Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Dressing down...

Sarat often keeps mentioning that I have "sold out" because I dress differently - in his words, i.e...or rather I sometimes think about what I am going to wear and make a conscious effort at times to dress well. This got me thinking about the sterotypes and images that are often cultivated by people.

When I wear certain clothes, it is not to make a statement, or to prove a point or to just show off. I do so, because I can be considered to be one who is a bit fussy, borderline obsessive-compulsive about certain things...I often get irritated and angry if even the small things do not come together and stay out of place...my clothes, by natural extension fall into this category. If I wear a t-shirt and the round neck collar movies, behaves in a fashion that I dislike, then I try to avoid round-neck t-shirts from then on..I like shirts for the simple reason that they have collars and fit well around my neck and are not bothersome to me...and when I pick the shirt that I am going to wear, I have to pick the rest of the attire to ensure that everything fits just right...they are not completely off and make me look foolish - the jeans/trousers/shoes/jackets/etc. Even if something small is out of place, that thought would niggle me all day ans keep me distracted...which is why, I do not mind spending that extra 5 minutes every morning to decide on what to wear.

The problems arise, because of varying colleges of thought that go that certain apparel is inappropriate. Even during my undergrad days, there was this irritating idiot (who was supposedly a friend and then wasn't...but that's for another day) who used keep taunting me for not just wearing some old t-shirt and jeans...it isn't the case that I do not wear that kind of attire...I just choose to do so or not do so...which was his point...according to him, one should just throw on any old clothes that one finds and not bother. Honestly, if I held a book under his chin at any point of time and asked him to describe his own clothes, he would be at a complete loss ! He doesn't really bother about what clothes to wear and what he is wearing at any point of time. And for some reason, it seemed to irk him that those around him would actually take time off their precious day to decide on such mundane matters !

The point I am trying to get to, is that people form sterotypes...according to some, if you are a student in an university, then you should be totally nonchalant and not take the time and effort to dress well or maintain your appearance...if you do so, then oddly enough, you might be considered to be a rebel ! And this is among the people that the rest of the civilised world considers to be rebellious ! Tolerances for being different are very low in this community that is supposed to be most liberal ! This thought of mine, of course, is echoed in another post of mine regarding abortion !

I also noticed that Unix and Linux gurus seem to have an unkempt appearance - ragged, long beards and bad choice in clothes and even at times, personal hygiene. Gamers and game developers sport long hair and ponytails and wear off-beat clothes...then there are the business majors who try to dress in a dapper fashion...if you wish to break in to any of these communities and do not fit the ress code or behavioural criteria, then perhaps you are a rebel ?

Of course, this goes back to a question that keeps rising up in my mind on facing such hypocritical attitudes from people (and as the picture shows)...
How does it matter ?

4 comments:

Venky said...

There are rebels and then there are rebels without even one cause! Dressing up as a rebel certainly does not make you one - and if you really are conforming to your "clan" (phD, MBA, gamer etc) then how are you a rebel?!!?
If my attire is supposed to make a statement then please unsubsribe me from the community!

And loved your naral-pani-walla look dude ;)
-Venky

Meeta Yadav Vouk said...

Clothes dont make a man and I firmly believe in that. Most of our pretentious indian netas wear a simple kurta and pyjama. Are they really making a statement? Margaret Alva george fernandes's grilfriend wears a big round bindi on her forehead. Do you really think that anybody is fooled by her bhartiya nari looks except poor uneducated people. Being a grad students brings with it several challenges. I personally dont have the time or the patience to match my clothes in the morning. So the attire ends up being jeans and my columbia jacket. Every once in a while I will wear something else because I am bored with my clothes. I am not questioning what other people wear and I personally dont care what people think of my attire. All I am saying is you can wear what you want but you cant accuse people of not being openminded. No one has stopped you from expressing your opinions about abortion or clothes. But every one has the right to their opinions. You need to stop the personal attacks. In my mind that is against the ethics of a good healthy discussion.

Sib said...

There are no personal attacks from my side...that is the very antithesis of my thought process...suffice to say that I shall never make a personal attack unless one is made at me first...but that said, I do not use my blog as a forum to spew attacks/hatred at people...it is a method to present an opinion about a topic...and when I do so, I usually come down hard on one side or the other, because I editorialise and write op-ed pieces rather that write in an independant, cut and dried fashion...

A lot of people are not open-minded about other people's attire and I was just talking about society's attitudes towards people over something as simple as a dressing sense...

You echoed the point that I was trying to make - clothes do not make a man...but often enough many of us, myself included, make judgements based on attire. No need to take it personally...I never pointed a finger at one person and said that I was forced to withold my thoughts/opinions/etc...this post has been in the wings for a while now and I just finished it last night...

Similarly...for the abortion post, I mention my thoughts about how sometimes a discussion goes into an angry spiral at times and that I am at fault for the same myself...I have heard a lot of comments related to this from a wide variety of people and I wanted to put down my thoughts on the issue without distraction...if one reads it carefully, it is evident that I state often that I shall not impose my opinion on people and that I respect other people's point of view as well...

One should take it easy...not peronsonally.

Sib said...

Venky...actually, the "narial-paani-waalah" look that you mentioned was just a typical mallu-shtyle outfit I Wore in Kerala ! ;)