Women have trends? I randomly asked some women friends whether they had a trend to follow and guess what, my pop psychology survey says NO! Women don’t have trends. They have reactions or more appropriately, responses, to given situations: to the rapidly changing climate, to political situations, to love, to food, to men, to pets, to anything that comes their way. So, if the rest of the world perceives a common thread that runs through these responses and they pass them off as trends, then trends it is.
The single most important pattern that I see is that the woman’s voice is being heard again, above the din of gender violence, domestic issues, glass ceilings. And consequently, women are going to find more support among themselves, even forming ad hoc vigilante groups. It’s not new even in India, but it’s on the rise: women grouping together to protect themselves against the three Rs: Rape. Rape. Rape. We know about the Gulabi Gang, but in urban areas, more and more women will join forces and arm themselves with whatever it takes; martial arts, tasers, (if that becomes legal), or even wild dogs if it means keeping wild men at bay.
Speaking of ‘trends’. We’ve been waking up to horrifying rape incidents. Two to name a few: The Delhi gang rape and the young journalist’s at Shakti Mills Compound in Mumbai. Did men learn anything? If the tasteless Tejpal incident, is an indication, the answer is no. Yet, there was something that emerged from these cases: All these women, including one who perished in the Nirbhaya case, refused to be cowered down. Even on her death bed, Nirbhaya asked that the men be punished. The Shakti Mills survivor is still braving barbs and voyeuristic questions as if the humiliation of medical examination was not enough. But she soldiers on, regardless. The young journalist in the Tejpal case has also decided that nothing can be more insulting than have a man violate her and get away with it. All of them are examples to the rest of us women, to stand up, speak up and go through the terrifying tedium of redressal rather than let the perpetrators get away with it. It can’t be easy in a country where women continue to be seen as ‘weak’ but the story is changing and we salute these women.
Speaking of which: As the global economy continues to remain volatile, more and more women will be joining the work force. At every level, junior, mid-management, top executives, boardrooms will see a proliferation of women. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the nurturing instinct is doused. Keeping home and working to make a better life for themselves comes from the fact that women are better at multi- tasking than men. On the flip side, men are going to have to watch what they say and how they say it. Remember that slip between the cup and the lip? Those jokes are going to go through the laundry list of the Vishaka guidelines before they become acceptable again.
Speaking of nurturing, chances are that more and more women will decide, when to marry, whom to marry and most importantly, who to have babies with. Fertility expert, Dr Malpani detects a faint trend that stated a couple of years ago in which where women who prefer to postpone motherhood, can. All they have to do is freeze their eggs and pull them out of the freezer when they feel the time is right to have a baby. Why? Several reasons. One being that she may not have found Mr Right yet, and why waste a chromosome on the wrong guy? Another and more realistically, realising the options available to her today, she prefers to fulfil her career ambitions rather than have a lifetime of regrets wondering what if… The technology is available, why not grab the opportunity?
Speaking of options, remember those elaborate meals your mom made you day in and day out? Well, remember it long and hard, because kitchens nation-wide are shrinking into pantries. Which basically means since more women will be out working, less women will be pottering around in the kitchen following Julia Child, Tarla Dalal recipes. It’s going to be more wham, bam, here’s your sandwich kind of meal. So get used to it guys. Hire cooks, or better still log on to You Tube to make it like mom made did.
Speaking of old times, the word is out that ‘culottes’ will be the in thing this year? Culottes? Really? Those flapjack trousers that flap midway at your calves? Apparently, worn with structured shirts, tucked in at the waist, with oversized platform shoes is the statement fashion slaves will be making this year. One thing’s for sure. Count me out of this trend. Given the fact that trousers shrink over the years, I find culottes materialising quite naturally in my wardrobe. Ditto for the distress look that style divas pay crazily for. Did nobody ever tell them that to make a fashion statement you have to wait out a fashion cycle?
I rest my trends.