On Monday the campus of English and Foreign Language University in Hyderabad once again challenged the gender stereotypes based on the dress-codes. While women comfortably put on shirts, tee shirts and lungis, men unapologetically flaunted their sarees, churidars and dresses. The cross-dressing event is a tradition of EFLU’s welcome party’s where the MA final students organize this event every year to welcome their juniors without any gender stereotypes.
An MA student of Cultural studies remarked, “The kind of gender representation that an event like cross-dressing focuses on is based on difference. Men and Women are biologically different and society assigns them attires that make them look different. Cross-dressing is not always about rebelling against the norms, it is also about finding the space where your curious questions and doubts about the other gender are addressed.”
To fade-out the gender stereotypes in the University campus, the cross-dressing event allowed the swapping of dresses to enfeeble the gender roles assigned to it. However, Ahira, an MA student said that the exaggerated attempts of men to imitate the mannerisms of women while wearing their attire spoiled the very purpose of the event.
“Everyone should be given voice and choice in a progressive society space where you can expose your identity without being judged based on your gender and sartorial choices is our dream.” said one of the students from the organizing team of the event.
According to the Onmanorama, women found it easier to fit into what is considered as male attire- lose tee shirts, shirts and jeans- since they have already normalized wearing shirts and jeans. However, there were also students who did not participate in the event. According to them, the idea of cross-dressing reinforced gender stereotype. It made the gender difference prominent by focusing on the dress-codes. Why there is a need for dress codes at all to understand human astray from their gender.