Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Varanasi Micro-Trend: Long White Gloves for Bicycling

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I love the speed, strength, and vitally you see in these young, mobile woman.

 

I’m very happy that I was able to document this beautiful expression considering I was usually sitting in the the back of a rickshaw, heading equally fast in the opposite direction.  (If you notice the eye angle of these shots is slightly different than past bicycle shots it’s because, in the rickshaw, I was usually sitting slightly higher than the subject.)

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108 comments

  1. Fashion Snag

    December 10, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    All nice shots!

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

    • WOWS

      December 10, 2014 at 5:14 pm

      Very usual among eastern women…tan skin is not their pattern of beauty.

      Kisses from http://www.withorwithoutshoes.com

    • The Secret Life of a rag & bone intern

      December 10, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Agreed! So many great shots here..
      The Secret Life of a rag & bone intern
      http://instagram.com/boxersadventures/

    • Martine

      December 13, 2014 at 10:34 pm

      The gloves must be because they are not allowed to show their arms or something. That could be your best friend or your mom you wouldn’t know. its like they have no identity at all. Creepy.

      • tc

        December 14, 2014 at 10:37 pm

        No, it’s because they don’t want to get dark from the sun. In Asia, pale skin is considered more desirable than dark.

        • nina

          January 2, 2015 at 1:59 am

          maybe they prefer to keep themselves safe from the several skin damages…skin cancer n all!!women, in fact ppl all over d country cover themselves while travelling..

  2. WOW! What a spread..

    THE SECRET LIFE OF A FASHION INTERN: rag & bone
    http://boxersadventures.com

  3. 3 by 3 app

    December 10, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing!

    THE FUTURE OF FASHION IS HERE.
    http://www.3by3app.com

  4. And WOW.. those Pink Panther gloves are very interestingly trending!

    THE SECRET LIFE OF A FASHION INTERN: rag & bone
    http://boxersadventures.com

  5. KaftanMag

    December 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    How do you get out of the rikshaw for this? It’s not an auto rikshaw then.
    Even in Mumbai some of the ladies dressed this way to protect themselves from the sun.
    The colors are amazing.

    http://www.kaftanmag.com/

  6. From The World With Love

    December 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    The picture are interesting..it just i don’t see any expression on their face???the face is cover by the religion low the same for the gloves…it’s not fashion and liberty of choosing ..it’s the law of their religion…which doesn’t give you any liberty!!
    xoxo
    Yael Guetta

    http://www.ftwwl.com

    • The Sartorialist

      December 10, 2014 at 5:37 pm

      From what I understand, the wearing of these head scarves has less to do with religion and more to do with sun (and dirt!) protection while these women on their bikes are busy flying down the crowded, dusty Varanasi streets. I was curious about the same thing, and actually had a very interesting discussion about this subject with my guide, who is a woman who was born and raised in India, and seemed very knowledgeable about this subject.

      • Gayatri

        December 11, 2014 at 8:01 am

        Agree. I was raised in India and I used to dress like this when driving around the city on a two-wheeler. It is not religion so much as common sense – to protect against dust, pollution and the harsh sun rays. A coughing/sneezing fit while on a two-wheeler can be dangerous! We usually remove all such ‘protection’ once we reach our destination :-)

        • Anna

          December 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

          None of the men from the first photo is protected in the similar fashion…

          • mareme

            December 11, 2014 at 1:48 pm

            anna, so you know better than people who were born and who live ther why they are doing what they are doing. …

          • Loren

            December 11, 2014 at 2:59 pm

            So mareme, the dust, pollution and harsh sun rays only effect the females, and not the males? The males require none of the protection that the pictured females do? Defies logic. Or does Occam’s razor apply?

          • Anna

            December 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

            No, Mareme. I am just asking, because, just as Loren has pointed out: it rather defies logic. Although I do understand that males may not want the UV protection, are they unaffected by dust and polution?

          • Ashley

            December 15, 2014 at 2:41 pm

            It’s just that women are more careful with their appearance, at least this woman is.

