Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

‘Dress Code’ Controversy: A Victim of Misogynistic Mindset or Something Else ?


In the middle of September 2021, a female candidate wearing ‘shorts’ (the so-called ‘half pant’), hailing from Biswanath Chariali, went to Tezpur to appear at an entrance test of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) at Girijananda Chowdhury Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (GIPS), one of the agencies of AAU.  While the gatekeeper of GIPS gave her access, the invigilator on duty at the examination hall raised eyebrows on her ‘dress code’ but allowed her to sit in the examination, coercing her to drape a curtain to cover her legs. Doing so, the invigilator not only trespassed into her personal space— her body; humiliated her by lowering her dignity. This perspective is an attempt to revisit the debate of the dress code of Indian women, which refuses to die even in 21st Century India.


Shorts/Half-Pants, Dress Code, Indian Women, Misogyny, Assam, India



  1. Bandyopadhyay, Sarbani and Lahiri Shoma Choudhury (2012). Dressing the Feminine Body. Economic and Political Weekly. 47 (46),
  2. BBC News (2014, 6 December). Dressing the Indian woman through history.
  3. Bhalla, Abhishek (2012). The Rapes Will Go On. Tehelka.
  4. Bhattacharyya, Rituparna (2021). Pierre Bourdieu’s Symbolic Violence: Scripting Gender among Assamese Middle-Class Women in Higher Education. In Anindita Dutta (ed.). Gender, Space and Agency in India: Exploring Regional Genderscapes, 15-33, Routledge. DOI:
  5. Bhattacharyya, Rituparna (2019). Symbolic Violence and Misrecognition: Scripting Gender among Middle-class Women, India. Society and Culture in South Asia, 5(1), 19-46, DOI: 10.1177/2393861718787870 DOI:
  6. Bhattacharyya, Rituparna (2015). Understanding the Spatialities of Sexual Assault against Indian women in India, Journal Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 22(9), 1340-1356 DOI:10.1080/0966369X.2014.969684 DOI:
  7. Bhattacharyya, Rituparna (2013). Are We Empowered? Stories of young Indian working women. Lap Lambert Academic Publishing
  8. Bhattacharyya, Rituparna (2009). Examining the Changing Status and Role of Middle-Class Assamese women: Lessons from the Lives of University Students. PhD thesis. Newcastle University, UK.
  9. Das, Tulshi Kumar, Bhattacharyya, Rituparna, Alam, Fakrul, and Parvin, Amina (2020). In-depth Semi- structured Interviewing: Researching Domestic Violence as a Public Health Issue in Bangladesh, SAGE Research Methods Cases Medicine & Health, Disciplines: Public Health. DOI: DOI:
  10. Dickson-Swift, V., James, E. L., Kippen, S., & Liamputtong, P. (2007). Doing sensitive research: What
  11. challenges do qualitative researchers face? Qualitative Research. 7, 327–353. doi:10.1177/
  12. Pandey, Geeta (2021a, 27 July). The Indian girl killed for wearing jeans. BBC News.
  13. Pandey, Geeta (2021b, 22 March). Why India is talking about ripped jeans and knees. BBC News.
  14. Pandey, Geeta (2021c, 15 January). Rajini Chandy: The 69-year-old Indian actress trolled for ‘too sexy’ photos. BBC News.
  15. Tarlo, Emma (1996). Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India. Hurst & Company


Download data is not yet available.

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>