Tourists come to Goa to experience its white-washed beaches, fun-loving atmosphere, old world-charm, traditional houses and friendly people. However, there are some who come with preconceived notions about Goa and Goans.
For many tourists who come to Goa, the first thing that comes to mind is scantily-clad foreigners on the beaches, and the same impression is applied to Goan women.
This article debunks some of these myths which have become stereotypes, thanks to Bollywood movies, which most of the time, showcase Goa's drug parties and scantily-clad women on the beaches.
WHAT GOANS REALLY WEAR
If the discerning tourists come with an open mind and leave the twisted misconceptions they have heard about Goa, then what they will be able to see is a community or society with a rich cultural heritage.
In reality, Goans, barring a few, are pretty conservative when it comes to dressing and it all narrows down to their upbringing. Goans dress up according to the weather or occasion.
Says Alison de Barros, 27, who runs a business in Mapusa, "It is very annoying to see domestic tourists ogling at women on the streets and beaches when they are in Goa. They come with preconceived notions of women in Goa being loose characters. And, the judgement is made by looking at their clothing."
She opines this is the peril of residing in a tourist state. "Tourists form an opinion of Goa from what they see on the beaches. It is time the government in its #beyond the beaches campaign makes an effort to change this image of Goan women that the tourists have formed," she adds.
On another note, it is not difficult to spot female tourists going all out when they are in Goa. Some believe it gives them the freedom to be even free with their clothing -- they forget their dress code which they so religiously follow back home.
Isabel D’Mello, a teacher from Panjim, says, “When it comes to clothes, Goans are misunderstood. Many people believe that Goan women wear skimpy and strappy outfits perpetually. But nothing could be further than the truth! The reality is that Goans are fairly conservative in their dressing style."
THE SKIMPY SIDE OF GOA
If one takes a walk on the beaches these days, there are hardly any Goans and it is the tourists who rule the roost. There are instances when Indian tourists have forced female foreigners to click pictures with them against their will.
The tourists rule the beaches, says Dr Vishnu Gadekar from Mandrem, "They come with a license to ogle at women. Indian men make their own inferences about Goa upon looking at skimpily-clad foreigners on local beaches. They think it gives them the right to ogle at them because they pay to come here."
Now, speaking about female tourists, some of them come to Goa and run riot. Far away from the glare of home, they find the freedom to do what they wish and, at times, cross their boundaries. This is the reason they have courted trouble with other Indian male tourists.
Senior journalist, Gerard de Souza, says the biggest danger for women tourists in Goa are other domestic tourists. "Men who move about in packs have the impression that Goa is one large bikini beach of willing women," he rues.
While female tourists in Goa can dress as they wish, the judgements are out when Goan females show a little skin. On many occasions, domestic female tourists have been at the receiving end of male tourists who come from different parts of India.
While the moral police are out making comments on how Goan females dress, there is hardly anything said about the way the female tourists go around zooming on rented bikes, revealing themselves. The reason: Anything works in Goa! This mentality certainly needs to change, and soon.