          • Ariana

            December 15, 2014 at 3:01 pm

            I have lived in India, and as far as I understood, fair skin is also a sign of beauty for men (just see, for instance, the many fairness products for men) -by the way, it is not only about beauty, I think, but something that has to do with social importance (if someone from India want to correct me on that point please do)
            Of course, as often when it comes to beauty, beauty tyranny has more in store for women, the burden of appearance is heavier for them as women are often reduced to their body (cf. advertisement, many more examples) and certainly becaue of many complex reasons.
            Appearance is about beauty, and about “morality” in a superficial way (I mean what you show is not necessarily who you are: hiding your skin does not make you a saint, showing doesn’t make you a slut -I might sound super obvious but this is so far from being clear to everyone)

            Translation for women: hide yourselves (from sun, from men glazes)
            For men: do as you like.

            To avoid arsh sun rays, pollution, dust… is a very good reason, but I don’t think it’s the main concern here…

          • nina

            January 2, 2015 at 2:02 am

            well…..maybe the men prefer to be tall, DARK and handsome!!!

    • Cinzia

      December 11, 2014 at 9:18 am

      Judge it s not liberty.

  7. ~ Carmen ~

    December 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    Stunning. Look at the colors they’re wearing. I am so captivated. The long white gloves have a regal touch. :] // â–˛ itsCarmen.com â–˛

  8. Liz

    December 10, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    damn. this is amazing

    http://hashtagliz.com

  9. Sandy

    December 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I believe that the gloves are intended to prevent darkening of the skin from sunlight. It is very common to see women covered up in Southeast Asia (gloves, socks, face covered) during the daytime, even in the heat, because they want their skin to remain fair. I had not seen this in India, although it has been a few years since I was there. Not surprising — after all, Estee Lauder’s skin-lightening creams sell well in India as well as in other parts of Asia!

  10. Zahra'a

    December 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    u not only have an eye for fashion and consumer culture… you r an educator!

  11. zed sidd

    December 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm

    Nothing to do with skin lightening. It’s because of our Islamic dress obligations.

    Arm gloves, with or with hand covering, is a well known trend amongst modern Muslim women all around the world that allows them to keep up with the latest fashions (short sleeve tops, etc) without compromising their religious dress etiquette

    • Alex

      December 14, 2014 at 1:59 am

      This is Varanasi – a Hindu city

    • nina

      January 2, 2015 at 2:09 am

      this has got nothing to do with your islamic dress obligations!!!they are all wearing salar kammez which is the traditional wear of india…wat latest fashion can u see in these pics!!!!they are more abt personal style, about the rich colors n textures which is inherent in all indians

    • Mahendra Sharma

      August 2, 2015 at 6:21 am

      It has nothing to do with the religion it is just to protect themselves from sun and pollution I am a Hindu my mother covers her face like this with a scarf wears long gloves also wears socks she is not a working women but follows this practice regularly when ever she is out of the house my sister also does the same.Coming to male part I cover up my face with a handkerchief inside my helmet I wear gloves and cover my face at night even my father also covers his face and we all do it for protection against sun dust and pollution not for any fashion or religion

  12. Mimosas and Me

    December 10, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    Is there a reason other than sun protection that these gloves are being worn? I feel like I’m missing something
    http://www.mimosasandme.com

  13. Kaja

    December 10, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Compared to the men, even completely covered she has more personality and charisma. First one, my favorite.

  14. maria

    December 10, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    The way they wear socks in flip-flops. Briljant. To protect them form getting to dark, plus they are covered.

  15. Quiequegg

    December 10, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Dear Scott,
    please explain why these women are wearing veils.

    • The Sartorialist

      December 10, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      From what I understand, it’s just a head scarf that these women put across their faces when they’re on their bicycles to protect from the sun and dirt from the dusty roads. The gloves, from what I’ve been told, also serve to protect from sunburn.

      • Quiequegg

        December 11, 2014 at 3:32 am

        Thank you.

