We’re sure most of you caught the recent (and not so recent) campaigns promoting equality for women. Being four women of a tumultuous age, we count our blessings for the support of friends and family who have always had our backs. We pick our battles and we definitely speak out when the situation calls for it, and this is one such example. #freethenipple, Vogue’s #mychoice and Rupi Kaur’s menstrual photos on Instagram have been celebrated as coming of age feminist campaigns. However, they have also raised many red flags (no pun intended) among the audience. We too have our concerns and we’d like to share them. We hope that our diverse yet united voice will draw attention to what went wrong and help shift focus back to the point!
The menstrual photos on instagram
Last week, Instagram was under fire for removing self-portrait photos of artist Rupi Kaur that showed period stains. The artist responded by calling it a patriarchal and misogynist move that’s unleashed a feminist revolution in social media. You can see the full series here.
While Kaur’s intention of tackling the stigma attached to menstruation is well-meaning, her execution and interpretation of the entire issue is a little difficult to get on board with.
The stained pyjamas and sheets, okay, that happens. But do you all remember the last time you posted your stained jeans after you laughed so hard that a little pee came out? NO! Because that never happens. Why? Because your bodily release of fluids and solids is personal and needn’t be shared on a public forum.
Periods definitely should not be looked down upon, but for her to equate a primal reaction of discomfort with misogyny is not acceptable. A man may share a picture of his perfectly natural morning dump or a by-product of his wet dreams, and there is a possibility of it being taken down by Instagram. But to call it a “man-hating” and “male-bashing” act would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it?
We agree some cultures and societies still shun “this time of month” for women but does it really qualify you to post a red stained toilet bowl online? We need to take a step back and reflect on whether these means of expression are really addressing the issue in an appropriate and constructive manner.
Perhaps, we can tackle the stigma by questioning certain practices that are highlighted in this article written by Twinkle Khanna.
Or by creating thought-provoking genius (not to mention hilarious!!) campaigns like the one below that remove the taboo from the “thou shalt not be named” event in a girl’s life:
Vogue Empower? More like #VagueEmpower
This latest video campaign launched by the leading magazine has caused quite a stir in society, although for an entirely different reason than what the creators had in mind. No sooner did India recover from the election battle that She once again finds herself divided into camps- the “women are the new men” feminists and the “that’s not how feminism works” anti-party.
The video works for the first 50 seconds or so where the focus is solely on letting the individual make her own choices, free from the societal scrutiny that most women are subjected to daily. But just when you’re getting ready to applaud, it suddenly slips into a dangerous tangent that condones bigamy, infidelity and a formidable sense of indifference which is extremely difficult to stomach or relate to. Undoubtedly, Vogue’s decision to focus on women empowerment comes at the right time and their efforts are commendable. However, the important question that needs to be asked is, are they sending the right message? Is Vogue’s #mychoice woman the model that the country should be working towards- a generation of authoritarian feminazis?
It’s unfortunate that this particular campaign by Vogue failed so drastically since a previous Vogue empower video featuring Madhuri Dixit definitely struck all the right chords against domestic abuse. #startwiththeboys
Well, so we all heard about this semi-hedonistic movement in the States. Boobs always make for sensational news, so why not use the twins to fight for our rights? It seemed like an interesting concept with #imreadytogoviral written all over it. But what really didn’t set well with the audience was the glazed glamour. Pretty women, flat stomach, great tits – where have we seen this before? The face of the campaign was not the average woman who we could associate with. They were all rich successful ‘goddess’ like celebrities who have freed their nipples for the camera countless times (Read: Rihanna,Cara Delevingne, Miley Cyrus and the likes)!
#freethenipple in the States
The movement soon caught on in Iceland (a less glossy version, mainly involving students) where boobies were unleashed in all their naked glory to fight for gender equality in the nipple show department. The argument was, if men’s nipples can see daylight why can’t women’s? Prolonged exposure to naked breasts, according to them, can lead to its de-sexualization. But unfortunately, that’s not how nature works. There is a scientific reason straight men devote chunks of brain cells to our mammary milk jugs. Also, men are not alone. Neuroscience has established that breasts double as truly sexual organs and stimulate the same areas in the female brain that genitals activate. Sorry ladies, we’ll just have to re-orient gender equality debates towards issues that actually matter. For now, #sparethenipple.
- Icelandic “Free The Nipple” campaign
Feminism first came about in the 19th century as a means to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. Ever since, this term has seen so many amendments that the early feminists would be appalled at the current state of affairs. Nowadays, we seem to forget that Feminism is a movement aimed towards equality and NOT supremacy. Dear feminists, please think twice before dropping that dreaded F word by way of frivolous schemes and campaigns. Let’s not undo the good done by many brave men and women before us who have fought so hard to bring about the independence we enjoy today.