No matter what you’re doing or where you are, people, regardless of their gender, will judge a woman based on what she’s wearing. From uncles and aunties, to men who just can’t staring, what a woman wears becomes everyone’s business as soon as she steps outside her house. 

Now if you’re wearing a saree with a blouse, you’re totally sanskaari. But if you wear the same blouse as a crop top with denims, tauba tauba, you’re totally asking for the looks. 

Priyanka Shah, a 19-year-old, shot a photo story where she captures the expressions of people around her while she’s dressed in a ‘questionable’ way. How people look at you is rather intriguing and this photo story sheds light on something really disturbing. 

Take a look:

Speaking to ScoopWhoop, Priyanka told us what inspired her to do the photo series. She said: 

So I was in a class called “photography as a message.” And this has been a message that I have wanted to convey since a long time. I have been living in Bangalore alone for a while, and may it be Mumbai or Bangalore or any place for that matter, being a girl, our clothes have always mattered so much. Whether we wear shorts or are fully clothed, we are looked at in the most negative way possible. Whenever I told this to people, most of them didn’t take it too seriously.

She added, 

I really wanted to show people what kind of looks we get, and how intimidating and horrifying they could be. The whole idea of the project was to show that whether she looks like an “alien” or “her clothing is so different,” it should never ever matter. Till the time she is comfortable in it, she doesn’t deserve such negative comments, rude behaviour and the nasty looks that she gets at every step of the way. People say that, “Obviously, if she dresses so differently, she will get looks, in fact even I would look at her.” I need these people to understand that there is a HUGE difference when you look in amazement and when you look with the emotion of anger, disgust etc.”

When we asked her how she managed to capture such honest expressions of people without anyone asking questions, she said, 

“Throughout the shoot, I kept myself hidden behind trees, bushes etc so that no one could see me and all their reactions were natural and nobody would pose or pretend. Nobody knew I was there until we left the place together.”

Let a woman be. What she wears is not your goddamn business. 

All pictures have been used with permission of Priyanka Shah