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Activist Rehana Fathima Shared A Video Of Her Kids Painting Her Topless Body. She Went Too Far

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Not just India, but the world has always hyper-sexualized the female body. In 2014, Netflix released a documentary titled Free The Nipple supporting the movement that goes by the same name. The documentary points out that it’s hypocrisy to show violence in films but blur out nipples. Women who advocate the campaign are doing it in an attempt to de-sexualise breasts and female bodies in general. That in turn, they believe will reduce sexual crimes against women and give women the same freedom that men enjoy. People argue that both men and women have breasts, with maybe difference in size; it’s just that women lactate and men don’t. The campaign was covered by media widely and supported by several across the world.

However, an activist in India, Rehana Fathima may have taken it a bit too far. She uploaded a video on social media of her two children painting on her bare torso. In the video, she’s lying down topless as her son and daughter draw flowers and other patterns around her neck, chest and stomach. On her Facebook page, she posted the video and wrote about how women’s bodies shouldn’t be kept covered and sexuality hidden like it’s taboo. And for that to happen, she wrote it should begin at home.

Well, I understand she wants to de-sexualise female body and her heart is certainly in the right place but by being a canvas, we are not sure. I don’t know if children – who don’t even understand sexuality yet – are equipped to handle the effects of this sudden topless-ness. If anything, they are still living in a culture where going topless isn’t an option. Several parents don’t try to cover up when their kids are really little but as they are growing up, nudity can get uncomfortable because during that age, boys and girls are grappling with the anatomy of their bodies. It’s a whirlwind of physical and mental changes, each one taking lots of process. Kids also may find it difficult to understand privacy and consent. They need to know that it’s not okay for an adult(even if it is their mom) to be naked around them and they cannot go around painting and touching bodies of people, like they are a drawing sheet. I don’t know how much of these things a child is equipped to understand.

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Police has registered a non-bailable case against Fathima. The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights said she should be booked under relevant sections of POCSO act and that the video should be taken down from social media.

Fathima is a liberal activist who was fired from her job at BSNL after she tried to visit the Sabarimala hill shrine in 2018. She also participated in the Kiss of love campaign against moral policing on PDA.

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