The concept of telling women what to do and who to be, dates back centuries. No wait, probably millenniums. I can't say either with absolute certainty, because I didn't exist then, obviously - but I have a feeling that most would agree when I say that this is not a purely visceral argument. I don't say this because of the sly innuendos I hear around me all day about the position of women in society; a position that is defined still by their relation to a man. "Wife of" "daughter of" - and if you're neither, you cannot exist in peace. At least not on paper. I don't say this because in the 21st century, equal pay is still something women are fighting for. I don't say this because pregnancy and starting a family is still deemed as something that is purely a woman's responsibility. I don't even say this because after the birth of a child, he/she is expected to be nurtured and cared for by the mother - the father is just a figurehead, there to provide a roof over the head. No, I'm not making a blanket statement about the position and status of women in society based on any of these things. I'm saying what I'm saying because even with all the other struggles that women face and battles that they fight everyday, choosing to wear what they please without being judged or subjected to scrutiny is still only a faraway thought.
What women choose to put on their body is there choice - in theory. The reality of the situation, unfortunately, is rather different. Ask a girl whose mother tells her to cover her shoulders before leaving the house, lest she be attacked by the gaze of lecherous men swamping the streets. Ask the woman who feels embarrassed to step out of her own bedroom in her own house sans a bra, lest her mother-in-law comment on her brazenness. Ask the working mother, who feels obligated to wear clothes with high necklines and low hemlines, lest her colleagues or other mothers comment on how she might embarrass her child if she didn't.
In a world where something as basic and personal as what a woman chooses to wear is controlled by the largely patriarchal thought process that has been ingrained into people's minds over centuries, it's empowering and refreshing to see women in positions of influence wear what they like, when they like - and own their choices.
One of the more recent cases of trolling a woman for her choice of clothes that has created a buzz is that of popular actress, Kareena Kapoor. The mother of one has been busy promoting her most recent film, Veere Di Wedding - and as expected of Kareena Kapoor, she chose to attend every event rather stylishly dressed. Her personal style and sense of fashion seems to have registered as rather troublesome with some on social media, who took to shaming her for not "dressing like a mother".
For two recent events, Kareena stepped out in black separates - one, a jacket with a translucent corset style centre paired with trousers and another, a three piece outfit that included a black ruching skirt, a bralet and a sheer trench coat. Here's when she was told that she should "dress like a mother". Kareena, being the boss lady that she is, told mid-day in response: "One should wear what they look good in. I don't know what's motherly dressing." She also told mid-day: "My mom (Babita) wears modern clothes, she looks fabulous in jeans and a top. Have you seen my mother-in-law (Sharmila Tagore)? She looks gorgeous in a pair of jeans and a shirt, just as much as she does in a silk saree. I come from a world where women wear what they want to. Just because I have had a baby doesn't mean I can't wear a short dress. If you have the confidence and the body to pull off something, wear it by all means."
Here's what we have to say to Kareena Kapoor - way to go. And more power to you.
On that note, here are some uber cool mothers who dress as they please and for themselves rather than to satisfy anyone else. Because in the rightful words of Kareena Kapoor "motherhood doesn't mean a woman must give up on herself".
Soha Ali Khan
Here's to the women who live life on their own terms, and fight off bullies and misogyny by doing just that much.