      • Isabel

        December 11, 2014 at 9:19 am

        Sorry, but that is not the reason. Then – why does not the men wear a veil?

        • Gadah

          December 12, 2014 at 4:13 am

          it is a beauty sign for a women to have fair skin. the case is not the same for men .that is why men don’t cover and women do.. I saw once a documentary about it and how is it that whitening creams have big market there . I forgot what’s the documentary name.

        • Nadia

          December 12, 2014 at 7:35 am

          Because a lot of us Asian girls like our own skin to be fair, but a lot of the Asian guys don’t care. Frankly toba lot of us, what sort of man hides from the sun?

  16. Chahrazad

    December 10, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    Great photographs! I think they use those gloves for sun protection.

    x
    http://www.thecherryfactor.com

  17. Daniel

    December 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

  18. Kristine

    December 10, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    Hope you remember your D Vitamin ladies.

    • Sira

      December 10, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      LOL !

    • m

      December 11, 2014 at 1:00 am

      in south asia women have a deficiency of vitamin d! and yes this is the reason because they are always covered.

  19. Simone Fraser

    December 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    My favourite is the fourth shot. That gold-yellow with olive and copper is so beautiful – a gorgeous combination. I hope the woman realises this!

  20. RobertBC

    December 10, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    They get their freedom where they can find it, cycling is a pure joy. Funny how one girl’s feet are actually bare. Seeing that many smart men love feet and eyes, I can see why they’re not harassed.

  21. Mouse

    December 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

    I realize that probably these women dress this way by choice (At least I hope so) and I appreciate their sense of color and creativity, but in another way these pictures just make me sad. So much muffling of female energy; even their feet are apparently too dangerous to be revealed.

    • L.

      December 10, 2014 at 10:02 pm

      I feel like that too. The contrast between the clothing of the men and the women is extraordinary, why must women do this? Even if it is to keep fair skin? Oppressive in so many aspects of that word.

      • Angela

        December 13, 2014 at 9:01 pm

        Thank you. It’s oppression, no matter how people try “legitimize” it with explanations about pollution, etc. What? Men aren’t affected by pollution. And, even IF it’s true that women must worry about having light skin while men don’t- it’s oppression.

  22. Daniel

    December 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    It looks more like Iran than India.

  23. an enthusiast

    December 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Daniel, have you ever been to Iran?

    SCOTT, thank you for posting these, you have managed to capture the complexity of
    modern living in a place as complicated as India, this is very good! thumbs up, and I raise my hat to these brave, practical and dynamic ladies!

  24. Moxa

    December 10, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Haha! Cultural differences ! Indians want to be white, Americans want to be tanned! This is true! I was born in India, my wife wants to retain her fair tone and I want her to be tanned more! Love your eye !

  25. Trinity

    December 10, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Scott, show us more of the socks. Do they only wear them in white? They have a place between the toes, right? Very cool! I’ve only seen these on Japanese women.

  26. Hannah

    December 10, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Looks very similar to the outfit I imagine I might wear on my next trip to India. My ridiculous NorthFace/Patagonia backpack tourist look drew swarms of “you want auto rickshaw?” “I give you good price” at every train station. This is exactly what I would wear next time!

  27. Lili

    December 10, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    A few women I used to work with in India used to do this when they were speeding around the city on the scooters. They told me that they were covering themselves like that to stay fair. Staying clean was an appreciated secondary gain, but religion had nothing to do with it.
    I like how their scarves complement their outfits on the pictures above.

  28. kelsey

    December 10, 2014 at 7:08 pm

    how fascinating!
    http://www.ladiesinnavy.com

  29. kamlakumari

    December 10, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    Hi people
    I lived in Varanasi a few years and this fashion is nothing to do with religion. The Muslim women of Varanasi almost exclusively where all black burka. The face cover and gloves are for dust and sun protection. The socks are for warmth. The winters in Banaras are very dry and can get cold. The biking in the roads also mean you are inhaling the fumes from the cars on the road. I used this tactic sometimes as well to save myself from the exhaust.

