On one sultry Delhi afternoon, I found myself fighting with every fiber of my being to avoid lapsing into inertia and missing my Entrepreneurship class.
After arming myself mentally several times, I somehow pulled myself together and entered the class in a sleepy trance.
Settled in a chair was the lecturer – gray-haired, cold, and as I was soon about to discover, tyrannical.
Some trivial dialogue and customary roll-call later, her persona begins to unravel.
I realized that she meant anything but business when seemingly out of nowhere, she began expressing her utter disdain for spaghetti straps and shorts. She then droned on about “self-policing” clothes and maintaining decorum within college premises.
Predictably, she put forth the age-old theory of one’s dignity being directly proportional to their clothing. The more the clothing, the more the dignity and vice versa – you know the drill.
“These girls are just flouting the rules,” she said, while her visage morphed into the likeness of Cruella De Vil.
According to her, anyone who dares to bare their shoulders or thighs is committing an act of sacrilege.
“I see girls sitting on the staircase wearing skimpy shorts and eating Maggi. They have no sense of what to wear and when,” she continued with eyes that looked ready to pop out of her sockets.
As if her speech on propriety weren’t enough, she made one of my classmates remove her cap for some Godforsaken reason.
Another of my peers fell victim to her sexist agenda when she arrived a few minutes late to class in a knee-length dress. On the pretext of her being late, she was asked to leave, but the moment she exited the class, the teacher flatly said and I quote: “I didn’t like her dress.”
Was I spared of her nonsense? Unfortunately not.
She said she wanted to speak to me after class, but decided to break it to me in the middle of her monologue.
I was ordered not to wear my hair in a top-knot bun because apparently, it’s only appropriate for a photoshoot and not college.
She landed the final blow when she justified lewd stares from male onlookers in public with the quote:
“Jaisa desh hai vaisa vesh pehnoge toh khush rahoge“
(Dress according to the laws of your country and you shall be happy.)
What’s The Big Deal?
Here’s the thing about ideas: they are two-fold in nature. They could either birth a revolution (the defiance of Rosa Parks) or lead to catastrophe (the German compliance with Hitler).
In the backdrop of an educational institution, ideas typically prompt the former given the directional shift in socio-political attitudes in recent years.
Hence, it is deeply unsettling to learn that a woman of her stature has been peddling such dangerous ideas to impressionable minds for the past 30 years.
We, the movers and shakers of tomorrow, are a sum total of our environment. We become what we see and learn.
It then becomes the responsibility of institutions such as my own to impart knowledge that primes us to abstain from outdated schools of thought, especially in the formative years of one’s life.
Sexism in Educational Institutions
You might think: what’s new about the older generation having regressive mindsets?
Not much, except that the job of a teaching professional requires renouncing orthodox concepts for the sake of truly exchanging knowledge.
At the very least, personal preferences should be left out of the classroom lest it should ruin the sanctity of an educational institution.
It’s disheartening to see that the same institutions which masquerade as associations of free will house some of the most socially recessive thought processes.
I raised the concern with a teacher-in-charge who advised me to ignore her remarks.
What next? I’m taking her advice. I shall indulge in blasphemy and wear shorts to her next class just to spite her.
For someone who teaches entrepreneurship, she sure enjoys minding everyone else’s business but her own.
Image Credits: Google Images
Find the blogger: @microrgasm