Monday April 22, 2019

The Saree Man of India: Himanshu Verma breaks all Stereotypes to show Gender Fluidity of Saree

The Delhi-based Himanshu has a curious love for Saree since he did his curatory on the subject

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the Delhiwaala Himanshu at a shoot Source: ibb.in
  • Saree-Man of India,Himanshu Verma is wearing sarees for last 12 years
  • He defines saree as a “megalomaniacal gesture” at his part
  • He celebrates “Saree festival” every year to show saree is Gender-fluid

India is one of those countries that has defined masculine and feminine roles. When it comes to the attires the men and women must wear, it is not only a matter of having a piece of cloth. The particular clothing is seen as a marker of culture and tradition of the place.

When it comes to Saree, one of the Hindi words that have never found a translation in any other language, a similar kind of definition is associated.

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Saree is a female garment about five to nine yards long which not only depicts the culture but is a symbol of feminine peculiarities. From the house-maker women to the celebrities in the glamour world, wearing it marks poise and elegance. However, a very strange yet fascinating man discards all the notions of femininity associated to the wearing of saree. He is known well as the “Saree-Man” of India.

See the video of Himanshu, the Saree-Man

According to Vagabomb.com report, Himanshu, the Saree-man, describes the practice “as a gesture of re-appropriating the saree as a male garment and highlighting the historical tradition where it was all about the fluidity of the drape and not about the structure that was gender specific.” He also describes it as a “megalomaniacal gesture” at his part on being asked about the title people associate with him.

Himanshu Verma. Image source:Vagabomb
Himanshu Verma. Image source:Vagabomb

He began to undergo this practice while he was working on the subject some years ago and defines the garment very specifically as: “The saree as we know today is actually just 150 years old, and it is what is called the Thakurbari drape or the drape pioneered by the Tagore ladies. It is also associated with the Parsi Bombay ladies. Before that, the saree was worn in so many ways and the men would also wear dhotis and sarees, and in many parts of India the two terms are interchangeable. So I think saree is a generic term and it is not a garment for women specifically.”

His own taste in Saree is interesting to note as he asserts: “When I started wearing sarees I used to wear what I call the chamiya sarees… the blingy ones, the slinky ones… but as I am growing older with more grey hair, I am wearing the softer ones, handloom ones,” said the Vagabomb.com report.

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In addition to this love for saree he has, that he wears Saree on a regular basis for last 12 years, he is the one who celebrates it with recognizing it in the annual Saree Festival with all its types from the traditional to the contemporary.

-prepared by Megha, a freelance contributor at NewsGram. Twitter: @meghash06510344

ALSO READ: 

 

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    Saree is no doubt one of the soberest form of culture on display. It unifies all Indian women and now as Himanshu says, it is gender-fluid!

  • devika todi

    gender fluidity at its best!

Next Story

Fight For Gender Equality Faces Resistance From The United Nations: Study

Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal, was sworn in December 2016 after a campaign in which many countries urged selection of a woman.

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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses delegates during the opening session of a UN Migration Conference in Marrakech, Morocco, Dec.10, 2018. VOA

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has inched up slightly in the eyes of women’s groups who said on Wednesday he has delivered on some promises to make the global organization a feminist institution but faces a major backlash and resistance.

The Feminist U.N. Campaign, a coalition of women’s rights groups, advocates and U.N. staff, gave him a grade of B-, up from the C+ it gave him a year ago.

The coalition launched its report card after the secretary-general said he would be a feminist leader when he took office two years ago.

United Nations, Global warming, climate change
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addresses during the opening of COP24 UN Climate Change Conference 2018 in Katowice, Poland, Dec. 3, 2018. VOA

Global movement

In that time, the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment and assault has become a global movement.

Guterres has promoted women’s rights and equality publicly, sought gender parity in leadership and rolled out efforts against sexual harassment and gender-based violence, the report said.

But an internal backlash and bureaucracy threaten his progress. His efforts to make structural changes have met “considerable resistance” from staff and member states that resist women’s rights, it said.

Lyric Thompson, an author of the report and a director at the Washington-based International Center for Research on Women, said she thinks Guterres has “a genuine intent and interest in being a champion” of women’s rights.

Women's March,
People carrying signs join hundreds of demonstrators in the Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles, Jan. 20, 2018. VOA

“The question is can he do everything in his power to be a feminist leader who enables that transformation and who makes it the new normal?” she said to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. The U.N. is “years away” from being a feminist institution, and attitudes of immunity and privilege operate to scuttle equality efforts, she said.

Just last week, a U.N. survey showed one third of its staff and contractors experienced sexual harassment in the past two years.

More than 30,000 people answered the survey, complaining of offensive jokes, remarks and sexual stories and of being touched in ways that made them uncomfortable.

The U.N. has tried to increase transparency and strengthen how it deals with such accusations over the past few years after a string of sexual exploitation and abuse accusations against U.N. peacekeepers in Africa.

The head of the U.N. agency for HIV and AIDS is stepping down in June, six months before his term ends, after an independent panel said his “defective leadership” tolerated “a culture of harassment, including sexual harassment, bullying, and abuse of power.”

Women
Her Royal Highness Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, center, address the human rights conference titled “Protecting Health Rights of Women and Girls Affected by Conflict,” during the U.N General Assembly, Sept. 24, 2018 at U.N. headquarters. VOA

‘Considerable progress’

The secretary-general’s office said it was pleased that the women’s groups saw improvement in Guterres’ handling of gender issues and agreed that more needs to be dome.

Also Read: Women Living in Countries with Gender Equality have better Cognitive Test Scores: Study

“At the same time, we believe the secretary-general has achieved considerable progress within the complex U.N. system at achieving real reforms to make the U.N. a better workplace for women and men alike,” his office said.

Guterres, the former prime minister of Portugal, was sworn in December 2016 after a campaign in which many countries urged selection of a woman. The U.N. has not been headed by a woman since its creation in 1945. (VOA)