  30. JB

    December 10, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I am intrigued, the first two have the same socks/sandals combo. Perhaps they are sold together?

  31. Alex

    December 10, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    This is the best photo series of people on bikes. Is it the same woman in pictures 1 & 2? Similar if not the same top, socks and shoes! Like to see how they carry their bags because I considered biking to school. Lastly, whats the purple thing in the corner of the last pic?

  32. Anon

    December 10, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Nothing to do with sunburns, everything to do with the extreme pressure for women to have fair/white skin – especially if they’re single. :( I spent half a year in India, and around N. India – including Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat – all of my girlfriends (locals) explained this to be the case. The subtle, pernicious affects of post-colonialism & racism… most affecting women. :( We need an Indian artist to do a major remake of India Arie’s “Brown Skin”!!

    • MollyBloom

      December 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm

      I understand the cultural preference for fairer skin predates colonialism. This idea is not some European import. No one is just trying that hard to look British. So many ethnic groups in India, and apparently people still identify with them. People in the North tend to be taller and fairer to start with than people in the South. Perhaps fairer skin is a more obvious marker that they “belong” to a Northern ethnic group? This may have some social or political significance within India.

  33. Blog Alto Estilo

    December 10, 2014 at 7:44 pm

    Gentiiiiii …. Muita Roupa … imagino o como deve ser dificil andar estrepamente coberto … nĂŁo faz meu estilo.

    http://blogaltoestilo.com/

  34. Haruki

    December 10, 2014 at 9:04 pm

    The bike ladies here tell the best color story and they look to have very very strong personal strength!

  35. Asha

    December 10, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    I have a softspot for rikshaws! Glad that you’re there documenting with your camera

  36. milex

    December 10, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    I think it’s too dangerous to love it.
    http://milexblog.blogspot.co.uk

  37. Shanaz

    December 10, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    You are a breath of fresh air in the fields of photography and fashion. We lost touch with the meaning of fashion, and the meaning is what you are bringing back. A spread like this takes the mundane every day experience that we take for granted to a place of meaningfulness. This spread is astonishing.

  38. DailyB

    December 11, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Living in a country where islamist threat is real and spreading, I can’t bring myself to see the esthetic in covered girls. An abomination that belongs to the middle ages.

  39. Lex

    December 11, 2014 at 4:09 am

    The long white gloves are not a micro trend and are very common on female
    Motorcycles in Vietnam as well.

    In Vietnam they are used to shield the hands and arms from gaining a tan while on a bike, as if is still a culture where pale skin is considered more elegant as it is associated with not being outdoors all the time.

    A short sleeve with long gloves is considered
    a more practical solution to long sleeves in hot weather.

  40. Aditi

    December 11, 2014 at 6:04 am

    they do it for the pollution and tanning from the sun! I used to do it too when I used to ride my bike to school.

  41. D.

    December 11, 2014 at 6:42 am

    If it was religious wise, I believe they wouldn’t be ridding a bike or anything related…

  42. LIs

    December 11, 2014 at 6:47 am

    One thing that always blew my mind were the five people riding on 1 Motorcyle. Grandma, sister, wife, husband (steering) and child sitting on the handle bars or papa’s lap. AMAZING Scott! You never displease. =)

  43. sb chica

    December 11, 2014 at 6:49 am

    Okay….yes, great shots, beautiful materials worn by, what I’m assuming, are beautiful women.

    Too bad they have to wear these costumes because of some fairy tale they perceive

  44. Moxa

    December 11, 2014 at 6:57 am

    It’s again a cultural question from the westerners. Don’t people in the west make comments like , oh she is pasty white? She needs some sun? Why do women want a tan? It increases the odds of a better partner. Same is the case with India in the opposite way

    • Isabel

      December 11, 2014 at 9:24 am

      No, we westerns comment on this because of the women have to wear a veil. She has no choice.

