Review-Style Audit by Jaina Lalbhai

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‘Style Audit by Jaina Lalbhai’ – a unique pop-up curation has been making some noise in the fashion circles since last two months in the city. As one would have guessed from the name, Ms.Jaina Lalbhai is the aesthete and curator at the back of this emerging PopUp Shows. I first saw Jaina’s Style Audit posts through a common friend who had modeled for the shoot. I was bowled over by the attention to detailing that was paid to Photo shoots for their upcoming ‘PopUp Show’. The maiden show introduced unstructured silhouettes in breathable cottons along with stunning bohemian silver jewellery to the Ahmedabad market.

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Having tasted success in her maiden show, Jaina organized her second exhibit today at Traveler’s Home with an eclectic collection of casual and fun brands. Her curation skills definitely need to be applauded as she brings in the luxe casual brands to the fashionistas in Ahmedabad.

So here is my take on today’s ‘The Style Audit PopUP – Eclectic Minimalism’
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I loved the classic minimalism of Poorvi, a Bollywood designer & stylist, who has dressed celebrities like Sonam Kapoor in elegant whites and blacks. Trendy & unstructured silhouettes are her forte that she tries blending in while creating urban work wear apparels. Black & white ruled her collection with intermittent burst of pinstripes and colour pop ups. From tunics to shirts & cover-ups, one could easily find their own classic essentials. To team up these tops,there were culottes in blacks, greys and browns. The price bracket was between 3000 and 8000 INR thus placing it in the range of luxury casuals.

KaSha

This brand at the PopUP show earned the status of eclectic label. Pronounced in Hindi as Ka-sh, Karishma Shahani Khan from Pune has experimented in clamp dye techniques while delving in sustainable fashion. Bright splash of citrus colours dominated the collection in lemon yellow, lime green, deep red and blue shades. One could layer the cotton tunics in breezy fits with long skirts and style it either with bolero in monochrome colours. Alternatively one could opt for the beautiful tasseled scarves from their bright spirited collection.

A bohemian take on the handcrafted resurgence in sustainable cotton wear, Kasha was priced between INR 7000 to 15000 . The scarves started from 3000 onward. A hefty sum but well worth for the ones who drool on sustainable fashion in handlooms.

The Meraki Project

If quirky casuals are your thing, then do browse through The Meraki Project collection. Themed on Ikat weaves and earthy colours, the collection showcased in Ahmedabad had the most beautiful day dresses in ivory, blue and salmon pink. Sonal Pamnani of The Meraki Project believes in creating stories with each design and aims at collaborative production. Besides casual dresses, they also stocked up on tunics, jackets and tops for this exhibit.

The solid coloured collection had interesting design and contrast detailing that gave it an eclectic feel.
Priced between INR 6500 to 8000, it definitely fell in luxury casuals as far as Ahmedabad standard goes. If quirky and boho-chic is your style, then go for it.

Rengge & Dhora

For those who love accessorizing , Rengge and Dhora were two different brands that kind of stole the show. Boho chic jewellery of Rengge in silver metal will be the perfect buy for this season’s Navratri. If you love styling your casuals in a quirky way, opt for this silver treasure starting from INR 3000 onwards. Do check out this emerging brand on Facebook and order your piece today before they shoot their prices through the roof.

Dhora had delicate jewellery in matte gold effect with interesting motifs of animal kingdom. They had stacked up on long chains, black choker pieces along with leather bracelet cuffs. Spotted on celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Dhora is one brand to watch out for if you like eclectic minimalism. However, I felt the design was similar on the lines of Eina Ahluwalia’s aesthetic sensibilities.

Priced modestly from INR 2000 onwards, this line sold like hotcakes at the exhibit.

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For the Shoe lovers, there were a few in Ikat fabric from KaSha, but I would say they were obnoxiously priced at base rate starting from INR 7500. I would definitely give it a miss given the pricing and the fabric make.

Since I have attended both the exhibits by Jaina Lalbhai, it is safe to say that if you have a luxe taste in fashion, then do make it a point to attend her exhibits in future. You will be in for surprise every single time.

Until next blog.

