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My Instructor Stared At My Legs And Refused To Let Me Drive Unless I Changed My Shorts

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By Mansi Bhatia:

A recent high school graduate with a passion for driving, I became a student of my local driving school, and a very adept one at that. The driving class usually began at 6:30 am and I used to wake up from my slumber and go for the class looking like my dreadful morning self. I never really worried about what I wore to class until my driving instructor reminded me one day.

He told me that I shouldn’t wear shorts to the class. He stared at my legs while casually telling me that I cannot wear shorts from now onward. His ‘shouldn’t’ very conveniently turned into ‘couldn’t’. He had the audacity to say that we still had time left in our session and that I should go up and change into something that’ll cover my legs up. I was still in a bit of shock and was trying to wrap my head around his words, and the only thing that came out of my mouth at that moment was “Why?’’. To which he unabashedly replied, “Because these are the rules, I will not let you sit in the car unless you change your pants and come.’’ All of which was said without maintaining eye contact.

I had been wearing the same pants to the previous classes and suddenly on the class 9, it became a rule! My insides wanted to pummel him with my fist right then and there, but my demeanour was still cool. I told him that I did not want to go up and change again and that since I was already there, what was the harm in letting me drive? He was adamant and refused to let me even sit in the car.

My temper turned up a notch and I began reasoning with him loudly. “How the hell does it matter if I wear shorts or skirts or jeans to class? How is that relevant to the driving skills I’m about to acquire?” I asked him. He had no answer to that.

I regained my calm and walked out of there. He was shocked to see me walking away as he had expected me to obediently change for him. He then told my mother that if I wanted to drive, I should do what he says. My mother walked away too and contacted the owner of the driving institute.

So here I am now, still in a tizzy and turning to the internet yet again hoping that somewhere someone hears my voice and makes some sense out of it. The thing that scares me the most is the ascendancy with which he told me, as if it to say that it’s an axiomatic fact that girls should not wear shorts to their driving lesson.

Who is he to dictate what I wear? Why shouldn’t I wear something comfortable if I so wish?

Featured image for representation only. Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images for Guess
You must be to comment.
  1. Deepika

    It is truly horrifying to know that such people exist.

    1. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      Dear Mam you would be even horrified to know that we are a part of a country where there were practices like Sati, Johar , brutality towards Widows and even today many religions , when a lady gets a menustration treats her as though she is a criminal and getting and MC is a crime……reason why i am stating this is all this , today these practices have gone as there were reforms in the scociety brought by education and people and these reforms went away over a period of time …it is not like it happened just overnight…Similarly today the scociety is under a reform stage …ask your parents and grand parents if they are alive as to what kind of scociety they lived in and the clothes they wore compare them to the clothes you wear i am sure you would get the diffrence…….This diffrence is the transition and which is brought about by education change of thooghts and a scoiety where the percentage of people with same views is more … be calm and till then either you ignore or respect what a section of scoiety says… you would be more comfortable in a scociety where people are equally confortable with you…

  2. anubha

    Obviously its his problem. you carry on with what you wish to do. don’t give a shit on these kinda people

    1. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      My Brother how can you say that …say tommorow if he comes in an underwear and starts teaching driving would she be similarly tolerant ..will you still call him as it is his choice so he can do so…..

  3. Chintan Jain

    I congratulate you mam for your sheer courage and exemplary attitude. It is small incidents like these which set up huge examples for girls who give in to non sensical norms of the society. Hope your words reach and change every corner of our country.

  4. prashastika

    Its not amazing to see these people exist …of course we address these taunts and commandings in our everyday lives. The point is we from our very childhood are injected with the standards of ‘sexualisation of a woman’s body’ , to ‘measure’ the integrity and constitution of a woman by the ‘length’ of her clothes which stems these mindless and stereotypical comments by men and women at the same time.. its a short but lovely piece which seeks to situate MALE CHAUVINISM and SEXISM .

