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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    The half sari is still around!

    I had recently been to a marriage in South Tamil Nadu, which happened in a small town. I was stumped to see almost every young girl dressed in the simple half sari. They were complete with a huge amount of flowers on their head and glittering bangles as well.

    When quizzed, one elder said that the tradition is only to be dressed this way for every marriage. He even introduced me to a couple of highly educated IT industry working girls, from Bangalore, who said that they were proud to wear the dress meet with their relatives. Of course, every one of them was unmarried.

    It later transpired that some inquiries would be made about prospective brides and bridegrooms from among those present. The entire atmosphere was superb, with so much fun and laughter all around.

    Have you seen these kinds of traditional weddings in recent times?
  • #643504
    Nothing is so beautiful to see young girls in half sari which is the traditional dress statement during festivals and marriages. And if the girls have group of friends, they can even plan same kind of dress for all and that would give awesome look and also arresting to the eyes. I have also seen girls in Telangana and AP to wear half sari especially during the Sankranthi festivals where in the entire family would gather at their own village and enjoy the festivals. So half sari is the traditional dress of the South which enhances the natural beauty of any girl and added to that if they wear anklets , then that sound emanating while walking is further more pleasing to hear.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #643511
    Girls in 'pavada' (half-sari), girls with flowers in their hair, girls wearing anklets, enhancement of natural beauty – I see these as an objectification of girls.

    We are disposed to treating young girls as if they were mannequins that we can dress up. Then we tend to tell the same girls how attractive they look. We keep emphasising on them that their clothes and accessories make them beautiful. We keep reinforcing notions in young impressionable minds, that how they look matters and guide them into believing that their beauty should be their number one priority.

    When we constantly point out how cute a girl looks, because the way she is dressed, we send the wrong message. Girls are more than things of beauty. We, as a society need to shun this stereotyping of them. We are the ones they look up to for inspiration, and all we can talk to them is about how their clothes have transformed them, what message are we sending out?

    Instead, praise real virtues – creativity, capability, intelligence, courage, strength etc.

    Please look beyond the physical.

    “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.” - John Berger

  • #643515
    Madam, am afraid you have got it wrong. The half sari is itself as good as gone in the cities. Look around in Chennai. You can hardly see any young girl in it.

    We are talking about one aspect of culture. Yes, it is possible to maintain the balance. Even the same girls are very creative, they have terrific capabilities, they are intelligent and they have courage too. Since I do not want to go into too many details, I will desist from naming the town.

    The young girls have formed a co-operative and have started a roaring catering business there. When I asked them who motivated them, they informed me that it was an ordinary municipal school principal. Quizzed further, they also said that they would go to Kerala to buy bamboo furniture, which has a huge market in that town and in the surrounding villages.

    The girls did tell me that they do not wear the half sari everyday. There has not been a single incident of violence and all that nonsense. The menfolk do not interfere in the affairs of the girls. In fact, every single girl I met, were all graduates.

    Please tell me, what is wrong in being where they are and still follow one aspect of this culture, only on specific days? We have gone far beyond the physical madam. Please do go to smaller towns like Villupuram, Mayiladuthurai,, and so on. Meet the thousands of girls who study in colleges. The days of girls not studying is all but over. Even in the town I had been to for the wedding,do you know that the labor has come all the way from Bihar, to work in the farms and the fields? Reason? The level of education is so huge.

    I do hope I have clarified. Madam, the level of self employment of a huge multitude of women, across the State of Tamil Nadu, is increasing day after day. Please do check on the number of self-help groups. This is massive.

  • #643516
    I know that half-saree is a beautiful traditional dress. In this thread, the author has simply praised the sight of Tamil girls/women in traditional dress. But some of us always want to bring in serious issues everywhere.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #643519
    The half saree is a traditional dress for girls. Even these days also if we go to any village in Andhra Pradesh we find many girls with half sarees. But on the festival days, they go for special silk half sarees and gather together and play and spend their time happily with their friends. Especially this atmosphere is very much seen in both the Godavari Districts of Andhra Pradesh. It is really very pleasant to see them in such a way on that day. Many of them may be graduates and working in various fields but when they are in the house they will be seen like that only. When some special occasions are there, like marriages, we see a group of girls dressed in the same way will be moving in groups making the entire atmosphere awesome. They talk to each other and enjoy the situation. If we see the next day the same girls we may not be able to recognise them. This tradition is seen in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana also.
    drrao
    always confident

  • #643529
    It is not the first time that girls and their attires are being discussed on the forum. I have yet to see a post that talks about men following traditions and keeping the culture alive. How were the men dressed? Were they in 'vesthi'? Even if they were, it wouldn't be raised as a topic for discussion, because we do not see men as followers of traditions or as objects. What pleasure can be derived from seeing men dressed in traditional attire?