Needle by Shefali & Khushali

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Indian Textiles have become uber trendy and in vogue since past few months. The designers across the country are actively on the revival mode of ‘Indian Fabric and Crafts’, good for the local weavers and artisans for sure. ‘Handcrafted’ and ‘Organic’ are the current flavour of the Fashion world.Amidst the clutter of the burgeoning fashion brands, I chance encountered this home-grown label called ‘Needle’ in Ahmedabad.

What caught my attention was the minimalist design element in ‘Needle’ along with the use of words.On inquiring further, I came across Shefali, Co-founder of Needle, who apparently is an engineer now turned into a copy-writer after studying at MICA.

She along with her sister Khushali co-founded the brand ‘Needle’- a brand that consciously uses only Indian textiles while giving contemporary silhouettes to create the freshness in each line.

In an exclusive interaction with Shefali, we got to know about their brand philosophy, their take on ‘Make in India’ initiative and ‘Plagiarism’.

Read on to know more about them…

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1. Can you elaborate on the Origins of ‘Needle’?

Needle is a collective of writers, designers and craftsmen trying to stitch the versatility of traditional crafts with contemporary designs, but in vogue.

Traditional crafts have lost relevance due to globalization. And just like the crafts, craftsmen too are facing serious challenges trying to keep pace with modernization. Needle is trying to help these craftsmen do what they do best – make handcrafted goods of the finest quality.

2 So who is the team behind Needle ?

Two mad sisters and a bunch of extremely talented artists is what Needle comprises. An engineer cum writer from MICA ( Shefali) and an MBA grad from NIRMA (Khushali) decided to come up with Needle while waiting outside a trial room. They saw cloned branded closets roaming around them and decided to come up with something that’ll be exclusive, something stylish, and something that’s Indian.

Since then, from turning a concept into a design, from choosing the materials to final production, either or sometimes, every part of our process is handcrafted. Every artisan writes his part of the story and passes it to the other. In the end, all the stories combine to form a unique story – a unique product.

3. What is the Needle audience like?

We would not like to limit ourselves with any particular age/style/group. Needle does not promote any fashion or tradition; it’s promoting a belief, a belief of being different, a belief of making a difference. Anyone and everyone who believes the same is our clientele.

4. How often do you create new lines – twice a year, more or is it bespoke?

Since we customise products for our clients, something new is being handcrafted almost every week.  However, for freshness sake, we keep updating our product line every two months.

5. What is the inspiration for your latest range of ‘Needle’?

Our inspiration behind our new collection was simple – it’s not just a dress. It’s a lot more. And it has to be perfect. Imagine, the first impression that one will make when they meet you wearing that dress. It’ll be your travel companion, a part of your memories and more than anything, a company that’ll be with you when you find love, adventure or happiness. It’s never just a dress.

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6. What is the philosophy behind the fabrics and colours used in this line?

We only use naturally dyed fabrics. Sometimes we select a design-block that is prepared by our craftsmen, sometimes we give him our design-blocks to print. Like we said, it’s a process where we collaborate to create products that would not just appeal to the buyer, but also allow these craftsmen to view their craft in a completely unique way.

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7. What are your views on the ‘Make in India’ campaign and ‘Revival of handlooms’ by the government?

Traditional textiles have lost relevance due to globalization. We, in whatever way we can, wish and are working towards bringing back the love for traditional textiles.

8. What are your views on ‘Inspiration led Plagiarism’ that is rampant in design sector?

It’s evident and can hardly be controlled. We take it as a form of flattery though. Like it’s said, original is original, a copy is always a copy. Let the client decide what he/she wishes to promote.

9. Where can the customers buy your products from? 

We are coming up with a store in Ahmadabad shortly. Otherwise one can always write to us about what they wish to buy at helloneedle@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/studioneedle
It’s important we talk with our clients to hear their preferences while customizing their products. Once we agree, they make the payment and we courier them their product.

10. Hollywood or Bollywood?

Without a doubt, Bollywood.

11. Classy chic or Quirky fun?

A bit of both.

12.Luxury cruise in Monaco or adventurous moon watching in Mawsynram?

Adventurous moon walking, there’s a better chance of finding life there.

13.Vintage charm or Futuristic?