    1. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      But Prashastika you need to agree to the fact that on this grounds many of the religous and cutural sentiments of our countries are based…Be it Hinduism or Mohmeddans etc……India is a country of diverse cultures and religions….each has its own thinking and following….and most of them consider than the usage of mordern clothes is a result of westernization….How true this fact is no one knows……You are right that since childhood we are taught that sex is a crime and specially for women it is mre stringent rules from what they wear to the way they behave …The reason for this is again the poor literacy during the time of our parents and grand parents and a very strong religious and may be superstitous following of rules….You would have also come across Sati practices and Johar pracices which were previlant during the acient ages and the same got abolished when people got educated and brought reforms in the scociety ………They faced criticism from the people as well who were staunch followers of the practise but gradually they realised and then changes followed….similarly today the percentages of Liberal and open minded people is increasing but at the same time we also have people of the same old minds and traditrional beliefs …and as a part of the scoiety we have to consider them as well..,this situation will change as i am sure when you would be a parent or many of us who would be parents and as we are free from what we believe as false beliefs and religious illogical or gender biased aspects our children would see a diffrent India and scociety that we had seen…like today what we are seeing is far diffrent then what our parents grand parents have seen…the change is gradual and is happening so be calm and where ever situation arises respect to what a section of a society is saying without feeling that such of their behaviour is intruging ur freedom ….like i said You would be more comfortable in a society when people and the scociety is comfortable with you this is a golden rule

    2. bloodhound

      Please read my comment once.

    3. bloodhound

      Please read my comment once… 🙂

  5. Giridharan

    I would rather appreciate the driver who had the courage to tell you about what he felt instead of keeping that thought in his mind and spoil his mind too.
    I feel he did that because he felt that he might get distracted from teaching you driving lessons. If you were really interested in learning driving you should make sure that he is comfortable teaching you. If it is just some kind of “you give me money, I just tell you something” thing, the driver would not have bothered to teach you. Of course it is your comfort and it is your wish but in situations and places like these where you are in the RECEIVING end, do think about other’s comfort as well

    1. Anuva

      wow-I should make the driver feel comfortable -what if I tell you it was his dirty mind that made him feel comfortable-he is going to feel comfortable if he thinks that even if a girl goes naked he has no right to tell her what she should do

    2. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      Dear Anuva …I guess people of Delhi specially the once who ignored the girl lying naked and in blood on December 16th 2012 (Delhi Gang Rape)are of your mindset as thats the reason they ignored here been naked and in blood……Real shame that you feel so …DO NOT FORGET YOU ARE A PART OF SCOCIETY AND SCOCIETY HAS MIXED PEOPLE WITH MIXED MENTALITY….IMAGINE TOMORROW THE MAN COMES IN AN UNDERWEAR TO TEACH YOU DRIVING …WOULD YOU STILL IGNORE DESPITE BEEN UNCOMFORTABLE WHICH YOU SURELY WOULD FEEL….Please bear in mind India is a mixed population with more than 35% people still illetrate and many with religious and orthodox mindset…..there are people who dont even see a women naked even when they have sex with them,…..please read through various religions you will find such practices ,,,,,for some one with such mindest this is a shocking site for him to be with a lady in her shorts flaunting her thighs….he has expressed his concern which is appreciable and you should respect his thoughts……

    3. prashastika

      Azar ji. I absolutely agree that we can not blame those who are engulfed with this patriarchal mindset since like i said we all are injected with certain beliefs and value systems, also i contend to the fact that india is a diverse multi cultural society and we must appreciate this fact. THE CASE IS HE HAS NOT EXPRESSED HIS SO CALLED CONCERN but its his mental fibre which says that a woman has to be clothed in a way which does not expose her legs , cleavage or anything which are objectified. she has to be always careful about what others are judging and ITS IN HER INTEREST so that people dont dare to give it an excuse. I absolutely agree that if a man comes to me in an undergarment to teach me driving .i shall be uncomfortable… but she was wearing shorts ., and along with respecting all the religions, we must question the cynical preachings of any religion. moreover, the argument that he is WARNING the girl that he may lose his control by the sheer sight of her legs for he is not used to it is very naive and unacceptable. u are saying that it invites the idea of counter freedom. okay.. but does that mean that we continue to give in to the constructed values which are highly one sided and problematic. its not about westernisation or modernisation , its about choice. i see men walking on the roads with their sandos and vests, but if a woman wears the same , ouh wait…she should not wear that. firstly for it may lead to her molestation for she is making men HORMONAL..!! right. and they would not be able to jogg properly..

