I say it’s Fab! Thank you Smriti Irani!

Dear Ms. Irani, thank you, first and foremost, for taking prompt action and not brushing things under the carpet. Thank you for not making this about your dignity. Your personal dignity.
Yes, this is about the camera, the CCTV one she found pointing inside the trial room of a FabIndia showroom. We, the general public, have been made to understand that the camera had, over a few months, been used to record women’s trysts with the clothing chain’s over-priced, pretentiously-ethnic clothes of a dubious quality, as they got out of one set of apparel into another.
We understand that these trysts may feed the interests and obsessions of the many. Sure. Why not!
Someone or everyone (I wonder if having so many women sales assistants is of any impact (or help) whatsoever – in this case, it appears the store manager is a woman) among the employees at the store had the initiative – shall we call it chutzpah – to justify the act as a measure against shop lifting.
I can’t imagine how often would FabIndia clothes inspire thievery for the store to want to, have to, look at every woman walking in with a bag and some dough in it as a potential thief rather than a potential customer. The argument especially doesn’t cut it because there are, on an average, not more than two trial rooms inside any FabIndia showroom. Two trial rooms and always at least two women assistants. And never more than three customers at any time. Not unless there’s a sale anyway, which is rare as it is. So, I do not understand such a desperate need for such surveillance.
And therefore, there’s only one explanation. The most basic one. Men. and their viewing habits. They may be a humble storekeeper and book-keeper and the lady who just walked in may be a union minister, no less, but to these men, she’s just another piece of meat (remember that Scorpions number?). Or that Russian chick wanting to pick up something traditionally Indian. Or an upper middle class housewife who decided to pick up the latest kurta in their chikankari range. They’re all just another piece of meat. Boobs to slobber over, with equal derision and hate, to call her a whore and to use her images to fuel their fantasies; a minister, a foreigner, an upper class woman with a mind / job / purse of her own, in the end, those men manning the stores feel their power over them.
A click of a button and your privates are splashed over all social media platforms. How powerful is that!
The power of having impinged upon their privacy, of putting them in a vulnerable place (best part, without their even knowing about it). But their dignity, well, in the eyes of such men, no woman has any dignity. Every single one of us is the object of their viewing pleasure – the pleasure rather of “stealing” their dignity from them by robbing them of their privacy than by their actual physical form per se. That’s a scary thought, isn’t it? And yet, scary as it may seem, do you see that it’s not women who lose their dignity?
What’s dignity anyway? Is it something to have and to hold? To give and to take? If yes, then on what terms? What dignity are we talking about anyway? Who can claim to be dignified in the privacy of their bathrooms, bedrooms, and trial rooms now?
So why the pretense?
And that’s why, Smriti did the right thing by flying off the handle and making a fuss about it; God knows in another era she’d have probably simply brushed up the matter. To guard her dignity.
As for FabIndia, you’ve lost one customer in me for sure.

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