I was talking to my maternal grandma on the phone last night when she mentioned that a family friend had visited them that day. I was fond of their daughter who has a really good fashion sense so I asked how she was doing. This launched my grandma into a tirade that made me ask this question from myself. Following is the gist of what she said: the family of the boy she is getting married to don’t particularly like her (this can be a big problem here as the boys live with their parents even after marriage and the girl who was living with her parents would shift to the boys’ house after marriage) due to the way she dresses up. They don’t want her to wear tops with revealing necklines and shorts above the knees. She also walks around at night on the road, alone. They want her to not do all this as they have many men in the house and we all live in a society and are answerable to it. At this point, I’m angry. Why should the girl give up her way of life to get married? When I learnt that the boy, her supposed boyfriend, supported his family I got even angrier. I asked my grandma what she thought the girl should do. Her exact words translated to English were, “what’s the harm in giving up wearing such clothes in order to get married?” By now, I’m thoroughly pissed. What enrages me even further is the fact that this is the same grandmother who has delivered innumerable infants in the hospital and was offered a job by WHO and UN at different points in her career. I did not expect someone so educated and progressive to have such thoughts.
I’ve since asked many people about whether a girl should change the way she dresses up for her future in-laws’ satisfaction. My dad says she shouldn’t but try to dress up a little according to the family when with them. My dad’s mother says she should see this before getting married and if she wants to continue wearing such clothes then she shouldn’t marry in such a family. My sister says that family sucks. I agree. I am not saying that women should go around wearing bikinis on the road (we don’t live in that world yet). But, if the clothes are reasonably alright to be worn then it shouldn’t be a problem. The problem is that who decides if they are alright? I don’t have any answer to this. The rule I follow is that I can look different but not so different that all eyes are on me (I am not really good at attention seeking as you can see) because I’m going out to some place to do something and I want to be able to do that thing without feeling I’m being stared at (yeah I know that’ll happen no matter how modestly I dress). This is just what I do, what others prefer maybe different.
But I don’t think I can give up wearing knee length dresses just because a guy’s family don’t like it. I think I should be grateful that my family doesn’t think this way and let me wear what I want within reason. Of course I don’t wear shorty shorts to a temple or an Indian girly outfit to a conference. But I wear whatever I want to and I’m comfortable in and I think looks good on me.
That finally brings we to the question, how much will you give up? How much of yourself would you let go to be with the one you love? What parts of your personality would you curtail in order to please others? Tell me, I really want to know.