Vintage charm.

14.Mainstream or offbeat or offbeat mainstream?

No mainstream. Strictly offbeat. It’s tough but we believe that whatever we create needs to have a something offbeat about it.

15.Dog lover or cat lover?

Elephant lover to be precise. Otherwise animal lovers in general.

In addition to apparels, Needle also customizes bags and shoes for those who are interested in their bespoke-wear.

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Hope you liked what you saw here. In case traditional textile and contemporary silhouette is your thing, do look out for these two sister led brand Needle on Facebook.

My two penny as a Stylist and Trend Spotter

Traditional fabrics and handlooms as the base for Fashion will still go on for a year or two more. The designers will then have to evolve beyond the block prints and ikats. Everyone looks for something fresh and new. As of now, the traditional fabrics and prints are done to death. For those of you who follow the blog regularly, be with me and lets see if this forecast holds true in coming years🙂

See you soon with another update, till then, Keep it Stylish🙂

 

3 Reasons why you should go to the Worlds’ Largest Potluck Party in Ahmedabad

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If you are an Amdavadi or have ever stayed in Ahmedabad, you know how much people talk about food.

Be it Honest’s Pavbhaji or Jassuben’s pizza, be it Jaibhavani’s vada-pav or Shambhu’s cold coffee, be it Freezeland’s sandwich or RK’s surti Gotala, be it Shivranjini wali Panipuri or Das na Khaman, be it Chandravilas’ jalebi or Havmore’s Chole kulcha – everyone has tried it atleast once in their lifetime, mostly.

(It is a different story that anything that is sprinkled with a healthy dose of Cheese becomes the best dish in town!)

These Amdavadis, known for their love for food, are taking this bizarre obsession to a new level.

They are planning to create a world record of the largest number of people gathered together for a “Potluck Party” in the Guinness Book of World Records.  Heading this mammoth event are Esha Shah and Rohan Bhatt, Founders of Foodaholics in Ahmedabad, an online community that is bonded together for their love of food.

It is not just any ordinary community mind you people.  It is a thriving community of more than 34,000+ food-lovers who share their feedbacks and suggestions of any eatery in Ahmedabad. They eat, breathe and talk food. It is one of the most engaging communities that you will come across in the recent times. In the times of digital age where such communities are sought after by the advertisers and marketers, this group has remained clean of any such associations.

So if you are in Ahmedabad on 12th June, you have to go to this ‘World’s Largest Potluck Party’ and I will give you three credible reasons to do so.

  1. Be a Part of History

You belong to this crazy hot city called Ahmedabad that lives on food, literally, and you still haven’t registered for this largest Potluck party?

You are definitely missing out on the stories that you could share with your future generation.

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  1. Flaunt your inner Chef

 Awaken the Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver in you.

Flaunt your Italian Risotto or the Pasta with mushroom garlic and thyme or a quadruple chocolate loaf. If nothing else, cook your very special “2 minutes Maggi” in your own style and get it.

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  1. Get 100 likes on Instagram

Put on your latest haul from the Spring-Summer 2016’s latest collection and start clicking the pictures. You don’t want to miss out on the trending hashtags of the day, do you? #operationpotluck  #ootd  #foodporn  #foodaholicsinahmedabad

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And for those of you, who didn’t get the millennial tone, just go there to witness the sheer magic of more than 1500+ people who would be there to share their food and the love for it, all this to create a ‘World Record’ in Ahmedabad.

Try not to miss this one.

The details of the ‘World’s Largest Potluck Party’ are below:

DAY : Sunday

DATE : 12th  June, 2016

TIME : 6:00 pm Onwards (Entry closes at sharp 7:00 pm)

VENUE : Aangan Party Plot, Satellite,

Ahmedabad.

So,will I see you there?

 

 

Weekend Window : The Happiest Flea Market in Ahmedabad

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What started as an outdoor bazaar in Paris and  termed as “Flea Market”(literal translation of the French marche aux puces,  named after those pesky little parasites that infested the upholstery of old furniture brought out for sale) is now an upscale urban affair in India.