    4. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      Prashastika Ji …..First of all whatever you are saying is absolutely true as you are in a country like India. where the Patriarchial system is in the roots…but u must also realise things are changing a typical saree has been replaced by many fashionable Salwaar kameez to t shirts skirts etc…Now even today if we ask the oldies from our family most of them would be uncomfortable about the fact that women use clothes which reveal there body parts…why because of there experience they know that few parts of women are meant to be hidden…..It is a truth that Sexual desires are all related to a persons mentality and it is completely a mind game but it is equally true that a Womens Breasts thighs and ass are mostly sought by men or you may say are the attraction points for generating or aggravating lust in a person and this is a world wide known fact proven through surveys….Now coming to the fact the acceptance of the same again depends upon the mentality….The diffrence between a Europian or an American country and India is that they are grown up in a culture where women have freedom to be nude semi nude and men are ok with it….India we still are bounded with religous mindset (Which i do not support) due to which we consider the wearing of revealing clothes as disgusting….But let me tell u the trend is changing and so are people but the change has come into the religious or urbanised people who feel its perfectly natural…but on the other hand we have a complete set of population which is illetrate , blindly religious followers who would continue to have the same mindset that a women wearing lesser cloth is a slut….And trust me even the women of such a section are against the women and they are happy having restrictions on them….Coming to the point that a person openly stating his discomfort against dressing of a lady …here again we are concluding that the person had an evil mind on her without any proof .of his mindset….Been a guy i would say that if he had been liking what he is seeing he would never object the ladies dress as he would have continued to love the sight…..his objection was a proof that the sight of her thighs was creating a havoc in his mind (not necessarily sexual) but may be against the values/logic he has been brought up with…..It is not necessary that we accept him blindly or the lady would loose her side of freedom of wearing what she wants…but given the fact that she was going to be with him for a while till she learns to drive there was no harm in changing the dress when you know that the person is outrightly stating his discomfort…Now here there is a sign as well,,,,,,,suppose that the guy is actually of an evil mind and say after this argument of the lady showing her boldness and in favour of wearing whatever he wants goes backs and plans something evil…who would be at loss…isn’t prevention not better than cure….we all are expecting change in scociety and mentality and it will change but till then lets try and be safer ….use of clothes is not a matter of debate …As once we were in a village area just to visit a relative ….and the ladies at home are used to wear light gowns in summers they did so …soon are relative asked the ladies not be in that avtaar …..although we knew we had freedom but we respected the view of the people as we knew we are not going to stay there for long….unwantedly fighting or justifying the point was not needed…….So why i am saying this is sometimes we have to act wisely rather than been spontanious to some one who has a narrow mind….

    5. bloodhound

      How did you come to know that he had a dirty mind? I assume that you might be Sherlock Holmes to get into such conclusions that too so easily.

  6. Does it matter?!

    Probably the driving company wanted to follow a dress code?!
    One wishes to follow dress codes at stupid dressing up parties, why not go by company rules?
    Also, studying math or english is no way connected dresses that we wear. But we still wear uniforms to school!! Do u ask the same question there also?
    Well, I am NOT against wearing shorts or any such clothing. Of course you have all the freedom in the world to wear what you want, but you also need to respect dress codes. You don’t own that driving company, do you?!
    There is just no point in this article to be published here!

