My Clothes Don’t Make Me A Bigdi Hui Ladki

Posted by Mansi Guher in #BHL
September 23, 2017
Editor's note: This post is a part of #BHL, a campaign by BBC Media Action and Youth Ki Awaaz to redefine and own the label of what a 'bigda hua ladka or ladki' really is. If you believe in making your own choices and smashing this stereotype, share your story.

We live in a society, where wearing a saree is a part of the culture and wearing short dresses is often met with the exclamation of  “Oh no girls of a certain age don’t dress like that.”

No matter how short is the length of that aunty’s blouse is, the length of your skirt/shorts decides your character. People don’t even hesitate to body shame you and those people include, our aunties, uncles, and every second relative/friend.

Is it okay? To impose your thoughts and your so-called ‘paramparas’ (traditions) on anyone, literally anyone, especially that girl walking on the street, or your office colleague, or your neighbour and even your sister?

I guess my story is every girl’s story. I’ve been brought up in a house, where we are taught that your clothes don’t decide the type of woman you are. But everybody isn’t the same, right? We all have some aunties in our own families who accuse us unlike the ‘Sharma ji ka beta’ syndrome. These aunties usually don’t even let their kids dream about us, ‘us’ here denotes a ‘bigdi hui ladki’. Just because my parents allow me to choose the way I want to dress, which is decent enough, I and girls like me are given a tag of ‘bigdi hui ladki’ and considered overprivileged in terms of ‘every damn thing’.

I remember an incident where my younger sister was wearing shorts. My neighbour came to my sister along with her four-year-old son, and said, ”What are you wearing beta? My son is looking at your legs, please change’.’  I stood there stunned, trying to figuring out what she just said. I couldn’t say anything to her and my sister smiled, disguising her anger and walked away.

Our parents taught us to not answer back to our elders, but I wish they would’ve taught us how to raise our voice against this stereotypical mentality of people.