There are various ways in which society conditions individuals to perform specific gender roles. Preconceived notions of gender identity are passed down and often forced into people by different institutions. For example, ideas of clothing are different for men and women. While trousers and shirts are considered immediate options for men when it comes to formal clothing, saris and salwars are allotted to women.
Challenging this basic idea of the separate designation of formal clothing options for different genders, 3 male students of Fergusson College, Pune, decided to show up in sarees for their annual ‘Tie and Saree day’ celebration, reports India Today. Their intent was to send a strong message about gender equality.
The 3 boys – Akash Pawar, Sumit Honwadajkar and Rushikesh Sanap – spoke to sources and said:
“It is not written anywhere that boys should dress in boys attire and only girls should wear saree or other costumes like salwar, skirts, etc. So it struck to my mind, that why not wear a saree and have the experience of dressing up in one.”
They revealed that the process of breaking this gender stereotype was indeed a lot of fun.
“We had a lot of difficulty in arranging the sarees. We found draping the saree very difficult and for help, we had to call our friend Shraddha. It was only after dressing up and attending the function, we understood the complications of wearing a saree. Now we know why the ladies take so much time in dressing up,” said Sumit.
They also wore makeup and jewellery to complete their outfit. They also found it difficult to carry themselves elegantly for a long time!
However, this incident was not just appreciated by their friends and classmates but they received a lot of praise from faculty members as well.
Every time an individual decides to go against traditional norms, no matter how tiny a step it might be, institutionalised, orthodox, and gender-specific stereotypes begin to crumble. Kudos to the three students for daring to do the same.