  7. Azar Hameed Sayyed

    ..In your case no doubt you are a citizen of a democratic republic and are bound to leave freely….but same is the right of the driver who was teaching you as well…..your shorts may have felt him uncomfortable …Just like when you are seating besides a man/woman who is stinking badly and imagine you have to be with that guy daily you would certainely ask that guy or girl to get rid of that stink or give him a stong feedback based on the situation…in this case again both of you have equal right,,Similar is your case as well,….and trust me it is a natural phenomena that a man not used to see a woman in such clothes may certainely feel very uncomfortable not just because he is of bad character or may have an evil mind inside …but he may have a good intent or a man of decipline or of an orthodox religious mindset (either Hindu/Muslim etc) which no matter what you do cannot change as they feel it is right …..He may not be wanting any situation to be created where he loses his control or gets any distraction beacuse of the unusual sight of your legs…….Imagine a state tomorrow the guy comes in a banyan and underwear or even in an underwear just because he is comfortable and u are sitting next to him with his private parts almost visible would you still not mind asking him to wear clothes or you would still focus on driving….i bet you would ask him to wear clothes…..We need to understand freedom and the meaning of it…..I still feel that the man is really honest to have expressed what he felt and you should respect if a person says something as a feedback…..i am sure though what you would ask next that what if tomorrow he says come in a Burqha …..i am sure which no one would say and agree…….Always remeber the clothes you wear you would feel more confortable only when people around you are comfortable….if the people around you are not comfortable it will have a direct impcat on you as you will have eyes /comments on you breaching your privacy…it is equal for men and women ….So decide to yourself and be calm……As an advice refrain from showing your boldness specially today where the rape crimes are so high your such signs of fighting against been bold may act as a possitive sign for people with evil mindset and further instigate him to go ahead with his action considering that you are open minded for anything or everything///This is a bitter truth again…….Be free but at the same time consider the scociety which you are a part of.

    1. Pratyush

      Oh my god! What did I just read? Please tell me that this is a joke comment.

    2. Pratyush

      Sorry, that was for the above comment made by Gaurav.

    3. Nisarg

      I’ve read all your comments and couldn’t agree more. I reckon you should write an article which demonstrates the reasoning you’ve given on this issue.

  8. Gaurav

    there is a big tussle going on, in the west women prefer to go around naked and they believe that it is their body and it should not bother anyone. infact many women prefer to live naked in their homes and also go about their daily work completely naked. again the logic is very simple, nobody should bother you as it is your body. but even in places where people live naked the only rule is when people who come over wearing clothes , the naked people cover themselves up.

    alternatively if this is bothering you too much , why dont you take a stand and beat up that guy to make a point. simply walking away is not the right thing. by fighting up you will send a crystal clear message that you will not tolerate any nonsense. women in the west carry guns/knives and prefer to take matters in their own hand.

    you can apply for a license for a gun and then buy a point and shoot gun with a silencer so that nobody will know if you kill anyone. but that is only if you simply cannot tolerate this behaviour, on the other hand if you have made peace by walking away that is also fine as long as your mind is at peace.

    on a second thought, till some time back women used to study psychology , it is high time you women start studying ballistics/alchemy/explosives, if you have any friends in the army they can teach you , that way you can take matters in your own hand whenever and wherever. think about it. best of luck

  9. Gaurav

    we are a society which is in violent opposition to the past and the future. the old and the new clash here everyday. as people assert their identity and personal space those who are old fashioned and still see a role for community/family will be facing the brunt of the backlash. although a human being who is able to say what he finds unacceptable to his sensibilities is much better than those who rape women and hang them from trees but apparently women do not brook any interference of any nature so there is bound to be a violent reaction to any attempt to perpetuate the line of thinking prevalent 30 years ago where family and community always had a say in how a person should conduct himself/herself. power is the only parameter which can resolve this impasse … some food for thought

