Regardless of whether or not you live in a conservative society, the spoken-word performance of a young Mumbai woman is a must-watch — and it’ll resonate deeply with women who experience oppression in their countries. 18-year-old Aranya Johar used her performance to call out the hypocrisy of her society and others, in which marital rape is legal, women are slut-shamed, and menstruating women are labeled “impure.”
In “A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender,” Johar doesn’t hold back as she slams the patriarchy (the video contains NSFW language for an important reason), speaking words that remain taboo in Indian society, and displaying her frustration and anger.
Women are forced to do these things in order to “protect themselves” from slut-shaming, sexual harassment, and rape — all issues that are prevalent in India.
She also refers to an acid attack that a 32-year-old man inflicted on a 15-year-old girl who “didn’t like him back.” Johar acknowledges that it’s not all men who behave this way — but enough do so that all women must live in fear. Johar mentions that she often needs to be escorted home by a male friend because his life is valued more than hers, therefore she’ll be safer.
Johar concludes by thanking her family — her brother who knows to treat women with respect, and her mother who is committed to making the world a better place.
She also thanks the men in the room for being there and doing their part to confront the rampant sexism in India. Because women’s issues are everyone’s issues, and men need to speak up, too.