A government-run polytechnic college in Bandra, Mumbai, recently decided to segregate its students based on gender, by demarcating sections for the two sexes in its cafeteria. The bizarre decision was apparently an attempt by the college principal to curb sexual harassment on its premises.
According to a report in The Times of India, principal Swati Deshpande of the Government Polytechnic College said women who dress like men start thinking like men, causing gender reversals in their heads, which reduces their urge to reproduce. Deshpande is also reported to be keen on introducing a dress code of Indian traditional wear for female students, which according to her, will be more in keeping with their physiological make-up.
“I have heard theories on why girls suffer from PCODs (Poly Cystic Ovarian Diseases) at an early age. When they dress like men, they start thinking or behaving like them,” Deshpande told TOI. “There is a gender role reversal in their head. Due to this, the natural urge to reproduce diminishes right from a young age and therefore they suffer from problems like PCODs.”
Social media users were quick to dispel the notion that PCODs, a common medical condition among women caused by hormonal imbalance, had anything to do with the way women dressed. Thanks to the women who decided to educate the college principal on Twitter, the hashtag #DressLikeAnIndianWoman was born.
Examples of women who dressed the way they wanted, not according to social constructs of femininity, were soon all over social media platforms.
On the field or in outer space, Indian women were rarely constrained by anything except the demands of their jobs and patriarchal notions of appropriate clothing.
Even those who wore traditional clothes were happy to match their outfits with progressive ideas and an open mind.
From lawyers to rickshaw drivers, women refused to stay in the closet or let anyone tell them what to pick from it.
Social media users also had a fresh set of suggestions for young women looking for dress codes.
Some made the pertinent point that clothing had little to do with reproductive capabilities.
As always, Twitter was also ready with a quick history lesson.
In a happy intersection, #DressLikeAnIndianWoman was trending just a few days after an anonymous source who worked on United States President Donald Trump’s election campaign, said that he likes the women who work for him “to dress like women”. Twitter had responded to Trump’s dress code for his staff with a storm of hilarious tweets.