Bold and Behenji

“Woah, why do you always dress like a behenji, wearing long kurtis everyday !!”- a close friend of mine remarked to me one summery evening few years back. I was surprised to hear that. Kurtis and long tops were my comfort clothes. I loved to slip into a kurti often, it helped me forget my surroundings and focus on my work.  I was in the college phase of life in those days, fully obsessed with course assignments and projects. I tried reasoning out to her saying how I preferred comfort over style while I am working and why the behenji tag was so unfit. But well….I sighed with some amusement and exasperation and left the conversation. Of course as a women, I loved to wear my flowery dresses and skirts as much as my kurtis (though with not equal comfort), but what I wear is my choice! How does wearing dresses and gowns, wearing an immaculately made up face make you more modern and urbanized ?

As a society, we often judge the personality and traits of a person by how well he or she is dressed, how fair her complexion is etc. All the rest of the qualities fail to overlap our expressions. Women not only have to worry about looking presentable but also have to worry about they will be perceived. Most of the times, working women adjust their image according to the clothes perceive to appear.

According to a Nihar Naturals #IAmCapable survey conducted by Nielsen India, 69% of men agree that their judgement of women is based on their looks. More alarming is the fact that around 64% of women agree that the judgements passed on them have affected their ability to reach their true potential. 70% of women agree that majority of judgements on women are from family members or friends rather than strangers. This tends to hurt more as we have more confidence in the judgement of people near to us than unknown strangers. Also 72% of women agree that working women face more judgements on their looks or their clothes than housewives.


Over the years, people have started spending money on self-grooming, including getting “under the knife”. Beauty tips are on an increase and You-tube is full of videos on how to dress perfectly to office or how to alter the black dress to hide your tummy. Women not adhering to the standards are naturally standing out, just to be labeled behenjis or simpletons.

Often motivational books and counselors preach on “Loving yourself the way you are, be comfortable in your own skin and mind” philosophy. However I don’t believe we tend to practice what we preach and tend to act contrary to this. It shall take some time for people to change their mentality and shift focus. Till then and beyond, more power to us ‘behenjis’ who wear their hearts on their sleeves and work as no tomorrow. As Kurt Cobain once said “I ‘d rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not”.

I’m breaking stereotypes based on appearance by sharing my experience for the #IAmCapable activity at BlogAdda in association with Nihar Naturals.

This blog post is the winner for the Nihar Natural’s #IAmCapable activity organised by BlogAdda