I have this terrible habit of feeling too much and I want to express these feelings in the written form. – Rupi Kaur
An Indian poet living in Canada, Rupi Kaur suddenly finds herself as the buzzword over the internet. Amazingly; it is not for her beautifully woven collection of poems; upon which she had worked so hard for so long, but for airing something that is as natural to women as breathing is for the living. In an age where the voice of the youth, our celebrities; are twerking live on TV, encouraging lust amongst their fans and glamorizing porn, our brows are raised but in the wrong direction. No one cares if there is pornographic content readily available all over the internet for all to see. No one cares if a rape victim lives a life of condemnation and rejection whilst a pornstar is hailed the world over for her ‘works’. What we do care about; is that the social stigmas, the taboos of old keep going strong, unaltered. If someone dares raise a voice against such stigmas or presents something that could strike a bruise, god save their soul for they are belittled with great fervour. Why do we give such acts of madness a pass while other less significant one’s keep getting censored? I promise you that today, we will find out why.
As part of one of her awareness campaigns, Rupi released a series of pictures of her own self menstruating. Yes eerie i know, but is it more eerie, weird or disturbing than porn? At Least they aren’t gross at the moral level, are they? Did these pictures make you uncomfortable? If they did, you served Rupi Kaur’s purpose. So did Instagram; albeit unknowingly. They deleted all of these from their website explaining how they ‘violate community guidelines’. Well done instagram, you just established yourself as the face of the patriarchy regime! All ‘because and despite’ of the stature you hold. And yes you lost a great deal of respect. But did you know that Rupi intended for this to happen? So that you do so and when you do, the ugly truth of this society is laid bare? Let me answer for you that no, you did not. Because the likes of you are well versed with repressing the no names. But not this time.
This serves as the first great case of a major social platform exhibiting patriarchal roots. No matter the country, no matter the education and no matter the veil, behind it all we all are the same; behind it we all love binding the obvious, the truth per se. Rupi then wrote an open letter to instagram which went more viral than Ebola ever did. Now you know which is the bigger virus of the two? Now you know which is a bigger curse of the two?
Her Open Letter to Instagram
‘Thank you @instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique. you deleted a photo of a woman who is fully covered and menstruating stating that it goes against community guidelines when your guidelines outline that it is nothing but acceptable. the girl is fully clothed. the photo is mine. it is not attacking a certain group. nor is it spam. and because it does not break those guidelines i will repost it again. i will not apologize for not feeding the ego and pride of misogynist society that will have my body in an underwear but not be okay with a small leak. when your pages are filled with countless photos/accounts where women (so many who are underage) are objectified. pornified. and treated less than human. thank you. This image is a part of my photoseries project for my visual rhetoric course. you can view the full series at rupikaur.com. I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility. my womb is home to the divine. a source of life for our species. whether i choose to create or not. but very few times it is seen that way. in older civilizations this blood was considered holy. in some it still is. but a majority of people. societies. and communities shun this natural process. some are more comfortable with the pornification of women. the sexualization of women. the violence and degradation of women than this. they cannot be bothered to express their disgust about all that. but will be angered and bothered by this. we menstruate and they see it as dirty. attention seeking. sick. a burden. as if this process is less natural than breathing. as if it is not a bridge between this universe and the last. as if this process is not love. labour. life. selfless and strikingly beautiful.’
As long as there is silence, there will be oppression; there will be a single handedly served justice. Oh how ironic it is sounds! In my own humble understanding of the world, it is not us, the people of the world that should fear, but the society; those in power who should fear us. They should fear their fate lest we awaken from our state, from the trance they ‘imposed’. Did it move you? Now what if i told you that these same people who exert power are already aware of what i said? What if i told you that they are forever petrified of our potential awakening, of the times where we would unite to fight up against them? It is the apprehension of their then consequences that makes them act in such a repressive manner. By this very same thought process, we finally know why certain things are banned, restricted, censored and condemned and why some aren’t. What matters to them, their throne and their patriarchy is found contagious and hence cleared off their view, all with a forehead dripping with sweat they won’t ever let us see. All because we have been blinded since centuries and we still let them slap this blindfold on us. But as i said, not this time. The picture below is testimony of the change we all can bring. But only if we were to awaken from our trance.
I tip my hat to Rupi Kaur for this tidal wave she so ingeniously created. The world needs more like Rupi Kaur. Yet amazingly we all have one in us ready to burst out. We just need to spread this message and let it be known that each of us are more resilient than we seem, that in each of us, there is a force to be reckoned with.
About Rupi Kaur: Rupi is someone whose childhood was scarred with low self esteem and disgust for her gender. Initially she made attempts to weave out a false personality but soon gave in to a life of contemplation. It was then she realised that all the while, it was not the disgust of being a woman that scarred her, infact she was proud of it, but it was the attitude she was treated with because of being a woman that made her feel disgusted. Emotions are a part of being human and if we repress them within us, we are killing the very human in us. She embraced her emotional side and decided to help those who couldn’t. Her book, ‘Milk and Honey’ is penned for those who’d want a hug when there was no where to run and for those who would look up to her as a tenderly shell to escape into. For more of her works and a beautiful confessions portal, head on to her website here.