How confident is Ranveer Singh

Beauty mistake?
Hot looks despite fashionable missteps!

No matter whether partner tattoos, ear piercings, braids or masks with unusual motifs: Young Indians are not interested in strict fashion rules, but choose a certain look to express their personality. This creates a colorful variety of people who maintain their very own fashion style.

At a time when current dress codes are becoming less and less important, ideals of beauty, fashion trends and lifestyles are also determined by playing with gender identity. In addition, the queer culture of the global fashion industry has always left its mark, says the multidisciplinary artist Masoom Parmar.

From outing to the cinema and onto the catwalk

“Whether you love it or hate it, it cannot be overlooked. The psychedelic aesthetic that fashion designer Manish Arora creates with neon-colored sprinkles and bizarre patterns has always conveyed a queer touch since he founded his fashion label of the same name, "explains Masoom. “At Lakmé Fashion Week in 2003, Rohit Bal sent male models on the catwalk in skirts and nose rings. They were made up with vermilion Sindoor powder. Obviously in contact with her feminine side. In fact, Indian fashion is increasingly shaped by non-binary forms of expression, ”said the artist.

“The current Bollywood crush Ranveer Singh wears skirts and boots, Mr. Perfectionist Aamir Khan uses kajal and has a nose piercing - and the nation is at his feet. The kediyu (a long-sleeved top that is pleated at the chest), which has since become a fashion statement for women, is actually a traditional garment for men in rural regions of Gujarat and Rajasthan and is still popular there. "

Masoom agrees with this trend with confidence. "However, we shouldn't forget that queer men have long been using kajal, wearing skirts and boots, or showing off their nose piercings with pride," he points out. “None of this is anything new to us. We were concerned with fashion long before it became a trend. In the early 2000s, when I got my first ear piercings (I now have 13, ten in one ear and three in the other!), Well-meaning friends and less well-meaning relatives asked me if I could connect in this way wanted to establish my feminine side. I was made fun of when I traded my jeans for lungis (a long piece of fabric that wraps around the hips and covers the lower part of the body to the ankles) and sarongs in 2013. Both ear piercings and sarongs are now totally "in". Today the same relatives praise me for my style of dress. It's hard to believe, but they even ask me for fashion advice. "

While fashion trends can overcome the binary forms of expression, the social worker and communication consultant Yogita reports of painful experiences with her own tattoos. And she doesn't mean the physical pain of getting a tattoo, which Yogita says is tolerable.

The funny side of a "flaw"

The "funniest" thing Yogita experienced since she discovered her love for tattoos was the reactions of her grandmother and mother, who boycotted her for weeks because of a tattoo she hadn't told them about for months anyway. "Whenever they saw me, they turned around as if the thought that as a grown woman I had something painted on my body forever without her permission," she recalls. “It was the perfect drama, like a Hindi sitcom from the late 1980s. And it could very well have been one. "

And that's not all: After Yogita got her third tattoo - one half of a golden snitch from the Harry Potter universe was now emblazoned on her hand, the other half on the hand of her best friend - it became guesswork suddenly certainties. Yogita was undoubtedly a lesbian, it was said.

“An uncle even asked me if I was one of 'those gay women'. He tried very hard not to offend me, even though he looked hurt himself. Back in 2015, of course, I thought this was an Indian phenomenon - but far from it. When I went to the UK to study, the smartest man I knew at the time was utterly confused because I wasn't a lesbian (why, I wondered, did that matter at all). And what was his justification? I would have spoken openly about fluid identities, and apparently a photo of me and my girlfriend with our partner tattoo must have left him with the impression that I was a lesbian. Needless to say, there was an embarrassed silence for the rest of our bus ride together. What answer should one answer to a man? 'Hm, no, I'm sorry that I no longer meet your expectations?' - It was funny and devastating at the same time, especially because we had been kissing for a few weeks. "

Although Yogita is convinced that individual fashion statements do not have to be gender-related, she still has the impression that some of the most recent statements in the international fashion world point in the completely wrong direction.

A failed fashion statement

“What did Lady Gaga want with her meat dress? That still doesn't reveal itself to me! ”Says Yogita indignantly. Lady Gaga did this later on the showEllen DeGeneres explains that she protested at the MTV Video Music Awards with her “meat dress” against the treatment of gay soldiers in the US Army, but in no way wanted to hurt the feelings of vegans and vegetarians. “Well,” Yogita sighs, “from my point of view, Lady Gaga has only made it worse by justifying her outfit as an expression of 'her own convictions' and explaining why the 'meat dress' is a statement against the gender-compliant standards of the US Should be military. This dress was far from cool. To be honest, Miley Cyrus made a more fitting statement than Lady Gaga with the music video for her song 'Wrecking Ball'. "

When it comes to statements from singers, the musician Achintya Vathul, who comes across as unconventional as his career choice, also cultivates a modern look with his man's bun.

Off to the butcher shop with you

Almost during the entire pandemic, Achintya's lovingly manicured head of hair provided amusement in his family. Even though this cheerfulness also came over him in the form of uninhibited and unhesitatingly expressed religious prejudices - wrapped in humorous comments. “That being said, I would have had a hard time imagining that the moment would ever come in my life when I would just let my hair grow,” says Achintya. “I found the idea of ​​wearing long hair completely absurd because I lacked the necessary imagination and the willingness to experiment. When I made up my mind, however, I felt this completely new and unfamiliar excitement about doing something for the first time that initially left me completely confused. In the meantime, I'm just thrilled with my long hair. "

Even more: Achintya's mother is also happy with his long hair, as he was amazed to find out. “Mainly because I always expect my parents to freak out when I make lifestyle or fashion decisions that don't conform to the norm. But contrary to my expectations, my mother is very satisfied with my new head of hair - now she says she has a daughter who she can braid. "

However, not everyone around Achintya shares his mother's attitude. “Many asked me to hire a butcher because I looked like my Muslim compatriots. This reaction shows how much daily coexistence is shaped by prejudices in connection with external appearance or religious affiliation. People think they have to express their disapproval through rash comments in the family circle. "

Feel-good fashion

With all the approval and criticism, Achintya said she was in good company. In his "group of long-haired debutants", the pandemic saw itself as "the ultimate driving force for fashion experiments". “Perhaps the most important thing that I can pull out of my new life with long hair is that it makes me and all of my fellow campaigners feel good. Nothing more and nothing less. ”And that's a good reason for a new hairstyle, Achintya!


Nirmala Govindarajan works as a writer and journalist as well as a documentary filmmaker on social issues. Her new novel "Taboo" is on the shortlist for the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2020. She previously published "Hunger’s Daughters" and "The Community Catalyst". She is the co-author of Mind Blogs 1.0. Nirmala curates literary events and has launched the reading series “Writer's Yatra” and “Reader’s Yatra” in unusual locations. She tries her hand at the theater and plays classical piano and violin.

Translation: Translated from the English by Kathrin Hadeler
Copyright: Text: Goethe-Institut. This text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivatives 3.0 Germany License.

December 2020