While earlier all cities in India had their own share of ‘Shukrawari’ or ‘Resale Market’,the concept of urban ‘Flea Markets’ started taking shape in India around 2010, mostly in metros like Mumbai and Bangalore. The idea of the modern-day ‘Flea Market’ is to provide an experiential shopping atmosphere.

How could the entrepreneurial ‘Gujju land’ be left behind?

2013 saw the rise of first of its kind of urban markets in Ahmedabad in the form of ‘Weekend Window’– a carnival experience designed and curated by Meera Ambasana Shah and Harshit Shah. They  ‘Weekend Window’ as a classy answer to the  famously blingy Grand Rakhi Melas that were set in the city’s shopping space.

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Meera Ambasana Shah & Harshit Shah – Founders, Weekend Window

Neither Meera nor Harshit have any formal education in arts or design background, however they have a sharp business acumen to curate the right emerging brands for the novelty of the shoppers. They tapped in the potential of starting the culture of ‘Carnival experience’ in Ahmedabad from their frequent travels across the country and abroad. Having witnessed night markets in Goa and Bangkok where one could find niche & limited edition products from budding artists, the duo felt that Ahmedabad has none of this kind of experience.

An idea that originated from travel expeditions got its first taste of success in its maiden edition in 2013.From 14 brands exhibiting in its first season to now 140 brands in its 9th season, Weekend Window has come a long way. There are exhibitors coming from around 20 cities in this edition, quite a feat, I say. They still travel to the exhibitions across the country to understand the trends in this space and keep innovating to maintain the freshness of the concept.

Those exhibitors who had exhibited in the earlier editions have still stuck on to this ‘High end Happiest Flea market’ in Ahmedabad.

Quality speaks.

Collaboration is the key to modern-day success. No wonder then that in this 9th edition, Ahmedabad would witness a ‘Grand Season’ with associations like Foodaholics in Ahmedabad and Comedy Factory. There would be a ‘Kids corner’, ‘Foodie zone’, ‘Entertainment zone’ and few workshops to keep audience from all age groups interested.

Where :Karnavati Club lawns, S.G Highway, Ahmedabad, Gujarat

When: 13th -15th May 2016

Time: 4.00 pm until midnight ( I guess it means till 11.00 pm)

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So as an Aesthete & Stylist, what do I recommend checking?

Go check these brands and tell me if you like them as much as I do:

  1. CHHAPA 
  2. CHAMBRAY & CO.
  3. DESIGNERDS ( Accessories)
  4. KASTURI
  5. FLEUR ( Bath & body products)
  6. RESHA
  7. BOB FRAGNOIL ( Oil based perfumes)
  8. BROWNFOLDS ( Paper products)
  9. KRITHAA
  10. THE GLU AFFAIR
  11. KHADIVASTRA
  12. ADVAITA
  13. THE CO COMPANY
  14. ALL GOOD SCENTS ( Perfumes)
  15. AMODA
  16. NOYA
  17. Ri.An

So go ahead… its time to shop-explore-indulge !

 

‘Shackles of Society’ – Hashmita Khalsa

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All my life I have believed that “God made men and CREATED women.”

It is indeed a boon to be one. We frequently talk about gender equality and other such burning issues of the society. I believe, men and women complement each other. They are the YIN & YANG in the continuum of life. But I have also realized that not all of us are able to cherish this boon of who we are. It seems to be a gigantic task to uproot the age old mentality of the perceived bias in the gender space in our society. This definitely calls for a reality check.

We women, I believe, are the stronger gender. We have a compassionate heart that knows how to love. We do cry often and are courageous enough to accept our weakness. We are capable do anything that our mind can think of .Yes we can live all alone by ourselves. However we do not shy away from accepting the fact that we are incomplete without you. We do complement the other gender, don’t we?

I sincerely believe that both men and women complement and complete each other, with their strengths and weaknesses.

Women’s liberation and rights have been much talked about across the globe. However the situation is pretty much skewed still. While there are deliberations over women’s liberation and pledge for parity in one part of the world, a scared and lifeless Nirbhaya is breathing her last breath unable to comprehend the trauma that she just went through. While there are associations of women entrepreneurs and professionals advocating policies and solutions for equality at work-place, there are millions of women who are suffering from domestic violence and mental trauma. When a nation is celebrating the success of top women entrepreneurs, a small village in the hinterlands is celebrating the child marriage of 9 year old girl with 25 year old man.

