Thursday, August 20, 2009

Why Should Bikini be a Big Deal?

Why Should Bikini be a Big Deal? Says not I but a current Indian Beauty Queen contesting at an International Beauty Pageant. It got me thinking. I wear westerns and in many settings like a hot summer day, prefer them over traditional Indian wear.
But this particular statement accompanied by a picture of the Beauty Queen in a Bikini did not appeal to my rationality. Because the thought that popped into my head was that its not a big deal but totally unnecessary, definitely. Why should a Pageant which claims to evaluate one's 'inner'and 'outer' beauty within a couple of weeks and a couple or more of a round of questions even attempt to justify bikini clad women strutting in high heels as a test of physical beauty and inner strength.
The thought of a man or a woman trying to prove their over all appeal simply by shedding their clothes in front of millions is pitiable. A voyeuristic society lapping it all up and celebrating it is sad but not surprising.

It is not a sin to wear what one 'likes' wear. But "Prasangochitam Vesham Kuryaat" The clothes we wear should respect the situation we are in.
I went to the temple the other day and there were many women in western outfits, which is not a problem at all. COmfortable and clean should be the Mantra. But as soon as I sat down in a corner to concentrate I was confronted by this awful vision.... a beige underwear clad behind peeping out of a low waist jeans. First I was horrified for myself and more for the person putting on that 'free show'. This was followed by embarrassment, pity and a little anger. As far as concentration goes...for a mere mortal like me it went Kaput!
Prasangochitam Vesham Kuryaat. Your clothes should do justice to the situation you are in.
In such clothes I would not achieve what I have come for, in the temple....hopefully to concentrate and reflect and feel at peace. As someone forced to witness such an exhibition, I would rather not see, if see it at all, in such a setting. Besides the fact that my 2 year old shouting loudly "nangu-nangu" in a Temple is distracting as well as dig-a-hole-and-bury-myself-in kinda embarrassing. Unnecessary, totally unnecessary.

What should one wear is not a struggle I hope to get into with a school going child. The Ashram Vyavstha is a Vedic way of Life and it allows one to concentrate and do full justice to each stage of life. A student who is wasting time and energy thinking about his appearance and its affect on others means a student who will certainly not be performing to his/her potential. The Clothing Industry and the Retail World are happy with Public Schools having no concept of Uniforms (in the US). But when you watch the school goers sauntering into the school you have to remind yourself that they are teenagers (or even younger) who have come to this esteemed institution of Learning for the sole purpose of educating themselves. What and how much are they learning I ask myself, as they discuss the latest fashions, adjust their low waisted jeans and form cliques based on best and worst dressed, all in between the classes?
A 13 year old looks best being a 13 year old. Carefree and above the concerns of outer appearances. His/her only Dharam being that of a Brahmacharya...a Vidyarthi(student) on a quest for knowledge. A 10 year old should not be thinking about nail paints and cell phones and sex. Somethings are natural but that is where we are different from animals. We should know better that there is an age and a way to do things. Modest and clean in terms of behavior and dressing will only aid the environment of learning.

We should not lose our ability to rationally view what helps us and others be their best at every age and situation. Freedom within rational boundaries is beneficial and beautiful. Unharnessed,it has the power to be damaging.

Prasangochitam Vesham Kuryaat


Piper .. said...

I see no problems with a swimwear round in beauty pageants. After all, it is a contest of physical beauty with inner strength. The swinwear round merely tests the physical attributes of the contestants. You and I may not be comfortable parading in underwear but the contestants may just be. After all, it is a qstn of one`s comfort level, isnt it?
Having said that, I`d also like to say that dressing appropriately is perhaps a wise thing - both of the dresser and as well as the observer`s comfort level. But if I am the kinds who`s at ease by raising a few eyebrows with my gear, well, so be it! Each one to his own.
I know of people who objected to my wearing a jeans and a tee for my dad`s funeral. You would too, I`m sure(Prasangochitam Vesham Kuryaat). BUt I was comfortable. Because it was easy to run around.It wasnt 'appropriate' by standards set by an Indian society. But it was comfortable for me. So you see, what I really think is that there can be no universal rules to a dress code.
A well written post,Chrysalis. I have yet to catch up with the other ones you`ve written. Have been insanely busy.

Kislay said...

I hate beauty pageants . I think it is a front for the Fashion and Cosmetic Industry , to push up their sales . And of lately , lesser developed countries have more winners , as they are emerging markets .

