Gender neutrality in traditional Thameez clothing

Did you know that Thamiz men and women wear different clothes for most of the history of clothing? In conjunction with Vitamin Stree, I have illustrated three examples of the gender liquid clothing culture that was prevalent in ancient and medieval Thamizgam. Read on for insights into the gender neutral history of traditional Thames clothing.

The oldest Thamiz text, written about 2500 years ago, contains several female poets. Socio-cultural pursuits were not limited to men. Much like the social role, the dress of Thamiz men and women was not very different even towards the end of the Middle Ages. Sandalwood paste was one of the oldest cosmetics used by every gender in ancient Thameez society. Men and women will also decorate their hair with flowers and use natural fragrances. Stretched earlobe piercings were a major gender neutral fashion trend, especially in the Chola and Pandya kingdoms. Pearl necklaces have been another hot fashion trend for centuries, worn by Thamiz people regardless of gender identity.

In traditional Thameez clothing, the rules of nudity itself do not change in gender. Towards the end of antiquity when aristocratic women in northern India started covering their upper body with sari, it was an accepted rule to keep the upper body uncovered irrespective of sex till early modern history of Thamiz Nadu. Men and women wear the same clothes and they share mutual love for jewelry. Although jewelry was worn by every gender throughout the history of the Indian subcontinent, the footsteps on the Thamiz Nadu had a unique gender neutral tendency. From the Maurya sculptures of Sanchi and Barhut to the Satavahana art of Amravati and Ajanta, only women wear ankles. However, Thamiz art depicts men wearing ornaments on their feet.

Gender-neutral clothing was not only a norm for the royal family in Thames history, but also applied to the oppressed caste divisions. Until the end of the Middle Ages, people covered themselves with marine shells and the skins, leaves, and ornaments of decent animals made of clay – however, nothing was exclusively “men’s clothing” or “women’s clothing”. Men and women share the same dress code and work together in paddy fields and other social spheres.

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