“The problem lies in what we consider to be women’s rights. Do we think education is our right or do we think wearing dresses we love is our right? »
An interactive session between Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundarajan and female students during Women’s Day celebrations in Chennai has raised skeptical eyebrows, after girls were advised to choose education over than clothing. “Do we think education is our right or do we think wearing dresses we like is our right? attended by college students.
Responding to a question from a student regarding family pressure over choice of dress, the Governor asked, “They provide you with an education, don’t they?” Want to wear modern dresses? Normally, girls believe that wearing favorite dresses is progress. The problem lies in what we consider to be women’s rights. Do we think education is our right or do we think wearing dresses we love is our right? There is a difference,” she said.
Furthermore, Tamilisai maintained that while there was nothing wrong with wearing one’s choice of dress, that choice was limited to protecting our culture and progress and “causing no trouble to others”.
Making a bizarre analogy, she equated the choice of attire with doctors wearing coats and PPE kits, saying it was advisable to wear it to prevent infection and avoid distracting patients. “Why did people wear PPE kits during the pandemic? To prevent viral infection. Can we say I can get a viral infection because it’s my right? Some looks could infect me, damage me and destroy me. So it’s better to be safe.
When another student asked about abuse on public transport, Tamilisai comfortably retreated behind the oft-used cliché saying, “I don’t interfere with your rights. But it is possible that we think that they can bother us if we wear attractive or glamorous clothes. But that doesn’t mean I’m saying it’s right to do it. I say that as a doctor, it’s a psychological behavior. Take a girl who dresses well and a girl who wears ultra-modern dresses. There’s a chance we’re trying to disturb the latter. Please don’t get me wrong, it’s a natural thought. Is it right or wrong, that’s another thing,” she said. She further backed up her own flawed claim, questioning, “Are boys being abused? Do boys ask that question? So the problem is with men.
Tamilisai urged students to bravely face difficult situations and use the hotline that can be contacted in case of such abuse and asked students not to consider suicide as a solution. She also says helplines protect the identities of people in need: “If you are afraid to talk to someone, contact me or others, so we can help you. Never compromise on happiness. I am also thinking about how we can systematically help these women,” she said. Tamilisai eventually gave advice to men as well, saying that they should learn to treat women with respect and express their desire, when appropriate, in a respectful manner.