    1. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      I absolutely agree with you …..we have emerged from a scociety where Sati was practised where Widows were brutally ill treated where Jauhar was perfromed ….and many more ritual practices which may be considered Gender biased ….but at the same time a transition of thoughts have also been seen and all this has happened gradually…..Our grand parents specially grand mothers never Knew about salwar kameez which we have seen are parents wear,,,,,,and our parents never knoew about micro minis and skirts and jeans which we are wearing so obviously there is change that is evident but at the same time today there are still people who have not changed …but we cannot ignore them as they are part of scociety ,,,,,,and each and every aspect of the scociety is to be respected,,,,,,,what i disagree about the writer of this blog she directly concluded the discomfort of the driver and his evil mind…..which is wrong i belive…..he might have had his own thought process which she should have respected….even though he is just a driver but she forgot that he was a teacher also and atleast instead of taking his comments as a breach in her individual freedom she should have respected him as a teacher rather than showing arogance which would again bring in thoughts to that driver that rich girls/highly educated class people are ignorant disrespectful and highly open and unculturous …the way she felt his comments as offensive he would have thought her reaction was not good and never want my daughter to be like one……even if we are free and have individual freedom we should create examples by posiitve deeds….Here the term Driver has made the main diffrence

    2. Prashant Kaushik

      In our generation such insight is not appreciated, Rather a quick stereotyping is a preferred rule by default.
      Nice comment.

  10. Parag

    I agree 100% with the writer. I’m sad that as a society, we have come to such a stage that just the way we choose to express ourselves is seen as offensive. Moreover, people are justifying the wrongdoers, and finding excuses for their behaviors. Do you ask a tree or a kitten to cover up? What you wear (or not) is entirely up to you. As long as you are not breaking any laws, or physically/verbally hurting other people, what you do/say/how you act should be nobody’s business but yours. Refusing to teach you, is sheer orthodox obstinacy. I wish people would stop objectifying other human beings.

  11. Malavika

    It is truly disheartening to read some of the comments that have been posted here in response to your article. One of the comments attempts to draw an analogy between a student whose body odor bothers the instructor and a student who is wearing shorts. This is ludicrous in that it correlates body odor with a woman’s expression of her sexuality. What I’m assuming bothers your instructor in this case is a woman being comfortable enough with her sexuality to bare her legs. I don’t know if he would have asked a male student to wear pants, but even if he did, his request cannot be seen in abstraction- his request is rooted in the gendered assumption that a woman must do all she can to conceal her sexuality to protect herself from the roving male eye. The patriarchy that is entrenched in our society sexualizes women’s bodies.Women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies, they are taught that their bodies are impure as they excite lust in the minds of men, and that if a woman does not do all that she can to cover the sinfulness that resides in her body, she invites trouble. A woman is not allowed to merely exist- she is told on a continual basis that her body has the power to tempt, and that she must conceal her body or else invite lewd remarks, touching, groping, and even sexual assault. It is this flawed assumption that leads to the perpetuation of rape culture, where a woman is held either solely or partially responsible for being raped. Being asked to cover up is a transgression of your autonomy and agency, and you shouldn’t stand for it. And for those who claim to be doyens of ‘Indian culture’, it is sad that you would blindly choose to perpetuate a culture that teaches women to be ashamed of their bodies and their sexuality and that views women as being custodians of all that is pure, prizing her chastity beyond everything else, without questioning the implications this could hold for the millions of women whose sexual autonomy is violated on a daily basis.
    Further, for those who ask the woman to arm herself to the teeth, you are telling her that the onus is on her, even if partially, to prevent being assaulted. Hence, you are furthering the flawed notion that a woman is partly responsible for sexual violence i.e, if she does not take adequate precautions, she is bound to fall prey to sexual violence.

    1. bloodhound

      please read my comment, maybe i have something to say which might help you.. 🙂

    2. Prashant Kaushik

      Stick to the point and pls be objective.

      What you have written could be all true but it is entirely completely un-related to this incident. I suggest you to write an independent article rather then encouraging the urge to muddle up this isolated incident with an Essay on ‘story of Indian civilization and condition of women.’
      you can refer to my comments above.

  12. Santosh Tiwari

    True yaar . Ham kab sudharenge!!?

