While there is absolutely nothing wrong with the #Metoo Movement and other such movements that bespeak the violence against women, what I find problematic is the fact that the media tends to portray just the victimisation aspect of women’s life.
In an interesting move away from this, Pantene’s new promotion ad celebrates the sunnier aspects of women’s lives.
Launched last month, the ad features the moving stories of eight such women, one among whom is the famed athlete and LGBTQIA activist Dutee Chand. Apart from telling about her awe-inspiring journey, she also shares her coming out as a lesbian, “ How I lead my life is up to me. It is not a crime. I’ll do what I feel right.”
Accompanying the ad is also the hashtag #freedomhair, which has begun a campaign of talented women coming out and sharing their journey to success, regardless of the hardships.
On one hand, one definitely needs to acknowledge the zeal with which various media had been bringing forth the narratives of horrors committed against women and helping voice their hereby suppressed voices. However, it all gets too overwhelmingly irksome after a point of time.
Media, Kindly Shift Your Lens
One cannot deny the importance of these fearless voices standing up for themselves. But the rarity of them being accompanied by these women’s personal successes is where the media’s failure lies.
Focusing just on what has been “done TO” them and less on what they “ACHIEVED” in their lives is what is unjust.
It yet again folds back to the fossilized yet much alive notion of a woman being defined by what has been done to her body rather than her own subjective definition of self.
What’s It With #FreedomHair?
While growing up, I recall my grandmother often reprimanding me and my younger cousin for roaming around the house with our hair open. For some reason, in several cultures, open hair is associated with inviting negative energies or ‘bhoot-pret’ too maybe!
But, one might argue that doing so is linked with controlling women and their sexuality (as hair has long been symbolic of sexuality). Schoolgirls, as well as ‘sabhya naaris’, are supposed to meticulously braid or tie their hair in buns. This is one means to discipline them or say tame them.
This brings to mind Goddess Kali, who is characterised by her flowing black hair, slaying demons with her untameable weapon-wielding hands. It is ironic that in a country where we worship Kali, we are made to suppress ourselves and not reach Kali-like state of empowerment.
Open hair thus, for several of us women signifies coming out of the boundaries we’ve been shut in and living life on our terms.
Thus the #FreedomHair in a real sense connects with millennial young girls and feed them with a sense of empowerment and not just with the brutalities that have been trying to put them down.
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