      The difference between us Scandi women and women in India is the freedom of coice – we can wear what ever we like. The woman in India is even “a bad woman” if she walks by her self during night – and men get the right to rape her. The veil is a symbol for this kind of mind set.

      • Nadia

        December 12, 2014 at 7:58 am

        Isabel, we Asian women do not need a Scandi lady to put words into our mouths. While we Asians acknowledge that a number of Asians women are oppressed, most commonly in communities where education is not much emphasized, the rest of us Asians do actually wear whatever we wear by choice, no matter for practical, fashion or religious reasons.

        The veil is a symbol for whatever mindset you are saying only because YOU make it into a symbol. These ladies here wore the veil to keep their skin fair, and you straight away jump into rape issue. Say what? Geez

  45. Priscilla Joy

    December 11, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Beautiful fabrics.

  46. ally

    December 11, 2014 at 8:24 am

    The first two pictures are of the same women. Scott, was this intentional?

  47. Anna

    December 11, 2014 at 8:55 am

    Trend? These women are not allowed to show even 1 square inch of naked skin, not to be accused of promiscuous behaviour. Certainly, I do not love it and I am very much surprised that someone calls it a “trend”.

  48. Gabi

    December 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I’m not so sure these women are covered only in order to protect themselves from the sun. It’s more likely they are muslim, even if it’s India – because they cover pretty much everything, as you can see in women wearing burqas. Yes the colours are bright and beautiful, but what remains is that they are covered more out of tradition than sense of fashion – at least that’s my hypothesis. I guess my point here is this: you are free to see a beautiful trend in their white gloves, but what I see is yet another symbol of oppression. I’m sorry, but I don’t think that everything that seems fashionable should actually be ‘reported’ as such. It’s tradition, it’s lack of freedom – if they do protect themselves from the hot sun, why aren’t men (cycling alongside) doing the same? Is this just a female ‘thing’? I know you want to see beauty in a lot of elements but sometimes I think we’re failing to see what’s obvious.

  49. Isabel

    December 11, 2014 at 9:17 am

    I, a 30 year old woman living in Sweden – a democratic country with equality between the genders (more or less, but probably best in the world) – get very sad when I see women with no freedom how to live her life. The veil is an insult of everything that I and my country-men and women stand for.

    I can therefore not see the beauty in the pictures, my heart just sink. :(

    • Gadah

      December 12, 2014 at 4:00 am

      Hey Isabel … I wear veil.
      I get very sad when I see girls with short and half naked with no freedom of how to live her life because she need to fit into society……..HA WHAT YOU THINK OF THAT , I HOPE YOU GET WHAT I MEAN
      Freedom is not the type of clothes we wear…so if I don’t wear veil that mean I am free? Or if I wear veil dose that mean I am free ? I don’t think it is related
      freedom is to be free to express your believe and your way of life and , one way to do that is through what we wear.
      I lived in the west and the east and I really hate when people of the East criticize women who wear short or show part of there body. actually a lot of people there think like you, that such women are not free and that they are forced to do that in order to fit into society . The same goes in the west where they think that women with veil are not free and they are forced to it.
      Of course I do realize that there are people who are forced to wear in certain way wither they were forced directly or indirectly through society pressure
      MY POINT IS to express your self and what you believe in and your way of life through clothes, wither you cover fully or put just a tiny pit of clothes, that is FREEDOM and that what you and your country should stand for.
      I am sorry my English is not the best but I hope you get my point

    • Alex

      December 14, 2014 at 2:06 am

      Isabel, India is a democratic country. These women are Hindu women, not Muslim women. There may be unfortunate cultural pressures that make them believe they need to keep their skin fair, but they are not wearing burquas and this is not about religious oppression.

    • Ashley

      December 15, 2014 at 2:44 pm

      Gabi, everything your women fight for should allow women to dress however they want, covered or not. To assume that the way you think women look beautiful and forcing that on other women goes against everything you think your country has fought so hard for. Think about it.