Such is the dichotomy in the country.

What could be the possible reasons for such a high contrast in gender treatment?

The lack of education or the courage to stand up for oneself?
The stifling patriarchal system or the gender role conditioning?

Let me share a small story of Ira and Ravi, a modern day couple.

Ira was a charming & attractive girl who had weaved a few dreams of her own but had very little expectations from her family and society at large. She was lucky to have been born in a family that supported her dreams and let her fly high. All that she wanted for herself was good education so that she could support herself financially and be independent, always. Her confidence grew once her parents encouraged her to choose a non-conventional career over the stereotypical ones.

As the story unfolds, Ira gets married at the right marriageable age to Ravi.

She had barely met him twice and yet agreed to marry him. Maybe she felt he was right, maybe their families were known. She knew this would be a different phase of her life, away from the comfort of the known. Yet one never knows the degree of change that one might face after this phase of life.

It was barely one year of their marriage and misunderstandings started cropping up between the couple. Ira , the jubilant and cheerful one, was now battling depression owing to the discord between her and Ravi. In the course of years, Ravi’s business fell apart adding further responsibility of the family on Ira. Though their relationship was dead and lifeless, they brought in kids. Ira took upon her to provide for the family as the better half and contributed financially through her work. They were like room-mates, behaving as couple to please the family and society. While Ravi was a caring father, he was hardly bothered about the financials. Maybe lack of money didn’t bother him, but it bothered Ira that he wasn’t worried about future.

Day after day, she went through the same routine. Not because she was in love but only because she did not have the courage to walk out of this dead relation. Societal pressure of maintaining a marriage and the fear of public shaming stopped her from taking this step.
Who exactly was at fault here? No one in particular but just the situation and different mind sets.

I leave you with a question here.

Even in 2016, educated and enlightened women are still finding it difficult to live a life on their own terms for the fear of societal ridicule. They still stay in the institution of marriage, not because they want to, but because they have to. They are capable of providing for the family, they are accepting the role reversals too. However are men able to adjust with the role reversals in the modern society? 

Can the society , made of us all- men and women, give this very basic freedom to choose a healthy life of their own choice regardless of gender ?

( The Featured Image is an artwork by Wendy Carter)

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Hashmita Khalsa is an Image Consultant, Coach and Motivator at Pearl Images in Ahmedabad. Having studied Educational Psychology & Business Management, Hashmita loves to bring transition in people’s lives through her Image Consulting & training sessions. She loves reading, writing, styling and designing as well.

Ruby Jagrut on Gender Equality-‘Do it Yourself’

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When I was told to write about gender equality I was not very sure how to begin. I have lived a fairly good life with all the perks and privileges given to me just like how they would be given to my brother or husband.

However, when I look around the society I can vouch for it that being a woman; I have always gotten an edge over men. As women, we tend to live in two different worlds and can co-exist with men without having to prove superiority. The topic of gender equality thus keeps changing its meaning.

While there is a widespread issue of lack of knowledge of basic human rights, lack of opportunities for education and thereby resulting financial dependence, I am a firm believer of ‘Do it yourself’ principle.

The one who wants to fight it out would fight under in any circumstances.

To share with you from my personal experience in the family, my grandmother left her husband (My grandfather) in mid of 1940’s in order to move from the small village of Idar to a bigger city of dreams – Ahmedabad. Her sole agenda was to provide quality education to her four sons and improve their chances at fulfilling their dreams. My grandfather was a respectable zameendaar of this village. He did not want to get displaced from his comfort zone and let go off his respectable societal status by starting from scratch in the new city. My grandmother’s move was condemned not only by the family but also by the entire society. Remember it was 1940’s.

She started her life in Ahmedabad as a daily wager in a small coal factory and worked hard to provide education to her sons. It was only much later, that she was lauded by everyone for her grit and courage. She did bear the flak of the society initially, but she overcame all of this alone as she believed in herself and her dreams for her sons.

