Women and their clothing choices have always been a topic of controversy for this society. No, wait. Actually, everything a woman does is discussed so passionately by people who have nothing to do with them that I believe mansplainers are forming a cult for these enlightening round table conferences. 

Well, these hot debates have come to the fore time and again. Because women are the izzat and lajja of a house, and the world, and the universe. They need to be dressed accordingly at all times. Period. 

Here are 10 times a woman’s worth was reduced to the clothes she wore. And it’s frustrating. 

1. When women wearing a hijab weren’t allowed to enter colleges.

In a recent controversy, women in degree colleges in Karnataka were barred from attending classes if they wore hijab. Many right-wing people protested against women entering educational institutes wearing a hijab. Not only did it create a religious polarisation in classrooms but also was an infringement of women’s right to dress up however they wish to.

Deccan Herald

2. When a CM said women wearing ripped jeans give out wrong message.

In 2021, Uttarakhand’s Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat made highly problematic comments on women’s fashion choices. Particularly targeting ripped jeans, Rawat said that women who wear “such clothes” give out a “wrong message” to society and children, furthermore calling the jeans “uncultured”. 

If such women go out in the society to meet people and solve their problems, what kind of message are we giving out to society, to our kids? It all starts at home. What we do, our kids follow. A child who is taught the right culture at home, no matter how modern he becomes, will never fail in life.

-Uttarakhand CM Tirath Singh Rawat

India Today

3. When female NEET candidates were forced to remove their clothes. 

In 2017, the controversy of the bizarre dress code by the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) made headlines. Reportedly, female candidates were forced to remove their jeans, tops, hair clips and even bras before taking the test, owing to the presence of metal buttons or clipping in the items as an ‘anti-cheating’ practice. Parents alleged that churidar tops below the knees were cut, sleeves chopped and heels and shoes were not permissible.  

The Hindu

4. When a women’s Olympics team was fined for wearing non-sexualized uniforms. 

In the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Norway’s women’s beach handball team was fined over their decision to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a game. The overt sexualization of women’s sports uniforms in the Olympics has been a topic of heated debate, where women are required to wear bikini bottoms and midriff tops, while men can comfortably play in shorts and tank tops. However, in a rare win, the women’s dress code was later revised.

TRT World

5. When Deepika Padukone was targeted for wearing “tiny clothes” during promotional events. 

Influencer and copywriter Freddy Birdy trolled the female actors of the film Gehraiyaan for wearing “tiny clothes” during the promotional events of the movie. In an attempt to be ‘humorous’, Birdy targeted actor Deepika Padukone (for wearing what she wished) and later got in a row with her.


6. When a woman said that women wearing short clothes should be “raped”. 

In 2019, a viral argument erupted at a mall in Gurgaon where a woman confronted a young woman at a restaurant regarding the length of her dress. She even asked some men at a nearby table to “rape” her and her friends because of their clothing choices. Netizens were enraged at the moral policing the young women faced that wasn’t just highly inappropriate, but also, problematic to the core.

7. When a college printed out a dress code for female students to follow.

In 2015, a graduate college in Chennai, Sri Sairam Engineering College, invited flak as it released “guidelines” for female students to follow, which was highly misogynistic in all senses. The so-called exhaustive list included everything a female student shouldn’t wear, right from “leggings, tops, short kurtas, heels, hair colour, ‘loose hair hairdo’, or short dupatta”. Appalling in all senses.  

India Today

8. When women were permitted to enter their college based on the length of their kurtis. 

In another dress code controversy, St. Francis College in Hyderabad implemented an order in 2019 which mandated female students to wear kurtis below knee length. In a bizarre series of incidents, the students wearing kurtis even an inch above the knee weren’t permitted the enter the college premises. This moral policing furthered regressive patriarchy in society. 


9. When Priyanka Chopra was called out for wearing a knee-length when meeting PM Narendra Modi.

In 2017, Priyanka Chopra met PM Narendra Modi in Berlin, and she did that wearing a dress. People targeted her the moment the pictures came out and trolled her for “showing her legs” in front of the Prime Minister because PeeCee wasn’t sanskaari enough.

India Today

10. When Samyukta Hegde was harassed by a woman while working out in ‘inappropriate’ attire.

The actor took to her social media handles to share an incident where she was publically abused and threatened by another woman for working out in a sports bra. Over 10 boys joined the woman in hurling abuses at Samyukta and her friend, threatening to book her in a drug scandal. 

These are just a handful of cases that got the attention of the public. But the sad reality is, women are judged for their clothing choices more times than we can count. When will we get over this obsession with what a woman chooses to wear?