In a rapidly changing world, it is very important for people, regardless of their gender, to be able to wear whatever they feel most comfortable. Clothing is a manmade construct that doesn't "belong" to a particular gender.
Over decades, women have adopted "male fashion." It is not out of the ordinary to see them wearing pants and shirts. Rather, it is more normalised than ever. However, the idea of men wearing typically feminine clothes and applying make-up is still evolving. People feeling threatened by men wearing feminine clothes often reinforce the idea that dressing like women is weak and below them.
In India, there have been two recent cases of men battling such stereotypes publically and on social media.
Two Instagram influencers, Sameer Khan and Bhavya Kumar, uploaded a reel of themselves wearing a skirt in the Delhi Metro. The text read "Wore skirt in Delhi Metro." It was uploaded on 16th April and is still being shared on the platform by the users. The video captured the reactions of other passengers. Most people turned around to take a better look at them. Some gave them judgemental looks while others looked simply amazed.
The internet, however, was in their total support. Most of the comments they received were encouraging. Here are some comments-
"You guys nailed it... I guess clothes should be normalised… if we girls wear pants then why can’t boys wear skirts... people in southern India wear lungi and skirts and lungis are similar."
"Lungi is okay but skirts are not? I don’t understand, they literally serve the same purpose."
The reel is currently at 796k views, and 77.8k likes and shared more than 20k times.
Another Instagram Influence, by the name Shivam Bhardwaj, who goes by the Instagram handle "theguyinaskirt", uploaded a reel where he is seen in a black ensemble walking across the Mumbai Local. Shivam identifies himself as a gay individual and supports gender neutrality, that is, he believes that certain fashion and makeup should not be restricted to any gender.
"When I was editing my reel, I saw people’s reactions to my ramp walk in the local train and it was shocking. Some people were left with their mouths wide open, but there was also a man who came up to me and asked if I am an artist and that made me happy that there are people who understand," he said.
Here are some of the comments on his reel
"My jaw dropped, like Majestic is the word."
"You better walk that runway."
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