Women in revealing dresses: liberation, or titillation?
Questioner: There is a question in my mind that keeps bothering me quite a lot — this concept of ‘wearing short dresses’ and ‘not being seen in short dresses in the public’.
Usually, people say that one can wear short dresses at home, but it is not okay to wear them in public. Some of the world leaders even allege that one of the reasons that a woman gets raped is because she was wearing short clothes.
What is your understanding of this?
Acharya Prashant: There are two sides involved here.
One, the woman who is walking about wearing whatever clothes she is. And she has her own story to tell. And then there are those who are jeering, ogling, mocking, and sometimes attacking.
I would want to have a sincere discussion with both of them.
Firstly, with the side that is so articulate in saying that women should mind their clothes and dressings. I want to ask them, “What kind of person are you, man or woman, if anything is able to disturb or provoke you so easily?”
Your allegation is that when you watch a woman dressed skimpily, then that becomes a disturbance, a distraction, even a provocation. How will you insulate yourself? And how much you will insulate yourself from the world? And what are the limits to what you want to see and not see?
Today you say that a woman’s legs or thighs provoke you, what prevents you from saying tomorrow that her ankles and fingernails provoke you? Would you then demand that she should cover up from head-to-toe?
I want to question this.
After all, body is ‘body’, skin is ‘skin’, flesh is ‘flesh’, and blood and bones are ‘blood and bones’. What prevents somebody from coming up tomorrow and saying that the sight of a naked nose is a great sexual invitation to him?
“You see, nose. I find nose quite erotic.”
And was it not so, that in Victorian England, even the legs of tables and chairs were covered, because legs are not supposed to be displayed? It’s a matter of conditioning. You can condition yourself to think that legs are highly sensible and even erotic, even on tables, even on furniture.