  13. Anirudh

    I don’t think this is gender specific… It is more of a do what your teacher says… For example my driving instructor recently told me to wear shirts instead of t-shirts to driving classes… Obviously no one likes being told things like that… Really appreciate that you decided to write about the incident

  14. Azar Hameed Sayyed

    What is very suprising about this article is just because the guy was a mere driving instructor possibily from a poor background instructing to maintain a proper dress while learning was considered to be of an Orthodox/evil mindset and his comment was treated as an offence against freedom (specially women freedom to wear anything)..To remind you tomorrow you would be a part of coorporate world or would work in an MNC …let me tell you …women there are not allowed to wear shorts/Micro minis/minis…bare backs deep necks …and so are rules for boys to wear formals with ties during Mondays and Tuesdays and no round neck T shirt allowed during Weekend….At that particular time you wont feel offended because it is a well reputated company wanting to maintain proper dress code and decorum of there office and you will be among educated known intellectual people paid for work……Where as in this case a mere driver poor in living and profession who considers his small job prestigious wants his students to respect him , maintain decorum of his car is termed as orthodox evilminded,and intruging your freedom,,why because you are paying him are superior to him and can do whatever you want because of that….RIDICULOUS learn to respect people

  15. Vimal

    Fuck this Noise! A woman can wear whatever the hell she feels like.

    If you have a problem with that, or cant control your dick, go see a psychiatrist. You have no right to dictate women just because you are bothered by what you see.

    1. Azar Hameed Sayyed

      Dude if he had problems with controlling his dick he would have never objected her infact would have been more happy to see her in more lesser outfit…the problem is we are directly concluding that the guy is of an evil mindset without even considering other diffrent angels which could be the reason for his insistance …Every where you go you follow a specific dress code ….And thats why diffrent dresses are designed for such situation …it has nothing to do with ideology or freedom of some one ..Just because a possibily low educated Driver from a poor class dictates you considering that atleast for a few days he is your Teacher and owes respect like all other teachers teaching various subjects do…you should not be agressive …atleast considering that he is your teacher or instructor….

  16. Tinti

    So ridiculous! Who is he to dictate what you are going to wear?
    You did the right thing by protesting and not obliging to his idiotic demand.

  17. bloodhound

    Looking at what mansi experienced can be frustrating really. Especially when someone else tells us what to and what not to wear. But why do you think was that driver so much concerned? Why not have a different way of looking at his concerns? Why not think that he was protective about her; like a father is protective about his daughter. Wise men and filthy minds both fill the same streets in which you stay. Unfortunately you cant make out who’s who that easily! You are in India, a country which has still a long way to go because here sometimes even an educated person doesn’t behave like one. It might be that driver was wrong. But think for a while. How would a person, who in his childhood has seen all the women dressed in traditional clothes where most of her body was covered. And then that same person sees a girl wearing shorts and sitting right next to him. Wont he feel uncomfortable?!! Mansi has probably underwent globalisation(ofcourse through internet). She might be influenced by western culture(which i never say is wrong) but that poor driver is still living his traditions unprepared of such changes. Hardly any Indian community had its traditional outfit as short as a mini skirt. Time is needed for a change to happen. This is a phase of transition which we are going through. Other countries have surpassed it already, we are going through it right now.. getting used to seeing a girl wearing skirt who once were only covered herself with kurti’s needs some time. Coz we are changing, a lot!!

  18. Prashant Kaushik

    Crap ! Some one should tell this girl that she is all wrong here !!
    1) I am a Male, and My gym instructor prohibits me from from lifting weights or even entering the gym UNLESS I WEAR A T-SHIRT. Even if i wear a shirt which is loose or casual, he still doesn’t lets me in.
    2) My American MNC, DISALLOWS ME (and all male employees) to wear Round T Shirts, Sandles, sleeveless etc even on Friday, though women employees are allowed to wear the same.

    Trust me, we all men can count you hundreds of such examples from every day life where we men are SUBJECTED to far more dress RESTRICTIONS than you women are. Only difference is that we don’t make a fuss about it. We don’t yell or cry that our freedom is taken away. We focus more on the work than what are the wardrobe options available to us.