  50. Nadia

    December 11, 2014 at 10:29 am

    These are lovely pictures. They show an aspect of Varanasi that most of us wouldn’t be privy to otherwise.

    What’s upsetting is all the people who are reacting with so much ethnocentrism. Women are covering themselves to save themselves from dust and too much sun exposure. However, there are rituals of basking in sun right after bathing to get a beautiful glow, of using turmeric masks to get a golden hue. Why do we in West forget that we have our own oppressive beauty regimen? Why do we forget that in the winter time, we go tanning? We go through shellac manicures and harm our hands. We go to bars and get ogled by men. We, too, get raped here.

    Oppression of women is rampant everywhere. The fashion in which oppression is dished out my differ, but it’s everywhere.

    The beauty rituals and traditions of India are exotic to the West. But I practice them here, in the States. And, oddly enough, I’m not oppressed.

    • MollyBloom

      December 11, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Not so much ethnocentrism, as humanism. In some parts of the world, women are made to shoulder all the responsibility for aggressive male behavior, with the corollary that men are expected to shoulder no responsibility. That’s not right, on a universal, humanistic level.
      I was very interested to hear from people familiar with the practice of covering up like this that the aim is not to avoid provoking male aggression, but to protect from dust and sun. Of course, it may not be a clear-cut either/or proposition, but it may be that a blend of both considerations are at work. But the concern expressed about human rights is heartfelt, not chauvinistic. I hope it doesn’t read that way.

      • another Nadia

        December 12, 2014 at 8:26 am

        In Malaysia, most of us who cover up with veils do it for religious reasons (as an act of worship to the One we believe as the Creator. Not because some religious man tell us to, not because we want to avoid male aggresion (never crossed my mind. Still get cat calls anyway. Mild though. Never aggresion) Just pure worship. And I do admit, for some, fashion (you should see the colour and styles. I couldn’t keep up with the trends). Honestly, while my own primary reason for wearing hijab is religious, I think I look better with hijab on hahahah (too much bad hair days). I don’t wear the veil over face though. Most don’t. I only wore them when I’m hiking along a path with agrresive sun (like when I was hiking up Himalayan mountains, or along Malaysian beaches) to protect my skin from the sun (yep we aren’t into tanning)

        • MollyBloom

          December 12, 2014 at 12:25 pm

          I can appreciate that.

    • Michelle

      December 27, 2014 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you Nadia for adding a sensible reply to this mix.

  51. Sunny Side

    December 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

    These girls are quite incredible ! Unique ! I can’t believe my eyes !

  52. rm

    December 11, 2014 at 10:55 am

    they wear this to protect themself form the sun? get some sunscreen. put a cloth over your face and walk around for a day- I bet you wouldnt last three hours…. if its a choice its an odd choice

  53. GM

    December 11, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I think it is sad that they feel the need to cover up, and also very dangerous when cycling, as the fabric could easily slip and impair their vision. It must be very claustrophobic and stifling. I hope that someday they will be as free as the men in the photos.

    • carole

      December 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

      I agree with you. while the photos themselves are beautiful, the fact that these women must cover their faces is very disturbing and wrong.

  54. JV

    December 11, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    If they’re covering up to avoid getting darker from the sun, well, I don’t see that as any different than fair-skinned people tanning. We find beauty in what we don’t have, many times. If they’re covering up for religious reasons, I’m less inclined to approve. But then, they’re not looking for my approval. In either case, from a purely fashion perspective, it’s fascinating.

  55. jen

    December 11, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Nice colors. They all look like they are inhaling lint, tho.

  56. Stella

    December 12, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Beautiful photos!

  57. yolimoli

    December 12, 2014 at 8:02 am

    it always fascinates me that people from the west have all these opinions on how unfair and unimpressive it is for women to cover-up due to their religious obligations. Islam gives women a choice. Parda is a choice. i used to feel the same way about it until i asked my many Muslim female friends about their dress-code and how it makes them feel. the onlookers are the ones with the issues. they take pride in their islamic attire

  58. Dina

    December 12, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Fabulous photos!