    Your second post is meaningful and inspiring, it speaks of courage, determination, strength, capabilities, development and more. I would have liked to read about these aspects because they are qualities that I admire and expect to be promoted.

    I have travelled across the length and breadth of Tamil Nadu, even to some of the remotest corners. Villupuram was on the way to Tiruchirappalli, where my daughter studied. I have entered the town many times, it and Tindivanam were regular halts, for refuelling the car and coffee break.

    Women are opening cooperative societies, becoming empowered, let us share these aspects, so they can be an inspiration to others.

    Yes, women dress in traditional attire during special occasions but talking about it an objectification of them.

    “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.” - John Berger

  • #643533
    Juana, it is not objectification as you construe. I agree that we don't discuss what a man wears but then would you agree that we have always been particular about how our daughter looks? I have specifically said, daughter, because she is special and we would like her to be appropriately dressed with a balanced makeup. I would not be that concerned about my son if we are to a function. That being the case, let us not bring in all that gender equality or stuff like that whenever a topic is raised for discussion.

    [Last sentence removed. Desist from personal comments like that.]

    'He who does not understand your silence will probably not understand your words.'- Elbert Hubbard.

  • #643537
    That is the problem Saji, the objectification is so deep-rooted in our psyche that we go to extents, justifying it.

    Why have we been particular about how our daughters look? What makes it important that they look a certain way? It is sexist. A daughter is not something to be displayed, the disparity is obvious when you state that you would not be concerned how your son looks. Why are the daughter's looks important? You create a gender bias right there.

    Gender biases exist, but we are too blind to acknowledge them and too imprudent to correct them.

    It may be a simple topic to you because you see nothing wrong in it. But, I being a woman, and as an outsider ("if you were from the South") see it as a problem. Give me the courtesy to have my say. You may choose to disagree, but don't force your views on me, and more importantly, don't shut me up.

    Everything in life is simple, it is only when we go a little deeper, that we see problems. It is parents who inculcate wrong values in girls, of looking pretty and attractive. This objectification is the reason why society (men in particular) treat girls differently.

    “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.” - John Berger

  • #643541
    Madam, while I do not agree with you at all on the "objectification"issue at all, and I also agree with your point that you can have your own point of view, let me tell you, I have watched comments on men too and the type of attire that they come out shopping in, on a lazy Sunday. This has also happened. I would definitely talk about this too. It happened in Chennai. However, I guess I need to wait for my chance as there is a restriction on the number of posts.
    Every single post or article of mine are all based on real life stories. I do read books, but am more inspired by what I see.

    There is absolutely no gender bias. We, the men in the Tamil Brahmin families to which I belong to, have several "dos" and "don'ts". Many do not like this today and the younger generation that includes my own son and daughter do not agree with them. It is not my intention to even question why such things were supposed to be there in the first place. Just like I have a right to my opinion, my son or daughter have a right too.

    This is also similar to accepting that you have a right to express your views.

    Many things have already changed. To speak about a simple example. Do you know that our boys get married to American or Eurpoean women when they get to meet them in colleges? This may be rare in the other communities of Tamil Nadu.

    I repeat. We, in Tamil Nadu, cherish certain customs that are part of our culture. No caste, no creed and even no religion. Even a couple of Christian girls where seen in half saris on that day. It is their wish. It is their right. It is also our right to allow them wear the same if they want to. In this case, the local culture had a big role.

    Yes, the Tamil custom is no wear only dhotis. For that matter, please go observe that at least ninety percent of men in Kerala wear the dhoti only. I do not know much about AP and Karnataka. However, hundreds of thousands are now shifting to lungi. It is their wish. I guess when you get to appreciate the culture from a purely cultural point of view, you will be able to appreciate what I say.

    Yes, you can have your point of view. That is fine.

