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Mumbai principal says pants stop women from reproducing, and the Twitterverse shows her what it thinks of that

Binjal Shah
7th Feb 2017
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Maximum city was today the source of maximum absurdity, as the principal of a government college indicated that she would like to change the dress code for women in their college. She would prefer them “not to dress like men” as it will eventually lead to them shirking their reproductive desires.

Swati Deshpande, the principal of Mumbai's Bandra-based Government Polytechnic College, has in fact, instated a series of bizarre policies in order preserve the sanctity and safety of womanhood. Stemming from a clearly misguided and terribly unscientific reasoning behind harassment, she has decided to dedicate women-only spaces in their canteen, as she feels that limiting the interaction between the sexes is enough to curb sexual harassment. The two sections have been demarcated using ropes.

Some of the reactions from Tweeple

To top this, she has also set in motion the process of changing the uniforms of women, who currently dress in an identical manner to their male classmates - in a simple white shirt and black trousers.

In this TOI article, Swati Deshpande was reported as saying that dressing like men induces women to act like them, in turn leading to them losing their urge to reproduce. She feels that a salwar kameez is more fitting as a costume for Indian women.

"I have heard theories on why girls suffer from PCODs (Poly Cystic Ovarian Diseases) at an early age. When they dress like men, they start thinking or behaving like them. There is a gender role reversal in their head. Due to this, the natural urge to reproduce diminishes right from a young age, and therefore, they suffer from problems like PCODs," said Swati.

This is unacceptable on various counts. Besides the thoroughly problematic notion that a woman's “divine purpose” is to be a child-bearing vessel someday, it is placing a direct and rather regressive curb on a woman's basic freedom to dress how she likes. This statement also implies a sweeping generalisation that being like men is a negative phenomenon, that all men possess a lack of regard towards procreation and fatherhood, and that they are all sexual offenders. It's not even worth making the painfully obvious clarification to our readers that no study has been able to link clothing to diseases or psychological conditioning of any sort.

This news was quick to be absorbed by the Twitter-verse, which had hilarious clapbacks waiting for the principal to refute her baseless claims. The hashtag #DressLikeAnIndianWoman became the top trend in no time, and people shared historic pictures of Indian women moving mountains with absolute ease in costumes that are nobody's business.

Acclaimed Indian author Kiran Manral posted a picture of the Rani of Jhansi regiment of women, who all played indispensable roles in getting our country its freedom, in, you guessed it, clothes that are none of anyone's business.

Radhakrishnan Nair, Editor and Publisher of Man's World (MW) and Rolling Stone India posted a picture of “Legends Balasaraswati and M.S. Subbulakshmi (posing) in (a) secret teenage defiance studio picture from 1937.”

Other women like DU literature professor Nishtha Gautam and a blogger who calls herself MAK on Twitter showed how pluralistic Indian style and Indian women can be, and that sporting either one of those looks gives no one the right to fit Indian woman into boxes and stereotypes.

And trust the Indian comedians to find the humour in the most enraging situations. Stand up comedian Sorabh Pant expressed genuine concern for his ovaries, since he just purchased a new pair of trousers. Full marks.

Another user posted a picture of Dipa Karmakar, the newest darling of Indian athletics, in what doesn't look like a very long kurta with a completely absconding salwaar and dupatta.

And here's another woman just revelling in the joys of motherhood that she clearly received after being banished to the Himalayas for 400 years for being a jeans and t-shirt apologist.

Tweets are flooding in by the second as women try and plead with this nation's sensibilities that their clothes shouldn't and wouldn't bear any consequences on their futures. Head on over to the hashtag revolution and help your stunning clothes come out of your closet too!

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