  59. Julia

    December 12, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Huh. I am shocked how one-sided a lot of Westerners view the world (I am European myself :-)

    Take a look at the pictures of this blog shot in Europe or North-America. Why don’t we scream when we see high heels or pretty shoes on the photos? Arent’t they bad for the health, dangerous and don’t they mirror a huge pressure from society’s side? Don’t they mean you must seem to be taller, thinner and have longer legs, doesn’t wearing high heels reduce women’s ability to move freely and comfortably? How many men do we see in high heels? Less than Indian men covering their heads with scarves…

    Does anyone honestly think we have a completely free personal choice (as opposed to the “poor oppressed ladies” on the pictures) when we daily see thousands of images of unhealthy models practically naked or wearing totally bizarre pieces of clothing like high heels or push-up bras?

    I think these pictures show us how people can play within their different cultural contexts (including their beliefs, oppressions, social norms, commercial pressures etc) to express their own version of beauty, harmony or fun.

    And maybe make us think about our own strange cultural habits before we start judging others…

    • Angela

      December 13, 2014 at 9:02 pm

      I wore FLAT shoes, no makeup and a hat today. I was not stoned or beaten or forced to stay inside.

  60. Scram

    December 12, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”
    ― Susan B. Anthony

  61. GK

    December 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Vitamin D – who needs it?

  62. Martine

    December 13, 2014 at 10:42 pm

    How do you know they are young women? They could be a hundred years old, couldn’t they? All we know about them..is nothing. How do we even know they are women? They don’t have anything to identify them at all.

  63. maya

    December 14, 2014 at 11:19 pm

    for what its worth, I am a Hindu woman living in India. girls wear these to protect their face and arms from the *darkening* sun – you won’t find middle aged ladies doing this. this has nothing to do with religion. young men don’t seem to care that much about the effect of the sun – go figure

  64. Nora

    December 15, 2014 at 10:58 am

    The last woman’s veil looks like an American hospital’s standard-issue newborn receiving blanket.

  65. Ashley

    December 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    I love this blog because not only do we get to see other cultures represented through your gorgeous photography, but you are teaching people so much. It makes me so angry to read some of the ignorant comments people leave on your gorgeous photos. Hopefully they learn something and move toward a more positive disposition and stop judging.
    I replied to a few commenters above and said basically this: people think that feminism and sexual/fashion freedom/expression equate showing off your body. This is simply not true. Feminism is about supporting women’s decisions to do what they please with their thoughts and appearance. This means that a girl can wear a thong and a crop top or a pashmina and gloves. Support what women choose to wear!

  66. ruki

    December 15, 2014 at 4:42 pm

    ah, if she wears this for protecting herself from *darkening sun* it’s okay but if she is wearing this cause of her religion it is ugly- or did I misunderstand there sth???

  67. monalisa2

    December 19, 2014 at 12:43 am

    The reason for the gloves is simple – its to protect their skin from the sun. They do not want to tan and get darker. Many in India (and not jut there) consider that the lighter the skin the higher the prestige and desirability of a woman. Sad.

  68. s

    December 29, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    across asia, the lighter your skin, the better. Women’s lives are deeply affected by their marriage and looks play an important part in being chosen by the right (rich) man.
    Lighter skin is also a status symbol with roots in the fact that poor farmers tend to have darker skin while the traditional land owners who had time to sit inside had lighter skin.

  69. malvi

    June 5, 2015 at 6:47 am

    As an indian woman, who has spent all her 27 years in India, let me tell you that a lot of young females wrap their stole around their face and wear gloves when they are travelling out in the sun, irrespective of religion. Many young men too cover their faces and hair with two bandanas, and wear shorter open finger gloves. The reason perhaps that the men are not protected from the sun in these particular photos are because they are older. Generally the older men and women have not adopted this trend, it’s followed more by those who are below their 40s. And yes, those who do this immediately remove all their coverings the moment they park their vehicles in their school/college/office.

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