I am wondering as to how can I person walk into a temple with underwear on display ? It is not even about the unspoken rules that society has set . It is more about the individual thought . If you respect or revere something , wouldn't you try and act in accordance with your feelings ? It is like eating in the toilet , or relieving oneself in the kitchen .

Chrysalis said...

Piper: I dont like the swimsuit round because I am thankful for having been born a human and more so for being born a woman...I see no respect or reverence for the woman either in the swimsuit round or in the patronizing and artificial question rounds. The whole concept is illogical and depraved to me.
There is a differnce in being comfortable and being appropriately dressed. If a man is attending a shok sabha and is dressed in low slung shorts, dirty t-shirt...he is distracting...he is taking away from the Sabha...if people stop reflecting on the deceased person's life and his qualities...its not worth it. I can put the 'I' to rest for sometime keeping the larger picture in mind.
Hence I don't think there is anything immoral in you wearing a T shirt or jeans for your Dad's funeral, but I think it was not worth it if you took away unnecessary attention from the task at hand and the emotions too.
This is a new me Piper...I would have had a different answer for you on this one if it was even 6 months back.

Kislay: Pageants are stupid to say the least and yes a commercial gimmick. It is disrespectful to the man and woman alike.

About how people can have their underwear on display in a is merely refelctive of a the current philosophy of I, Me,Myself...I will do what I 'like' with total disregard to everything else.

AnjuGandhi said...

ver well put of the criteria for selection in beauty pageants is physical assets. so body show in a bikini is quite relevant otherwise how would they flaunt their figure. but the zeal to win the crown makes people forget their values. few months back i met the father of one of the contestants of the leading beauty contest and he was discussing about the vital statictis of his daughter, that she still need to increase 1-2 inches here and loose 2 inches there. coming this from a father--- some how I could not digest this.
talking of Prasangochitam Vesham Kuryaat" yes i also believe in clothes as per the occasion.for an interview the candidtate will normally not go in jeans and a T. i suppose santity of the place and occasion should be maintained but then every one to their own views.
i do abhore the low waists jeans and the peeping underwear. it has become a fashion among many youngsters to show off their branded undies. and for this pupose they go out of their way to buy branded stuff.
values and morality has changed and people are comfortable in that

Vinod_Sharma said...

Viewing of women as commodities and as objects of pleasure are but natural developments when a society becomes very rich as a whole. America has taken this to a new level. The multi-billion dollar porn industry is one manifestation of it.

But, it is not something that is happening for the first time in history. It has been happening since the dawn of civilisation. Earlier, it used be the royalty and nobility that indulged in these pleasures, in the privacy of their pleasure houses. Today, the whole thing has become "democratised" and even the ordinary man can, in some manner or the other,indulge in it.

Womens' Liberation has, at one level, become an intellectual fig leaf that allows women to become like "men" and take part in this phenomenon as "active enjoyers".

Everything, including thongs showing above jeans, is but a natural development in a society that is going at full lick to exploit all sensory pleasures to their fullest.

BK Chowla said...

I find nothing wrong with bkini..why should anyone object to it.Beauty pageants are a differnt ball game.The contestant can not be judged if she is fully covered.Where else do they wear bikini?Swimming.
I think it is a state of mind.

D said...

I like your clarity of thought!

I don't see a problem with the swimwear round in pageants as long as the contestants don't have a problem participating in it. Personally, I may find it a little over the top and not beautiful because there's far more beauty in that which is not revealed than which is strutted brazenly. However, that is a personal opinion and I can always chose to not watch such shows.

But I totally agree with you on dressing appropriately for a place and an occasion. And there can hopefully be a balance between what is comfortable and what is appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I don't have an issue with the swimwear round in a beauty pageant. Well, I don't personally agree with the concept and the criteria of judging 'beauty' in such contests - but then, I don't like them, so I don't follow them. People who do participate - have no issues, so why not?

As for dressing according to occasions - I agree. I would not go to a job interview in a bank wearing casuals, but I will, if I were applying to be a gardener.
You know, even in the Vatican, shorts and short skirts are not allowed. When we went there, I was wearing a skirt - but it was a knee length one - so it was ok. Anything shorter is not allowed.

manju said...

Can't say anything that hasn't already been said about the bikinis!

But I have to say that those claims of beauty pageants judging "inner and outer beauty"- is a joke!

When every other contestant wants to be "like Mother Teresa" (I wonder if they even know who Mother Teresa was?) and when their idea of social work is to take pictures of glaciers, I certainly don't see any inner beauty! :)

Renu said...

It is not a sin to wear what one 'likes' wear. But "Prasangochitam Vesham Kuryaat" The clothes we wear should respect the situation we are in.........I totally agree to that.

