"Baby, now you're with me. So you got to stop wearing such revealing clothes."
"Itni gaali kyun deti ho? It doesn't suit you. I like you as my baby, you know."
"Why would you sleep with him on the first night? You a slut or what?"
No matter what women do, there's always someone ready to roll out their judgement and click their tongues. If a woman abuses, she's not angry or frustrated, she's just an ill-behaved person. If she sleeps with men, she's a slut. Even though the guy slept with her too. But that doesn't count right? Because he's a man and that's what they do.
Talking about this hypocrisy and speaking much boldly yet again is Saloni Chopra - a staunch supporter of Free The Nipple movement and an actress who has never minced words while speaking up for women. Earlier this year, she did a photo series smashing patriarchy and stereotypes and now she's back with another one.
This time it is a five-part series that chronicles the many complexities, agonies and intricacies of being a woman. It talks about the abuse, both physical and verbal, the lies we're told, the shame we are put through and so much more.
Here it is, in her own words.
The man. That fucking found me — approached me because I was an abusing, crass girl — the man that thought it was CUTE, telling me it wasn’t “okay” to swear anymore because now I was his girlfriend. I will never wrap my head around that.
"Men abuse each other all the time, you’ll watch a film like Omkara where every man starts & ends his sentences with abuses… You love All India ‘Bakchod’, but when women do it – it’s wrong? Your ears start bleeding! Because women are suppose to be classy and elegant and pure."
"But what if I’m not pure? What’s being someone’s girlfriend got to do with it anyway? Am I supposed to change who I am and fit into the criteria of a fucking girlfriend? So it's okay to pick up a girl who uses swear words, but once you make her your girlfriend, let's filter that shit out because “it was fine back then, we weren’t together”. Fuck that."
"It’s a different thing that I ended up staying in that relationship another year after ‘the talk’ happened because I was naive, but really. Fuck that kind of love. That’s not love. That’s double standards. I'll abuse when I want, how I want & if you as a man don’t appreciate it – don’t try to get into my fucking pants. Your hormones are so high when you see a hot girl that even her fuck, shit & bitch words sound like prayers to you. Her mini skirt looks like a lehenga. But a few months down the line, it’s do this, wear that – Yuck. So I am not girlfriend material. And baby, I am proud of it."
I know a love story of a boy & a girl that met at a friends birthday party. I know she liked him the moment she saw him, I know he liked her too. I know that night they got a hotel room, & I know they had sex. I never told her not to, why should I anyway?
"Why should anybody tell two people not to have sex? I know through that entire relationship, he never trusted her. I know he would check her phone & call her names & accuse her of fucking every guy he could lay his eyes on – and I know why. Because he judged her. He judged her for jumping into bed with him. Mind you not just any bed, but the kind that you pay for – hotel sex & women together is considered a whore house. Society doesn’t see the man that she enters the hotel with. "
"Men judge a girl for being too easy. Men disrespect a girl if she has sex on the first few nights – as though the act of sex is something that is completely for a man's pleasure, performed by the two of them. A lot of men don’t think a girl that’ll jump into bed deserves respect – to be honest, women judge other women for it too. Why? I don’t see society pointing fingers at the boy. Was she having sex with herself? I don’t think so. He’s a catch, he’s the ladies man, the boy with the swag, so much money, and she? She’s the slut. The untrustworthy, moral-less whore. She’s ruining the reputation of other women. Oh, how dare she? She doesn’t respect her body! So Men talk crap about her, Women too talk crap about her. "
"Soon enough, she’ll believe it too. She’ll start to feel like a slut. She’ll be ashamed of her sexuality, she’ll apologise for things she hasn’t done, she won’t talk to her guy friends, all because, she made the mistake of having sex with a boy, mutually. She even made the mistake of trusting him, loving him. ""Shame on her. Shame on her for having hormones. Shame on her for trusting him. Shame on her for thinking she as a human is equally entitled to feel/act upon things as he is without being judged. Shame on her for enjoying sex. Shame on her for existing, in a society like yours… and Shame on you – for letting her go through it."
Baby, I don’t like it when you show your bra strap. Please dress more appropriately?" "Baby, that neckline is too deep & your shorts are too short. Who are you trying to show your legs to?!” He then goes onto his Instagram feed where he’s following 8 models, 3 bikini models & 5 girls with huge tits all over his screen. Ummm yeah, okay.. “baby, that’s the fucking door – please leave.
"Trust me – good riddance. If you’re with a man who can check out half naked models all day & watch porn – but your bra strap & shorts are a shame to him – please walk him out that door. I have no issues with porn or bikini models – I like both — I have a problem with double standards. Men who want to watch those girls, drool over them, probably wank off to them too – but your girlfriend/wife? Oh no.. how dare you speak of MY women so disrespectfully? Wait. So you don’t respect the women you masturbate to? You want to see sexy women that aren’t ‘yours’, but you won’t be okay with your woman looking sexy (in public). Whoever thought women were difficult to understand, I wish you were alive."
