"Nobody was my support. You have to support yourself, and I think that is the beauty of being a woman." - Kangana Ranaut
Just a few days back, I came across some unusual pictures on my social media. In those pictures, Indian women were wearing sarees but without a blouse. Yes! You read that right, without a blouse. I was somewhat stunned for some time. But then I thought what influenced them to take such a striking step?
I have specified the reason in the further story. But the motive of telling you all this is that now Indian women are not reluctant to take any brave step. If they believe in something, they will surely stand for it. And this is what we are going to talk about today, as I have brought a list of some powerful measures taken by Indian women that prove empowerment of women in the nation.
According to the sources, around 1000 women posted their images with saree sans blouse on an Instagram account named 'saree.man'. This was part of an Instagram campaign called 'Blouse Free Saree' in which women showed immense interest. The Saree Festival NO BLOUSE please challenge created a wave of Satvik no blouse dressing.
The 'No Blouse' challenge aims to promote the traditional style of wearing a saree without a blouse and a petticoat. In the past women used to wear sarees in this way to retain the purity of the unstitched cloth. Plus, it was believed that this way of wearing a saree makes women feel more liberated.
This was truly a very colorful rebellion on Twitter. After 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' was subjected to all kinds of roadblocks, it got released and accomplished positive reviews. According to the sources, it went through being called a 'lady oriented film' to being banned from screening for showing 'contagious sexual scenes and abusive words', it motivated women to come together to demand their rights to tell their stories freely.
The cast and crew of the film then started the #LipstickRebellion hashtag on Twitter, asking women to send their selfies holding their lipsticks, in a gesture which clearly indicates 'giving the finger' to patriarchy.
Celebrities including Konkona Sen Sharma, Ratna Shah Pathak, Alankrita Srivastava and Ekta Kapoor shared their lipstick rebellion selfies. They then invited other women to join them in the rebellion.
Women around the world are taking a stand against the harassment against them with a campaign called #MeToo. They are encouraging other women to come out and post this message on their social media profiles to show how being harassed is ridiculously common. It is sad that though it is a criminal offense, it has affected most of the women in our society.
According to the India Today, Alyssa Milano, an actress, who is also a well-known women's rights activist, shared a post on her social media accounts to spread awareness on the issue. Many women and men shared the post spreading awareness against sexual abuse.
If we consider an amount of posts that have been shared online since the campaign went viral, to be honest, it is shameful. This trend is important as it marks a shift from victim blaming, slut shaming, mansplaining and general patronizing to women speaking for themselves.
After the violent clashes faced by Delhi University's Ramjas College, Lady Sri Ram College student, daughter of an officer who died in the Kargil war started a social media campaign in February 2017, 'I am not afraid of ABVP', that garnered widespread support.
Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of Kargil martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, changed her Facebook profile picture holding a placard which read "I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me.
"The brutal attack on innocent students by ABVP is very disturbing and should be stopped. It was not an attack on protesters, but an attack on every notion of democracy that is held dear in every Indian's heart. It is an attack on ideas, morals, freedom, and rights of every person born in this nation. The stones that you pelt hit our bodies, but fail to bruise our ideas. This profile picture is my way of protesting against the tyranny of fear," she said in her Facebook status.
Following the post, Kaur had received abuse and threats on social media, including rape threats made against her by alleged ABVP supporters. According to News18, several celebrities including cricketer Virender Sehwag and actor Randeep Hooda later attacked her on social media.
Actor Kangana Ranaut showed her most daring and confident side when she came on Rajat Sharma's Aap Ki Adalat in early September this year. Every word she spoke, revealed something shocking about her life and controversies she has faced. She took such a brave step to speak on National television about the troubles she has faced.
Without lessening her words, the Simran actor shared her most personal and intricate details about her relationships, the emotional outburst she experienced after her personal life became an exhibition and how she stood against the film industry, which 'intimidated' her during this difficult phase.
#FreeTheNipple was launched in the year 2014 with the intention of providing equal rights to both men and women. Concentrating on aspects of freedom, protection and gender equality, 'Free the Nipple' has also raised a strong voice against female censorship. A massive movement in the West, several celebs have been its part to raise their voice against slut shaming, body shaming, colour shaming and every other shaming associated with the female body.
Saloni Chopra uploaded a photo on Instagram holding a bra and shaming the many that shame women for showing their innerwear. Her message read, "Women need to be more open about their sexuality. Whichever absurd person decided that it would be okay for a man to roam around shirtless, in his boxers, but girls can't even be seen in a Bra - surely did a hell lot of damage to our society. Did you know there are still people who have a problem with a girl's Bra Strap showing?! The strap?!..."
"Am I suppose to act like I'm NOT wearing it by hiding it completely? It's a piece of clothing that covers my breasts. Just like a skirt covers my legs. What's the big damn deal? The term breasts? I am tired of women themselves constantly feeling like they've to be ashamed of everything; pads, tampons, lingerie. Our body, Our desires. Let's put an end to that," she concluded.
"So let me explain. #FreeTheNipple simply argues that men and women should be granted the same freedoms, and protection, under the law. The campaign is asking for gender equality and opposing sexual objectification. But I should've known. Asking for equality? What am I thinking? A woman... a young woman… a young woman who works in television… asking for equality? She must be a 'pseudo-feminist!', an 'attention seeking slut!', a 'bitch!' Or that just because I wrote about girls feeling comfortable in their lingerie, one gentleman suggested that I'm a 'shameless whore that should now flaunt used condoms publicly as well'. Wow, stuff like that makes you wonder whether to laugh or cry.
So first, let us all take a moment of silence for all those who read the word nipple and immediately related it to sexual," Saloni said when she was criticized for supporting #FreetheNipple.
According to ISCA study, only 12% of India's 355 million women use sanitary pads during their period. 88% rely on cloth, ashes, and rags due to the unaffordable prices and sometimes, pure ignorance. Diya India Foundation along with actress Saloni Chopra and many women encouraged other to help underprivileged girls receive better menstrual hygiene by donating sanitary pads to them.
Saloni Chopra posted a picture on her Instagram that read, "Because every woman has the right to hygiene and safe menstrual days. You and I don't deserve this privilege any more than they do. Imagine not only dealing with the uneasiness and hormonal changes but also not being able to afford proper sanitary care in that one week? Let's help those who can't afford it. Let's start talking to our maids, servants, drivers, watchmen, and most importantly, the next generation. Next time you buy yourself pads, please buy a packet for someone who can't afford one."
Such instances are a proof of how Indian women are an inspiration model to many others in the world as they now are brave to stand for they believe in. Kudos to all such women of the nation.
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