I see many girls around 11-12 dressing up like grownups with all the accessories and dressing style, and they look so ridiculous to me.

Dressing according to the occasion and personality or age.that is the mantra for me...Comfort is always the all time necessity.

These paegents are a real farce, they neither look for inner nor physical beauty..those routine questions with rehearsed answers dont make them intelligent.

Chrysalis said...

Anju Ji: The incident you have mentioned reminds me of the famous American pop star Jessica Simpson's father saying "My daughter is hot! She is a 36DD " There is no end to this kind of test of beauty.

Vinod Ji: I agree with all that you say. There are periods of total renunciation and absolute consumption or Bhog throughout the times. We are at a point were Consumption and Bhog is at its peak ...actually may even go to greater heights.
And Yes I think women's 'liberation' being equated to women being just like what spells doom for all and the woman especially...

Chowla Ji: Bikini as an apparel is not my issue here. I may not like it because it does not appeal to my aesthetic sense but others may like it for the very same reasons. But what are these beauty queens being judged aquiline nose, high cheekbones...and if we are judging the body ...might as well do away with the else can we do justice to a test of physical beauty?

Chrysalis said...

D: "I may find it a little over the top and not beautiful because there's far more beauty in that which is not revealed than which is strutted brazenly."

You echo my thoughts. I do not watch this show and avoid TV altogether. But I am against the concept of these pageants as well. I may be old enough to see the foolishness behind it but how do you explain it to a 10 year old girl who is asked to remember the names of the Beauty Queens (GK) and she grows up thinking...popularity and fame is all about the way you look and the in your face sexuality.

Smitha: As I said above, think of our daughters taking of one of these women as a role model...who struts in a bikini and high heels????? such a typical stereotype of the perverted male fantasy....I dread the day when I tell her its foolish and insulting to a woman and she comes back from school and says you are wrong teacher said she is a hero!!!!
Oh thanks about the info on the Vatican dress code....I can almost hear the hue and cry if our Temples came out with a clear and strict dress code. They would be labelled as communal, oppressive, women haters......

Chrysalis said...

Manju Ji: When every other contestant wants to be "like Mother Teresa" (I wonder if they even know who Mother Teresa was?) and when their idea of social work is to take pictures of glaciers, I certainly don't see any inner beauty! :)

LOL! Wannabe Mother Teresa's who are being judged for thier teeth and cup size!! The organizers of the show should be made to take the last bow in thongs and heels, I would love to see those beautiul brains behind it too!

Renu Ji: Yes these pageants are so shallow and anti-women. They commodify women.
About 11-12 year olds dressing 'up' and 30 year olds dressing 'down'..its a world wide phenomenon...I guess we are not happy in our own skins and not at peace with our beings.

Anrosh said...

parading in a bikni is as much naked as one can get to be judged on physical traits - beauty contests are judged on physical traits - PERIOD.

By law women can not get naked more than this ( isn't there a law that one can not show their nipples and other private parts)

with a oh so perfect body - even i would take a second look, a 3rd and a 4th look and i am not even gay.

i like uniforms in schools because it is a way to bring about equality among students who come from different classes of society.

I hold no value judgments wrt dress code - to each its own

Chrysalis said...

Anrosh : Good enough ..Beauty Contests are judged on physical traits...then the question rounds should be done away that some sort of an attempt to give it a different meaning from what it actually is?
Uniforms definitely bring about an egalitarian environment...but they do and are needed for more than that in my opinion.

Amrita said...

Well quite a post... I see no problem with a swim wear round, no other garment would bring out the vital stats better... and these pageants are about getting the best model to sell the stuff of the promoters... so - so be it

and yea about correct dressing, what you said is absolutely bang on. Pehno wohi jo jag ko bhaye was not said by a drunk idiot. We should hold the tempo of the occasion and the gathering in mind.

Anonymous said...

When I was in my tenth standard, my principal (who was teaching English in my class) asked everyone who didn't watch the Miss Universe pageant held the previous day to stand up and started shouting at the first guy who said it is immoral. (He let alone the other people who said they had some other work or had to go somewhere else). So, the next Miss Something, I sat down and watched it for the full show. Apart from being hopelessly immoral (I think he used the right word), it was extremely boring!

Having said that, the cricket/football matches also indulge in excessive match fixing (for commercial reasons) like how these fashion shows 'fix' the winners and places according to the wishes of the cosmetic industry. I don't know why, but the match fixing racket has never got the critisism it deserves!!

Destination Infinity