St. Francis College for Women, one of the most prestigious colleges in Hyderabad, took policing women’s clothes to a whole new level when girls were stopped outside at the gates, to be inspected and prodded by rough female security guards who determined whether their kurti was long enough.
All of this started when the college issued a new dress code that took effect from August 1. It requires the kurtis to be of knee-length or longer. The students were threatened with suspension over the issue of this supposed indecency.
Many students and alumni have spoken against this new bizarre rule that’s just a way to suffocate women and take away their choices.
A former student, Zenobia Tumbi in her Facebook post commented on how the girls were humiliated and made to stand outside just because their kurti was an inch short. To me, this sounds like harassment and intimidation.
Ramya an undergraduate student said “People are getting angrier by the minute. We didn’t want anyone to touch us. Now, the management is okay with these people behaving with us the way they are. And they believe it’s okay because it’s a woman and not a male security guard, so they can do that.”
Not everyone is capable of buying new clothes just because a new rule demands they dress a certain way. This will place a financial burden on students who should be concentrating on their studies and not worrying about their clothes every day. Will the college pay for their clothing expenses?
Ramya expressed her concern over this matter saying “this rule was brought in mid-year, and some students did not have the financial ability to buy a new wardrobe that conformed to the new rules”.
Not a single girl who was stopped outside displayed much skin and could be deemed inappropriate. So, this move is disgusting and unnecessary.
Also Read: DU Professor Lectures Girls On Dressing Properly, Connects The Way We Dress To Dignity And Status
The Hypocrisy Of The College
When the college that claims to empower women, does something that will strip away a woman’s autonomy over the most fickle matter of clothes, it points to the college management being hypocritical and being run by people with outdated beliefs.
The principal’s sister Sandra Horta is seen judging the girls’ kurtis in a video on Instagram.
Other horrific details in the college’s tyrannical regime include students being checked for their kurtis in classes by their teachers and being denied attendance if their dresses were not proper.
The degradation continues as their parents are made to apologise for their “crimes.”
The Marriage Proposal Claim
St. Francis College thinks that a woman’s ultimate purpose in life is to obtain an advantageous marriage proposal. Studying and college degree just serve as leverage to make her a more worthy option as a “suitable bride”.
She can’t have other dreams and aspirations. Instead of removing the rusty fetters on women they are doing the opposite by insisting that this ban will help the girls in matrimony and what more could a girl desire, right?
Narrow-Mindset Of Society
Anytime we see a glimpse of a bra strap the woman is immediately marked as a whore. She must be doing it on purpose to get male attention. We are a country that blames the victim for her rape, as she was inviting the men with her skimpy outfit.
This is the same mentality being adopted by the college now. If a man’s intention is wrong he won’t stop even if the woman is covered in drapes. This stupid reasoning needs to go away.
Dress-Code Not Imposed On Boys In Other Colleges
Strict dress codes like in St. Francis are prevalent everywhere. But men don’t suffer the same restrictions that women have to follow through. At best they could be asked to wear a shirt instead of a t-shirt, but in women’s cases wearing any western attire is blasphemy.
If women are to wear traditional Indian garments then its only fair that the men wear dhoti-kurta or a kurta-pajama. I bet they can’t take five steps in it.
What Can We Do?
There is an uproar over this issue on social media. A student from the college commented “We can’t watch their internalized patriarchy ruin our college years by dictating our lifestyles. We cannot be humiliated every day as it is toxic.”
This will gain more momentum in the coming days as the students of St. Francis plan to raise a protest against this on Monday. Other colleges could follow suit and who knows we might just change these strict regulations.
Tell us about your feelings/thoughts on this issue. Was St. Francis College right in doing what they did?
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