Note: Names have been changed to protect the identities.
When my friend Riddhi, who identifies as bisexual, met her boyfriend Rohan’s family for the first time, they were in for a shock! What happens next will put a smile on your face.
Rohan’s family was a little surprised at first with how well-dressed and feminine she looked. They somewhere thought Riddhi would have tattoos, wear baggy or flashy clothes, and may even wear gothic makeup.
While they couldn’t directly speak with her about it, they would often unknowingly bring up “but how amazing of a woman you are! I’m glad you will be a part of our family traditions” or “I’m so glad you chose my son for a partner,” making Riddhi and Rohan, both uncomfortable in their shoes.
Later Rohan confirmed with Riddhi that those compliments were indeed hinting at her sexuality.
Over the years, Riddhi has gotten used to such comments, but this time, she couldn’t help but feel sad, uncomfortable, and misunderstood.
While the family absolutely loved her, Riddhi was not sure if her orientation would sit well with them.
It has been years, and today, Riddhi has a healthy relationship with Rohan’s family & her sexual orientation is a thing of the past. They love her & are excited to see the love birds tie the knot!
The thing is, the older generation sees sexuality as something limited and well-defined. While they are doing their best to adapt to present society changes, acceptance, and the colors of sexualities possible, they still have a constrained ideology of sexual representation in their heads.
Though the gender norms do not come with a rulebook, stereotyping is what makes the situation difficult and conversations awkward.
A few days back, one of my other friends, Anisha, who now identifies as pansexual, had a terrible time keeping up with the ‘dress like a girl’ scenario.
She was slowly being swept by depression without even realizing it. While Anisha would wear feminine clothes and try to blend in, in reality, things were getting different and very difficult for her.
One night during a conversation on what they will be wearing to the upcoming family event, Anusha casually mentioned to her elder sister how uneasy she feels wearing dresses, and having to act like a girl makes her sad & isolated. It wasn’t who she really was, but she didn’t know exactly how to process the whole scenario. She felt trapped & every passing minute was suffocating her.
To her surprise, Anisha’s elder sister Anushka understood with no judgments.
The next few hours were spent on the internet understanding sexuality, sexual preferences & eventually realizing who she was in real – a pansexual.
By the morning, her elder sister cut her long hair to a pixie; they together shopped for a new wardrobe; Anisha swore to wear what she was most comfortable in – uber-cool shirts with pants.
Anisha later told me, “I never thought coming out would be so easy. I had spent countless nights scrolling through my phone’s gallery, crying and being frustrated. I’m so happy Anushka understood me and helped me identify who I really am”. Bless her heart!
Similarly, another friend, Manisha, discovered she was asexual after spending massive amounts of money on finding something that would make her want to have a healthy sexual relationship & yet not feel it.
Not being able to be read for who you stand for can be frustrating, and this is where dressing up incredibly helps to express yourself guilt-free.
Women and Sexuality
Over the years, fashion has evolved into a representation of one’s true self. Often regarded as a flamboyant, guilt-free, and straightforward form of expression, how you dress does speak for you even before you say hello.
Accepting yourself is the very first fabric you will be wearing on a daily basis. The fashion industry empowers every individual to wear their thoughts, sexuality, and power with no judgments. In fact, the industry is adapting to become more size-inclusive, gender-friendly, and encouraging more out-of-closet walks.
With fashion trends that accept more and express even more, here’s how fashion is indeed helping women own their sexuality!
Fashion and Sexuality: Are they connected?
Dressing up allows a person to express themselves better. Be it all browns and nudes, a pallet of flamboyant, neon colors, or just a basic wardrobe with loads of prints, clothing today is more than just pairing, mixing, and matching fabrics.
But is there a link between fashion and women’s sexuality?
The answer is intricate.
There’s no particular way to dress up to indicate a certain section of sexuality. It is, in fact, a matter of personal preference to represent one’s sexual orientation. You can be queer comfortable in a maxi dress or rock the classic pant-shirt look… at the end of the day, what represents you and your beliefs the best is what should be on your body.
Conclusion: Wear Who You Are!
Fashion is a trump card that will always favor your preferences. So wear who you are with confidence!
When you choose to dress for your orientation, know that it’s a statement that empowers more women who are still coming in terms of who they are and how they want to lead their lives.
Don’t hide yourself in regret, Just love yourself, and you’re set! (Born This Way, Lady Gaga)