The value of treating people as people

Feminism: The radical notion that women are people.

I started teaching draping and conducting workshops with the intention of making an impact on people’s minds by opening them up to the possibilities of the Sari. My intention is to allow people to experience freedom for themselves.

Freedom from matching petticoats.
Freedom from having to conform to a standard expectation of gender and clothing.
Freedom from body shaming.
Freedom to understand self and express fluid self-identity.
Freedom from man-made fabrics such as polyester, which does nothing for the self, environment and culture.
Freedom from too many clothes & capitalism.

However, since I have started on this journey, I find that some people think my art and knowledge is tradable for money. Just because I can drape, doesn’t mean I will do it anytime anywhere on demand. Just as I am not a programmer because I am good at math or logic. And I am not a doctor or scientist just because I am good at science.

Don’t get me wrong. I do drape my friends and have even randomly draped people I have just met. But I do that because they are enthusiastic. I do that because they are excited to learn. And most of all, I do that because they respect me and more importantly, art & knowledge. There is nothing wrong with being a professional draper who drapes you for a wedding in exchange for money.

But. I don’t do that. At least not yet. I might someday if I feel that that is a necessary and logical next step for me to achieve the impact I’m seeking (above) but not yet. Not today.
Today I believe in teaching a person how to fish and not in giving them the fish. I will teach you if you are enthusiastic and respectful. And will certainly drape if you say please. But not otherwise or by demanding.

So women & men & people: It is easy for one to read a definition of feminism but it takes a lot to understand what that means. Treat me like a person and you will be rewarded. Treat me like someone whose art is tradable for money, gifts & favours and you will be disappointed.

*Takes a bow*

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People are beautiful. Photo: Baishampayan Ghose

 

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