Designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee Clears the Air Over his 'SHAME" Comment In an Open Letter!
The designer who was among many speakers at the India Conference 2018 hosted by Harvard University during his speech stated, " If an Indian Woman Does Not Know How To Wear a Saree, I would say its a Shame. Wearing Saree is a part of your culture; you need to buck up and stand up for it. It is the most beautiful dress in the world, and people across the globe admire it." And this statement of the designer has escalated a war over the social media. His above comment was much appreciated by the women at Harvard however, what he said, sparked the smoke of outrage among many Indian gen next girls.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee, the ace Indian Fashion Designer, has come up with series of an Open Letter backlashing the media for projecting his statement at the 15th anniversary of the India Conference 2018 hosted by Harvard University on 10th and 11th of February as an anti-feminist.
The designer is though apologetic about his use of "SHAME", word and accepted in his open letter that it was the wrong choice of the word what he did, however, responded in contempt to a leading media agency on converting the whole issue into an antifeminist affair. Sabyasachi said in his open letter, “What was intended to be a comment on a celebration of our clothing history and heritage became a debate on feminism. This is not a gender issue. Since the question was about the saree, women were involved."
In series of three posts marked as Part I, II and III the designer has written an open letter. Beginning with an apologetic confession, the designer stated, "To begin, allow me to sincerely apologise for the words that I used while answering impromptu questions at a conference at Harvard. I am sorry that I used the word ‘shame’ about some women’s inability to wear a sari. I truly regret that the way in which I tried to make a point about the sari enabled it to be interpreted as misogynistic, patriarchal, and non-inclusive – this was certainly not my intention. "
In the long not of 3 series, the designer concluded stating, he never censored the comment posted by the followers and is in favour that the world should make its judgement to have a clear view of the brand. One can shame me further and also can mark provocative headlines out of this letter, or choose to blacklist us as consumers. It is fair and understandable because it is your prerogative. for better or for worse, it will be business as usual.- Window To News
To begin, allow me to sincerely apologise for the words that I used while answering impromptu questions at a conference at Harvard. I am sorry that I used the word ‘shame’ in reference to some women’s inability to wear a sari. I truly regret that the way in which I tried to make a point about the sari enabled it to be interpreted as misogynistic, patriarchal, and non-inclusive – this was certainly not my intention. Let me provide some context for those of you who may not have listened to the speech I gave at Harvard. A woman had asked me to comment on the cultural taboo of young women wearing saris because, as she said, society tells them that it ‘makes them look older’. ‘What is your suggestion’, she asked, ‘for those young generations, to break that taboo and embrace the sari…’ Unbeknownst to many, this is a question I field often with friends and customers. The ubiquity of such sentiments in our culture, evidenced by the fact that this question was posed to me at Harvard, of all places, was hard-hitting and triggered an unfortunate series of reactions on my part. Sometimes, when you are that invested in your craft, you become hypersensitive to the negativity surrounding that which you love. #Sabyasachi #TheWorldOfSabyasachi
Now I have worked with the sari for 16 years. During this time, I have had countless open dialogues in various forums pan-India with women of all age groups and income brackets about the constant barrage of negativity surrounding it. Yet another question of ageism and the sari at Harvard triggered a lot of pent-up frustration that I have accrued for that segment of our society which constantly expresses disdain for this piece of Indian heritage. It is this frustration that I unfortunately generalised to Indian women in response to the question, when I now see that I should have framed it as a call to stop shaming the sari and whomever chooses to wear it. I am passionate about textiles and our heritage, and I am sorry that in the heat of that moment, I allowed this passion to be misplaced. I take full responsibility for this. On the topic of the sari, I ask you today: how many times have you or someone you know encountered this issue? Body shaming, attaching connotations of ‘Auntie Ji’, calling them sloppy; these are all ways that some men and women alike belittle the sari (and, more accurately, the wearer of the sari). These comments are laced with sarcasm and connotations of cultural repression and backwardness. Many women, young and old, are scared to have an outing in a sari because it is shrouded in so many layers of taboo and controversy, often citing inability to correctly drape a sari as an exit point. We are a celebrity-obsessed country, and yes, it does affect consumption patterns and social behaviour at-large. Some consumers are being conditioned to believe that the sari ages women, and you will see the evidence of that clearly documented by so many social media trolls targeting celebrities online. Isn’t that shaming, or shall we call it cyber-bullying? Yet we are often complicit in this, which may even be welcomed by some to encourage more traffic to a website/blog. #Sabyasachi #TheWorldOfSabyasachi
Also Read: Sabyasachi Mukherjee: If an Indian Woman Does Not Know How To Wear a Saree, I would say its a Shame!