Instagram has become one of today’s favourite social media platform. While a lot of people do use it for leisure, there are others who use the social media space for activism too. Feminists curate content on their accounts in order to advocate for women’s rights, Queer rights, minority rights and environmental rights. Here are our favourite Instagram posts for this year!
1. On the Question of Marriage
In the deeply entrenched patriarchal society that we live are a part of, women, especially the ones who have reached the so called “marriageable age” encounter the question of marriage very often. Almost everywhere they go, they have to face the societal pressure to get married and to start a family as soon as possible, because the older the woman, the less are the chances of her finding a “suitable match.” This leaves no opportunity for women to explore their sexualities, openly talk about their sexual health and their desires. Due to this, a lot of women get married at a stage when they are under-prepared and have to teach themselves about consent, boundaries and the fact that it is absolutely normal and okay to enjoy sex.
This picture is a part of an initiative by Nama London, an artist who aims to empower women and highlight the issues prevalent in the South Asian community, specifically focusing on women through her collection of hand-painted vintage denim jackets. She perceives this piece as a reminder for women to reclaim their bodies and sexualities and to remind them that they have a choice to operate at their own pace! #NamaSoch #BeingShameless
2. On Self Love
This image portrays a woman’s (Eleanor) journey of self love. She talks about how excited and thrilled she used to be to remove her body hair and have a “baby soft” skin. By doing this, she thought she could finally be “beautiful.” However, she came to realize that she was disgusted by her own body if she did not remove her body hair and if she was too lazy to do it, she would not leave her house! She realized that she couldn’t love herself until she was spotless and decided to be just the way she is and be loved for it.
Eleanor’s story inspires us to challenge the socially constructed norms of beauty and just be who we are!
3. On Abortion: Our Uterus, Our Rules
This post is about challenging the restrictions in abortion laws that were prevalent in some states in America where a lot of young women died almost on a daily basis, trying to get an unsafe abortion. Many women were fighting for the same and the artist expresses her support to them through this picture. Due to the fact that abortion was illegal, many women did not have access to safe means and most of them resorted to dangerous means which proved lethal in many cases.
Abortion is a right of every woman. Nobody but women themselves should have the control over their bodies. After all, our uterus, our rules!
4. On Gender Roles
Joyeeta, an artist from Kolkata challenges the qualities and characters assigned to men and women, culturally and socially through this sketch. Often when women reach positions of power, their capabilities are questioned and their success is doubted at. Due to the society constructed notion that success is supposed to be “male” characteristic and that women should be restricted to the private realm of their households, a woman achieving success is seen as someone dismantling the gender roles being assigned to her. Thus, successful women often come across this statement “you’re successful for a woman.” Joyeeta states that this statement is an “insult” as whether a woman is successful or unsuccessful in whatever she does, it has nothing to do with her sexuality, gender, and preferences.
Success as a quality should not be assigned to people based on their gender or sexuality. A successful woman is first a “human” and she should first be treated like one.
5. On Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding is important as it supports the health and well – being of both the mother and the infant and is one of the most ecologically sustainable way to feed an infant. Despite its benefits and considering the fact that it is a biological process, breastfeeding in public is still considered a taboo in many parts of the world.
The given picture was posted by a Canadian actress, Shay Mitchell on her Instagram profile feeding her baby which challenges the taboo surrounding breastfeeding in public. Through this picture, she is portraying breastfeeding as a beautiful and natural process and implying that there is nothing offensive about feeding one’s infant in public. Considering that it is coming from a well known actress, the picture also helps in spreading awareness about normalizing the act of breastfeeding in public and calling into question the stigma associated with it.
This is by no means an exhaustive or representative list. Suggestions to add to this list are welcome in the comments section.