"Let me tell you something, she – the woman next to you, putting up with this bullshit, insecure attitude of yours, she who even considers covering her body for your sake, let's you vomit these words – she’s beautiful. She’s very, very sexy. She’s not where she belongs if she’s putting up with your crap – but one day, she’s going to find a man who loves her, compliments her & feels proud when she walks into a room. He won’t blame her or change her, just because ‘men stare’. "
"She’s going to spend her life with someone who walks with her, respects her enough to explore love, life & sexuality with her – why, you ask? Because she’s gorgeous & sexy. You’re the reason she will be thankful when she finds him. Must know bad to value good, huh? Sometimes, she likes to flaunt her printed Bra through her sheer dress, she likes wearing her shorts really short & she enjoys her crop tops – but she’s just as beautiful in a saree – she’s beautiful in anything that SHE chooses to wear. Don't you worry, when she’s fed up of you, she’s going to find a man who sees her in her element & loves her for it."
I remember the good old talk, when parents tell daughter, “so he made a mistake, he slept with another woman, let it go. Think about your children, your future. How will you live? Be mature. He goes out & works late, it must’ve just happened — don’t ruin your marriage. I’d love to hear that the other way around!
"But I don’t remember anyone ever saying, “he's a man, his birthright is to fuck, and she's a woman, she mustn’t enjoy the act. Only the man enjoys it, the woman does it to please him.” You know that conversation, right? "
"I skipped it somewhere. But it must’ve happened. Why else would they deprive me of my rights? Is it our culture? No, I don’t believe that “auratein humare ghar ka gehna hai." I'm not a gold necklace, for god sakes!. You cannot weigh me, wear me, sell me, gift me, showcase me, or in current situations, even get tax on me."
"Where in my history is my orgasm forbidden? If anything, it is the act of the woman enjoying herself that leads to a man's orgasm. Think. Men don’t scream, don’t moan, they don’t call names – it’s us. We are vocal. But you tell me I mustn’t enjoy it? Or I must only want it when you do? What about my sexuality is so disgusting to you? Is it my sexual freedom… does it scare the shit out of you? Because it should. Anything beyond your control scares you. My past scares you. My future scares you. My education scares you. My ability to create life & nurture it scares you too! What good are you, when all you are is a box of insecurities and ego? "
"You don’t want to please me. You think this is all about you. Oh how wrong you are, I let you believe it, I let you live in your little bubble where you think sex is about your pleasure – but I’m bursting it now. I’m bursting your bubble. I cannot breathe the polluted poisonous air you breathe, where I am the mother, I am the sister, I am the nurturer, I am the goddess, yet I am deprived and locked up. Mentally, Physically, Emotionally. I am your respect, yet I am not enough. I am desired, but I am not allowed. I am to conquer everything, yet, I am not to be educated. I am to give life, but I shall never live the one I am given. "
It wasn’t always like this. We were madly in love. Of course, there was the occasional fight, but we were crazy about each other. There was so much passion. At first, it was small things. "Baby, if you love me, you’ll change that about you.” Sometimes we got into an argument – once he broke something. He was really aggressive. The next time we fought, he hit himself. I was really disturbed, so I left. He promised to never do that again. We went back to being perfect. Until one night, in the middle of a fight, he just...
"I must’ve done something. I must’ve said something. It was my fault. I pushed him too hard. He’s not okay. I think he needs my help. He needs me. It’s just a few bruises. Nothing serious. He was weak. I made him do it."
"You. Didn’t. Make. Him. Do. Anything. Where ever you are, if you're reading this – it wasn’t your fault. You didn’t make him hit you. It’s not your fucking fault. Stop blaming yourself. 90% of the time when a man raises his hands on you, you think HE is the victim & you end up thinking he NEEDS you – he needs you to fix him. No he doesn’t. He needs you to blame. He needs you to hold him. He needs you so he can abuse you all over again. He is a coward, if he raises his hands on you. He’s a bigger coward if he makes you feel like it’s your fault. He's weak & pathetic & dare you ever blame yourself for it. Your parents didn’t raise you, educate you & love you unconditionally so you could be beaten up by some guy. Nothing – absolutely nothing you say or do is a good enough reason for him to hit you."
"Every one has a choice to walk away. You don’t deserve physical abuse. Your only fault is that you stayed. You thought it wouldn’t happen again but it became a routine. A few pushes turned to a few slaps & soon you were bruised every 2nd week. You can’t make him to love you, when you do not love yourself. You can’t save anybody with lack of self respect. You don’t deserve this. Walk away before it’s too late. Walk away while you can. Before you go insane. You don't need to apologise all the time for things you haven’t done! You're Strong, Independent, Beautiful – & if you can’t love yourself, then who the hell am I fighting for?"
Watch her recite some powerful lines here:
Do not suffer, do not let yourself down and most importantly, take a stand. It's about time now.
All images and text used with permission from Saloni Chopra. You can view the photo story here.