Editor’s Letter: Why Celebrating Women’s Day Is More Important Than Ever
It feels strange celebrating a day dedicated to women when even the best of us face all kinds of gnarly situations both inside and outside our homes. Especially in India. And disappointingly more so in the country’s most cosmopolitan and progressive city, Mumbai.
Only recently, a 22-year-old girl from the #HauteSquad faced a deeply disturbing situation while walking to the station from office one evening. Some a**hole decided it would be fun to sprinkle her with itchy powder and watch slyly while she squirmed painfully, probably hoping for her to rip off her clothes in desperation to make the agonising itching stop.
In Mumbai, outside a crowded railway station.
Makes you wonder what kind of creeps are lurking in every corner, ready to trap you in unpleasant situations even in broad daylight.
When I first moved to Mumbai, I could take a cab home at 4 am from a shoot with no fear, even from a dark and lonely studio surrounded by a forest inside Aarey Milk Colony. The city is not so safe anymore. Women are not safe anymore.
The only good thing that came out of this scary situation? How the #HauteSquad and our office peeps banded together to help one of our own. And how this sweet 22-year-old (I refuse to call her a victim) was shaken but not deterred.
Later that night on the group chat, she literally told the rest of us going batshit crazy to calm our tits ‘cuz we are strong, independent women who cannot let shit like this bring us down. Or worse still, cower in a corner in fear.
In that moment, I was so proud of this sassy young girl.
This is but a small transgression that hit closer home. Women across the country face worse indignities everyday.
Which is why it’s important that we pay more than just lip-service to an event like International Women’s Day on March 8th. Because even though Hauterfly is a digital platform dedicated to seemingly shallow pursuits like fashion and beauty, it is important that I mention how empowering the right shade of lipstick or a good pair of heels is for a woman. The confident and assertive aura it adds to your demeanour is better than any Instagram filter. And trust me when I tell you how intimidating that aura is for creeps who will think twice before copping a feel on such a badass girl boss.
That is not to say you should be wearing lipstick or heels even though that’s not your vibe. You do you, girl. And kill it at both work and play, shattering all kinds of glass ceilings along the way. And to inspire you, we’ve featured some AMAZING and accomplished women in our second annual #WomenOnTop series this month.
First up is the lead actress of the Oscar-nominated film Lion — the seductively beautiful Priyanka Bose. To me, she’s the epitome of quiet grace, beauty, and intensity. And her journey from a rookie actor trying to make ends meet in Mumbai to hob-knobbing with the greatest in world cinema at the recent Academy Awards ceremony in Los Angeles is nothing short of inspiring.
Then there’s my college classmate-turned-world-class-screenwriter and filmmaker Megha Ramaswamy, whose short films Newborns (2014) and the subsequent Bunny (2015) premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival to much critical acclaim. Her latest project The Last Music Store (2016), is a beautiful ode to Maximum City’s beloved Rhythm House, which shuttered last year after decades of delighting us.
There’s also powerhouse designer Anita Dongre, who started her label AND in the late 90s with two sewing machines in the balcony of her family home. Today, she is the most profitable designer in India with over a 100 stores and over 200% revenue growth. Dongre has mastered that elusive yet potent combination of creativity-meets-commerce and elevated it to an art, making her a name to reckon in the fashion industry. There are many more dynamic women to look out for this month, so keep coming back.
As I said in my Editor’s Letter for our one-year anniversary last October, Hauterfly’s goal has been to create a digital destination that makes women feel good about themselves, makes them feel included, and makes them believe that style is for everyone. And fulfilling that promise has been one of my personal little wins.
So on Women’s Day this year, my awesome team and I are celebrating powerhouse women who campaign for women’s rights and gender equality with their own (big) little wins. Women whose achievements clap back for a more inclusive, gender equal world, where young girls don’t have to fear stepping outside the safe confines of their homes, and can freely unleash their varied potentials on the world.
So go forth boldly and be your own little revolution, ladies. And wear some fierce red lipstick while you’re at it.
Fashion crisis? Skincare problem? For the speediest response, ask me via Twitter on @zahrakhan or, if you need more than 140 characters’ worth of advice: firstname.lastname@example.org.