    In my recent meeting with my HR ( a Lady), which was called to push me to take an assignment I wasn’t willing, she pointed towards my shirt indicating that the 1st button below the collar was perhaps unbuttoned. I quickly checked and confirmed that it was closed and signed her that she could have misjudged.
    What I want to say is that the discussion went as usual, and neither i wrote a 2 page article nor felt that my freedom was under any threat. I am just wondering how the so called budding ‘FEMINISTS’ would have reacted had they been in same scenario with a male HR.
    For me ( and perhaps all menfolk) freedom lies in chosing my assignments, my location, my skills and such pertinent things. Freedom to chose the length of my dress would be the last thing I would bother about.

    Lastly, in this article, the desire to use violence or a Punjabi Fist on the instructor by the writer well establishes that she was in no fair state of mind to decide things judiciously. I would only advice her to be calm and restrain the urge to be violent at such slight provocation when called for being disciplined.

    1. Saahil Cuccria

      Well, I understand what you’re trying to say, but what you are talking about is “PROFESSIONAL” stuff. Now clearly Rules of a Gym and MNC appy to all members and employees and are no where near a driving class, don’t you think that he suddenly after 9 days told her that she can’t wear shorts to class (because he’s not able to control his urges) is weird and surely not justified. If and when there were any rules any rules about Dress Code, they should have been conveyed on the very first day, actually a day before. I’m sure that you were told that you cant wear shirts to the gym and round neck t-shirts to office when you joined. I’m also pretty sure that he (the instructor) wouldn’t tell a guy to go and change his shorts.

      The very issue here, India is that a lot of ideologies and restrictions are shamelessly IMPOSED on girls because men, being it the father, brother, husband, colleague, boss or teacher are blinded by the cultural gender roles and stereotypes which are set up by the society. A guy would not stopped if he’s going to the nearby market in his vest and boxers but a girl will be stopped if she’s wearing a bikini to a beach. Why? Because everybody thinks that girls have to follow ‘norms’ and be ‘sophisticated’

    2. Prashant Kaushik

      Now that you have started the process of ‘Assuming’, there is no end to it. You can go on making as many assumptions about what could be in the mind of the driver to suit your argument.
      1) No where it is mentioned in the article that the driver said that the reason behind asking her to change dress is because he cant control his urge. This is a product of your assumption and stereotyping.
      2) Code of dress are not hard coded. They are amended as and when required. Ofcourse the MNC didn’t convey the entire Dress-Code on the first day. There were other important things to be discussed. We keep getting mails once in a while when they are revised and we really don’t bother if they make any limitations. Same is the case in gym. As I have said so many times there are many other important things to take care in a car driving session, in a gym, in an MNC workplace, and in life as a whole then the petty things like length or shape of dress allowed to us.
      3) It’s immaterial why he didn’t said those things on the first day. There are certain unsaid rules we have to follow in life, not every time they need to be presented for ratification at the time of signing a deal. Another proposition is that, it is much normal for a poor driver to feel hesitant to dictate dress norms to a seemingly rich brat. Might be, he avoided initially and could mustered the courage on the 9th day only.

    3. Anurag

      “Might be, he avoided initially and could mustered the courage on the 9th day only”
      — Now look who is making assumptions,

      BTW, all workplaces especially MNC’s have a document for dress code. Look diligently, you will find one.

    4. sona

      I agree with you.what’s wrong in wearing a dress as per ur instructor advise? After all he’s ur guru some respect .

    5. Bharat Bhatia

      Hi Prashant, if you are on FB, please connect on messenger. Thanks or you can also find a page

  19. Samarth Singh

    So, a request to wear full pants ended up in an argument. Don’t get me wrong. I advocate women rights and I agree with you regarding what you must wear is your matter.
    But if you raised your temper, and thought about hitting your instructor (who maybe elder to you), then don’t expect us to support you…

    He could be saying so, apparently for only one reason: Maybe he’s not too accustomed to seeing exposed legs in his culture or life.
    Because otherwise, as you’re right, wearing shorts has no connection to driving.

    In that case, couldn’t you, Mansi, acted more sensitively?

    Your rights and comfort is all that matters and that guy’s comfort is not relevant at all?? He just requested something and you had to make an issue of it, on a website?

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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