  • #643543
    This beautiful thread on traditional dress of Tamil girls is being transformed to the objectification of women. I think people should first object to thousands of advertisements all over the world where women are projected as objects of lust. This simple thread must be left alone.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #643544
    Madam one more thing. You have mentioned that your child studied at Tiruchirapalli, This also happens to be my home town, where I had lived for a good part of my life. Perhaps, if you had seen around, there are still hundreds of girls, who would happily be dressed only in half saris. It is more of a culture here, possibly because Tiruchirapalli has a big agricultural base and except for BHEL, there is nothing worth calling industry in that city.

    However, this also co-exists with the other types of dresses. For example, you can even see a growing number wearing jeans. This happens naturally. No one is really bothered.

    Go over to Coimbatore city. You are very unlikely to see the half sari at all. It is an ultra modern city. It is becoming cosmopolitan too. It is a lovely city, far more advanced than Tiruchirapalli and has a huge industrial culture. It does not even have many Brahmin families. Yet, there are hundreds who belong to other communities. The girls are all educated. Hundreds of thousands come to educate themselves from Kerala too. For your information, at least one hundred and fifty arts and science colleges would be there in and around Coimbatore.

    In fact, I had even talked about about the social reform brought about through reservation in Tamil Nadu, by the DMK Government and Dr Kalignar Karunanidhi, today, in another thread. At least two members have expressed a different opinion. I would of course stick to mine. I know for a fact that the social reform of reservation has actually helped hundreds of thousands of backward and the so-called backward students to study. To even study post graduate courses and go abroad. All this has happened only due to social reform.

    Yes, culture is never static. When it changes, we need to embrace the change too. However, I do not have any right to say that some aspect of culture itself is wrong. I can appreciate my culture and will continue to do so. Men or women, everything is the same. In fact, the women outdo the men in every competitive examination at all levels in Tamil Nadu. There is no gender bias at all. That is my opinion.

  • #643546
    I tend to agree with other members that this thread has been misconstrued. The main text of the thread is a simple one, speaking about a traditional form of attire, that it still exists. Where is the objectification of girls in it, I could not fathom. So what if the attire of men at the function were not mentioned? Simply because the author does not do so does not imply that he is objectifying girls. Do we really need to dissect the topic in this fashion? Hereon, everyone is requested to stick to the topic mentioned of the traditional attire observed at a function, please.

    Note to Saji - it would be good to avoid classifying members as being from a particular region. We have repeatedly told members to consider people as, well, just people, not put them into boxes with labels of regions, communities, religion, etc. That comment of yours was definitely not required.

    (Footnote - Also, I do recall threads on men's attire; one was about office wear if I am not wrong.)

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)

  • #643555
    ABSivakumar,

    We are all individuals with a mind of our own. You do not have to agree with me. However, this is not about culture, not about being Brahmin or being Christian. It is not about whom people choose to marry. It is not about what your son and daughter choose to do. It is not about BHEL, Trichy or Coimbatore.

    What women choose to wear is their wish, they may do it for any reason. But, let us not objectify them for their choice of clothes. Let us discuss their achievements and salute those.

    Vandana,
    You can agree with the members, but that doesn't make you or the others right.

    I see it as objectification and have given my reasons. Do we really need to dissect the topic in this fashion, you ask. Why not? Why are you reluctant to have another opinion? You have dissected my comments without properly understanding what is stated, instead of giving your views on why you think it is not objectification of women.

    We treat young girls differently, we teach them to look attractive – I feel the focus should be on their talents and achievements. Everything else is superficial.

    What have you proven through your footnote? My statement was about men following traditions and keeping the culture alive. You misconstrued my comment.

    Also, it is unfair to have your say and request that others stick to the topic.

    “You painted a naked woman because you enjoyed looking at her, put a mirror in her hand and you called the painting “Vanity,” thus morally condemning the woman whose nakedness you had depicted for your own pleasure.” - John Berger

  • #643567
    "You have dissected my comments without properly understanding what is stated" - doesn't this apply to you, as well?! If you had wished to talk about the objectification of women, you could have raised a separate thread on it and given a link to this thread as a reference. Why take this thread on to a separate tangent? That is why I said to stick to the topic of this thread.

    Since the core topic has gone totally off-base, it would be best to close this thread now.

    When people come at you with their worst, you should come at them with your best (advice given to Selena Gomez by her mother, quoted in Time magazine.)


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