you know very well, our men glare at women who show off their skin...Nobody was doing this when I went abroad. Everybody is busy with their work. Well, I would say men should change first.

  12. Good piece of writing. In my opinion if a man really loves a woman, he will respect and accept her personal choice when it comes to dressing, food, etc

    At home, my mother is a very kind, gentle and soft hearted person. Her in-laws did take advantage of her innocence and made her follow all they wanted but she never complained on anything.

    But generation has changed, things are different now. Most couples live independent from their parents, my sister is an example. So, they get to meet the in-laws only rarely. And if the husband is very supportive to his wife's choices, in-laws won't dare to make a comment.

    Have a nice day, take care :)

  13. I found this very eye-opening and interesting. It's funny how our cultures are not nearly as different as we think!!

  14. I agree....I see this so often. And I am acutely ashamed to admit that I know one person in my relation who is like that. All my arguments are in vain :( And now I have even given up arguing :(

  15. I think it is a matter of changing social norms. It will get more acceptable in time

  16. My friend told me her cousin divorced as her in-laws were orthodox and would insult her in public to make their point. Imagine! And yay, we finally know your name. :)

  17. God has created every person in this universe as unique.So opinions are bound to differ.Simply observe and enjoy.

  18. I enjoyed your outspoken article :)

  19. Hi SG

    ya, Indian guys are well for this shit..sleeping with modern girls and marrying only 'sati-savitri' types..sick

  20. Hi KP Sir

    thanks a lot! I am glad u enjoyed reading the post. Ya, dress should not be skimpy and all but most Indian families do not think that much, for them any clothing that is 'western' (skimpy or not) is a taboo but only for DILs. This double standard is disturbing.

  21. Hi Ravikar

    Thanks a lot! Same to you :)

  22. Hi Abhinav

    ya, u have defined the mentality in one line.. :)

  23. Hi Rama

    that's what shocked me the most and I wrote an entire post about it... even the most educated and 'progressive' families have rotten rules for DILs. The double standards are always there. Still date, in most families, a husband only 'decides'if his wife can wear modern clothing. This is sick..women are not pets.

  24. Hi Ashu Bhiyya

    I am sorry, I do not agree with your views at all.
    Firstly, 'full' or not full does not matter since boys should be taught to control their behavior.
    Secondly, a promiscuous person can go astray even in a hijab, so it depends upon the person and not dressing.
    Lastly,Western societies are definitely far more open for women and liberated clothing is not the root cause of divorce rates in the West. Cultures where women are dress fully, too have a rising crime rate. Harmony is important but why make women the scapegoats in the bargain.

  25. Hi Renu

    may main point is the ongoing double standards for daughters and DILs.

    That means you too expect some appreciating words and gratitude from your DIL for allowing her to wear whatever she wants??

  26. Hi KS

    yes, u hit the nail. I agree.

  27. Hi Rahul

    yes, a sad reality indeed..Hope so.

  28. Hi Sandhya

    I really do not expect Indian men to change. they too, like their families, have double standards for girlfriends and wives (as SG said in the very first comment on this post)

  29. Hi Sai

    Yes, if a husband is supportive, no one can dare..I agree. But why does he need to support his wife, stand by her just because she wants wear what she is comfortable in? Why do we make such big issues out of petty things. Even in this 'modern' generation, there are thousands of married women who are being manipulated by their in laws, just like you innocent mother...sick.

  30. Hi OE

    thanks a lot! Is it? how come? Western culture is so open for women

  31. Hi Pankti

    yes, almost all women are stuck in a situation like this.

  32. Hi Marja

    the good news is that society is changing but the pace is painfully slow

  33. Hi Saru

    She did the correct thing. Such in laws deserve a kick on their damned bums!
    hehe yay!

  34. Hi Surjit

    we cannot leave everything on God and God only helps those who help them selves so women must fight for their rights and most importantly dignity.

  35. Hi Marinela

    thanks a lot!

  36. hi ankita nice to hear fm ya after a long time..best wishes always:)

  37. Hi Ramesh!

    I am so happy to see ur comment here! How r u?

    take care!
    best wishes :)

  38. ..just realized I missed to read this post earlier (and now I know why). But you have rightly raised the points about the mindset people have about dressing . But I am very optimistic of the change. Not very long ago (only about 60-70 years ago) , those who used to wear blouse in my area were considered to have 'loose character'. But It has changed. So there is no reason why this mindset won't change. When our generation takes over, It will:)

    Don't know about saree, but I do advocate everyone to wear dhoti. To me it is the most comfortable dress I have ever worn. I wear dhoti here as much as I can. The only problem is in keeping it clean and washing it :)

  39. Hi Nihar

    Change is there for it is inevitable but the issue is that it is too slow and and still pple are reluctant to change old and rotten laws for their DILs (and not daughters) hence creating a double standard. this is annoying. Dhoti indeed is a good dress. :)