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Friday, August 19 2022
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This Tamil magazine believes women who wear leggings deserve to be shamed

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You may not have known this, but a rather dangerous variety of leggings has hit the country and is upsetting the decent and morally upright who prefer their women conformist.


Before these potentially-titillating clothing turned into weapons of mass distraction, Tamil pulp magazine, Kumudam Reporter thought it worth its while to covertly trail women who wore leggings, take pictures of their posteriors–specially when their clothes bunched up around their waist and exposed their leggings–and splash them on their latest cover with a yellow-font bold-sized header, ‘Leggings Vulgarity’.

The magazine also asked a seemingly stirring question, “Are youngsters crossing the line?” Who knows, maybe possessing buttocks itself is a line women are better off not crossing?

When HuffPost India contacted their office, we were told that the editor was busy in a meeting. However, a person who identified himself as a journalist in the editorial desk said that the entire desk was instrumental in ideating, writing and designing the spread but refused any further comment.

Kumudam is only a culmination of recent public outrage in Kerala and Tamil Nadu of the moral turpitude that leggings supposedly instigate. Earlier this month, the dean of the Madurai Medical College issued a circular instructing women students to not wear jeans, tees and yet again, leggings.

This May, a Malayalam writer and secretary of the Kerala Book Marketing society, Babu Kuzhimattom pontificated that ‘skin-coloured’ leggings could excite Indian men. Kuzhimattom, lamented that the youth refused to listen to “our elders,” who expect women to be ‘submissive’.

To explain his discomfort with leggings, Kuzhimattom recounted his personal experience of being “aroused” by a bystander who he thought was naked. “Only later my driver Vishaq told me that she was dressed but used skin-coloured leggings.” Newsminute quoted the writer as saying .

The titillation over leggings isn’t confined to Kumudam’s sanctimonious readership and, like Justin Bieber, provokes global outrage. Last year, a school in Illinois, US put up a circular forbidding girls to wear leggings, lest they distract their male classmates. The school designed a poster that asked “Are my pants lowering your test scores?”

In fact, in 2013, newspapers in US and Canada reported that schools were keen on banning girls from wearing leggings to class.

There are however protests brewing against Kumudam. A Change.org has put out a petition demanding an apology from Kumudam and as this story was being typed, it had garnered 4000 signatures. Dravida Munetra Kazhagam member Kanimozhi came out with a statement alleging that to be “moral policing masquerading as journalism. It is a classic case of objectification of women.”

Kumudam’s vigilantism also raises ethical questions on the paparazzi-like intrusion into privacy with no apparent motive other than self-righteous moral grandstanding.

Several leading news brands of the country, and the world, have online photogalleries dedicated to ‘wardrobe malfunctions,’ which are continuously updated with ‘celebrity slips,’ which mostly consist of dropped sleeves slipped, stuck hems got stuck, and necklines that plunged deeper than the wearers expected.

The more enthusiastic publishers will blow up the guilty body part or the part of the dress, accounting for the said ‘wardrobe malfunction’ and often, point an accusing finger at her personality based on how she dresses. Kumudam then differs only in picking on un-aware non-celebrities.

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