There has been a fairly recent eruption of amazing feminist accounts and sites that advocate for equality and girl power. It’s fantastic to see so many empowered women fighting for other women, touching all the corners of the world. Even so, it’s hard to find an account geared specifically towards south Asian women – many of whom have faced misogyny because of a culture that’s been cultivated over thousands of years. But then I found everything I’ve been looking for – The Indian Feminist.
I am blessed to come from a progressive family that not only supports women, but pushes them to excel. Even so, there is a thousand-year-old culture in India that impacts us and the ideal image of a brown girl. Things have gotten much better, but we still have a long way to go.
The Indian Feminist takes South Asian culture and uses it to show the misogyny rooted behind it. For example, they have a running slogan on their products that say “log don’t pay the bills.” A common phrase in India is “Log Kya Kahenge” meaning “what will people think.” The obsession with what other people will think is used commonly against women from doing what they want or forcing them to follow stereotypical gender roles.
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So often we chose not to do things, or aren’t allowed to do things, out of fear of log Kya Kahenga (translation: what will people think!) Who are these people/log and what are they doing to have such a huge effect on our lives?! If they’re not paying our bills their opinion is not going to dictate a second of our lives 💅🏻💅🏻💅🏻 #browngirlgang #logkyakahenge [repost from @theindianfeministstore]
It is this phrase that is used against women who might want to get a job or to persuade a woman to have an arranged marriage. The creators of The Indian Feminist flip the phrase on its head and remind South Asian women that it’s not those people that have to live with her decision. They have posts that start a conversation about everything from amazing brown LGBTQ couples to the incredible South Asian women making a difference in the world. Their Instagram account is a gem for brown girls everywhere.
They sell everything from kickass t-shirts to phone cases you’re proud to carry around on their website. They publish articles that have everything to do with feminism to LGBTQ rights and quotes from people all over the world.
The creators, Simran and Harsharin, are two best friends from New Zealand and children of first-generation immigrants. They view themselves “as members of the generation who are questioning outdated practices and mindsets.” Discussing everything from honor killings to “a rigid patriarchal system,” these two besties have created a wave of change for South Asian women.
The Indian Feminist opens a conversation about things South Asians have just accepted. Many South Asians are obsessed with having fairer skin. This often pressures women to go to extreme lengths like bleaching their skin to fit the perfect ideal of an Indian woman. Fair and Lovely is a brand of cosmetic products that profit off of this craze. When I’ve gone to India, every single store had shelf after shelf stocked with this brand – each one labeled with a promise of lighter skin.
“Through our artwork, articles, and posts we are all about shining light on topics that are often hushed or considered too taboo, and try to bring about social change by encouraging open discussions and challenging deep-rooted beliefs.” The Indian Feminist is not only a champion for women’s rights – it empowers other women to speak up about their struggles as a woman living in an unequal world.
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Ok I used to be so guilty of not doing this, I would look at opportunities and not take them or apply for them because I didn’t see myself as good enough or capable. I used to be so complacent with not going out there and making the world my oyster – but WHY THE FUCK NOT ME?? Why the fuck not you??? You ARE capable – whatever that thing may be that you’re too scared to apply for, or sign up for, you SHOULD go do it!!!!
Also published on Medium.