Renowned fashion designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee may be a household name when it comes to Indian traditional bridal wear, but his remark at a recent conference is drawing a lot of flak on the Internet, as well as offline. The ace designer, known for his beautiful saris, said that Indian women who cannot drape a sari should be ashamed. Mukherjee on Saturday criticised women, particularly of the younger generation, for not wearing a sari and giving preference to Western outfits and as his comment spread it lead to a huge outcry on social media platforms.
Addressing Indian students at a Harvard India Conference, the designer said, “I think, if you tell me that you do not know how to wear a sari, I would say shame on you. It’s a part of your culture, (you) need (to) stand up for it.”
“Women and men are trying very hard to be something that they are not. Your clothing should be a part of who you are and connect you to your roots,” said the designer. “It’s a relationship of misunderstanding. It’s easy to wear a sari. Wars have been fought in sari. Grandmothers have slept in sari and have woken up without any folds to it,” he added.
Watch his full speech here:
Although he highlighted that Indian men too don’t wear dhoti any longer but never shamed them for it. “Indian women have kept alive the sari, but the dhoti is dead,” the designer laughingly said. But many called his opinion biased, and called him out for unfairly burdening women with the responsibility of upholding Indian traditions. Many slammed the designer for being sexist and a misogynist, argueing that this is how patriarchy thrives. His remark has created a huge debate online especially after Manohar Parrikar recently said he was scared as girls have begun drinking beer.
On Twitter, many women came forward to lambaste the designer and others who think it’s acceptable to tell women what to do and what not. Sample these:
No end to idiots I say. Shame on women if they don’t know how to wear a saree eh? Ooh! Now this so called custodian of Indian wear will judge women basis their saree wearing skills. You learn to wear pants properly first my friend. Be a man #Sabyasachi
— Mini Ribeiro (@MiniRib) February 12, 2018
One more man trying to tell us women how we’re supposed to live, how we deserved to be ashamed, and what our culture is supposed to be. Shame on me, I can’t wear a saree all by myself. 🙄🙄 #Sabyasachi http://t.co/eXBMmn0mRU
— Arunima Gururani (@arunimagururani) February 12, 2018
#Sabyasachi we can’t afford ur such costly saree to wear n nxt time plz design dhoti 4 men so tht they also feel shame !!
— Raksha (@ChRaksha) February 12, 2018
Sabyasachi says Indian women have kept the saree alive, but the dhoti is dead. Shame on Indian men.
— Nayanika (@nayanikaaa) February 12, 2018
Saree isn’t even the traditional dress of every community in India, so if Sabyasachi can rewind himself back into the womb he came from and get aborted, we’d all be very happy without his existence. We know where to get the copies.
— pls low volume doing studied silence ☭ (@inshallahvolcel) February 12, 2018
I can wear a saree, and this silly comment still irritates me. What, is Sabyasachi always in a dhoti??
— veena_srinath (@veena_srinath) February 12, 2018
sabyasachi telling indian women how to wear a saree is classic example of MANSPLAINING
— 📵 (@ElCrankoPunko) February 12, 2018
Hey Sabyasachi..say ‘saree’ to the women ! We don’t want anyone spinning yarns of judgement . Haute couture will do ! http://t.co/kqhaMOQpBm
— epifunny (@nandinisushil) February 12, 2018
Sabyasachi: Women who don’t know how to wear a saree are asabya. Sachi
— Diogenes (@diogeneb) February 12, 2018
Maybe fewer young women are not wearing sarees because you’re selling em for 80K bro pic.twitter.com/atGail8ehq
— Tanmay Bhat (@thetanmay) February 12, 2018
Oh sure. One more man telling women what they should and should not be doing.
Why is upholding “Culture” always the woman’s responsibility?#WhatWomenWant is #FreedomOfChoice #Sabyasachi #Saree #ShameOnYou #WomenWhoCantWearASaree http://t.co/aRpOyYojQS
— Ishita Garg (@IshitaGarg12) February 12, 2018
(If you don’t know how to wear a saree, shame on you: Sabyasachi to Indian women) Like really??
I may not know how to wear a Saree but it doesn’t mean I am less Indian or I don’t respect my culture. I can’t say about the rest, but at least I don’t think like that 😕
— Priyanka Bhatt (@iPriyankaBhatt) February 12, 2018
I wear sarees very often, but this shaming of women who don’t wear them is unacceptable, especially because of the prices at which Sabyasachi sells his sarees! http://t.co/mrBamemZPE
— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) February 12, 2018
This image of the fictive/mythic women helps to permeate the idea that the quintessential Indian woman doesn’t really exist. It also teases the het male ejaculatory imagination through the depiction of the unattainable sexualized female body.
— Sohni Chakrabarti (@sohni_c) February 12, 2018
‘Coz real women disgust him. So women need to doll up as mythical goddesses, enchantresses or queens. That way he can deflect his hatred and call it art. As well as exercise his ‘superiority’ as a male artist. Hence, women need to become art for him to soothe his cisgay pride.
— Sohni Chakrabarti (@sohni_c) February 12, 2018
Years ago, at some family ‘do, my sad poori making skills revealed. I’d just published my 1st book at 25 & this matriarch was chiding my mom for not raising me to be ‘feminine’ & ‘prepared for family life’. You, #sabyasachi, hav much in common with that uneducated septuagenarian.
— Radhika Meganathan (@IamSmara) February 12, 2018
sabyasachi tells young indian women “shame on them” if they don’t know how to wear a sari….. his ass really thinks all my ancestors were out here wearing saris? in the punjabi winter?
— Jasveen Kaur 🥀 (@jasveenflies) February 12, 2018
Yes, because humara kaam sirf sari bandhna hi toh hai. Hume bas rotiyan pakani hai, sari pehen kar! #Sabyasachi
— Neha Vashishth (@iamnehaaaa) February 12, 2018
First they shame women for drinking beer, laughing too loud, studying too much and now for not knowing how to wear a saree? Dude go back to designing stuff for the crooked millionaires and not do anything for the country! #Sabyasachi
— Deveshi Chandan (@tooth_crazy) February 12, 2018
I think the best possible response would be pictures of women wearing beautiful sarees that are Sabyasachi copies.
— Ripper (@Ace_Of_Pace) February 12, 2018
— S.Vasudeva Murthy (@svmurthy) February 12, 2018
Within five days, a man is worried about Indian women drinking beer and another is shaming us for not knowing how to wear a saree. I will just wear my jeans and tees and go drink a few beer pints to wish for their evolution.
— इवनिशा (@KeepsItRustic) February 12, 2018
What’s your take on Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s sari comment? Tell us in comments below.