In the rural Indian scenario, women grow up listening to the sacrificial stories of Sita and Savitri. They are made to believe that it is virtuous to suffer and sacrifice for the greater good of men. I wonder why Draupadi is never quoted as an example. Why do we name our daughters Sita and Savitri but never Draupadi ?

Are we shy to accept the open talks about the polygamous status of Draupadi that is passed on in mythology? Are we afraid to admit that she questioned and yet lived in that society?

Are we conditioned to accept the virtuous over the courageous?

We belong to the society where Sita sacrificed her life for her virtue, where Radha’s playfulness was sung in the hymns and where self righteous Meera was poisoned.  All these characters have one thing in common – they all did what they felt was right, at that point and time. They believed in what they did and stood up for themselves.

In the current times, I feel disappointed when I see well educated women, who are aware about gender equality as a concept, measure their status in the society on the basis of the designer labels that their husbands provide for them. On one hand they talk about equality as one of the fads, and on the other hand they are fine being subjugated to patriarchal norms of a well-off family.

In my opinion, men and women can never be compared. They both are different, meant to complement, not compete.

As a mother of two daughters, I do know for sure, I will stand up for my rights, not only as a woman but as a human and be a living example of strength for my daughters. I wish a society in which women have the strength to believe in themselves and stand up for their rights.

 

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Ruby Jagrut is a prolific contemporary artist & painter based out of Ahmedabad who has used the techniques of Natural Dyeing, a rare medium that is on the verge of extinction, as the only medium for her magnificent works. She promotes and encourages the ‘Natural Dyes’ as a medium to express her creativity. In other life, exuberant and vivacious Ruby loves coffee, conversations & sarees.

 

A Liberal Arts Student’s perspective -Gender Policing

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I’ve gone through life being confused about gender equality and women empowerment, often using the word interchangeably.

Until recently, I believed that empowering women would be the only way of achieving gender equality. I’ve come to realize I was wrong. Suppression of the womenfolk has made these terms synonymous but there is another side to the story which is often sidelined. Gender is something that should not be taken into consideration when it comes to rights, freedoms and opportunities, but unfortunately this is not the case. We constantly see discrimination, and participate in it ourselves, unknowingly.

Here forth I have taken the liberty of generalizing.

Generally, women in India are treated inferior to men, and face numerous challenges both from their families and the society. Problems range from something as small as not being able to wear the dress a woman likes because it is “too short” and attracts the wrong kind of attention, to almost inevitably being groped by disrespectful men in a crowded place, from not being able to study beyond a certain degree, to being married of to another family because “what will people say?”.

The question we have to ask ourselves here is, what gives men this idea that they can touch someone else intimately without their consent and get away with it? What makes families believe that after a certain age women are considered “un-marriageable”?

I believe it trickles down to the false sense of superiority that patriarchy awards the masculine gender. It all comes down to a sense of power, which in the Indian patriarchy lies with men.

Here I want to bring to light the flip side of the coin. Patriarchy, not only suppresses women, it also preys on men. The amount of pressure put on a man to be the “bread earner” is ridiculous. Until very recently, it was considered a man’s duty to maintain his parents after his marriage, a man had to dress a certain way and behave a certain way to be accepted by society.

This is where the concept of Gender Policing comes in, a concept which is very important for us in order to achieve clarity in understanding Gender Equality.

A lot of people think of gender policing as limiting the male and female gender to traditional gender roles, thus alienating the LGBT Community but I’d like to think of it as more. Gender policing is typically the imposition of traditional gender roles based on the perceived sex of the individual, where you see a woman is called a “dyke” or a “lesbian” for wearing her hair short and a man is called a “coward” for displaying emotions.

What I mean is, where for women (in India) it is fine to stay at home and play the role of the homemaker, a man who does the same is ostracized and frowned upon. What is this but the imposition of gender roles?

Thus I’d like to conclude by saying that gender equality is the OMISSION of gender completely from the equation! It is for all genders to be respected and be given the freedom that they deserve, which will ultimately result in a better world.

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Arunima Dayanand is a student of Literature in English at Pandit Deendayal Petroleum University. She loves to read, write and hit the snooze button whenever she has the opportunity.

She loves cats. And dogs.

And when it rains cats and dogs.