Culture

Saloni Chopra is using Instagram to change the way we talk about feminism

Using photo captions, the actor is smashing stereotypes

She plays the lead on the TV show MTV Girls On Top, but Saloni Chopra is better known for her Instagram account (@redheadwayfarer) whose captions read like candid feminist essays. The 25-year-old shot to fame in July courtesy a viral post where she questioned our great collective fear of the peeking bra strap.

"Life is like a Bra..." And women need to be more open about their sexuality. Whichever absurd person decided that it would be okay for a man to roam around shirtless, in his boxers, but girls can't even be seen in a Bra - surely did a hell lot of damage to our society. Did you know there are still people who have a problem with a girls Bra Strap showing?! The strap?!?!?! People that don't like it when the shape of your bra is visible from the top you're wearing. I've been around a few such diseased people. And you can't tell that they're affected by this narrow minded disease when you first meet them. They look normal. They make you feel wonderful at the start. They're the ones that follow bold models on Instagram & keep porn on their phones. They come across as extremely open minded. They'll talk to you about feminism and global warming. And trust me, it's usually that "Bra Strap" that arouses them in the first place - and then BAM! You're being told its "just for them to see". You should dress more "appropriately" in public. If you meet these diseased people, you could A. Send them to a Doctor, or B. Ask them to go fuck themselves. I honestly don't see what the problem with lingerie is? I wear it. Yes. Am I suppose to act like I'm NOT wearing it by hiding it completely? It's a piece of clothing that covers my breasts. Just like a skirt covers my legs. Or sleeves cover my shoulders. What's the big damn deal? The term breasts? Is it a girls Boobs that make this world uncomfortable? Are men THAT weak? I mean trust me, it's not like our boobs are holy or sacred. They're just.... A part of the body. Stop asking women to feel uncomfortable about it. Our breasts are not our "respect and dignity". Men flaunt their chests, while girls won't even hold a Bra in their hand publicly. Well... I will. Because I'm not ashamed of it. I have nothing to hide. Lingerie is not something that needs to be hidden. In fact, it's quite pretty, isn't it? I'm tired of women themselves constantly feeling like they've to be ashamed of everything. Pads. Tampons. Lingerie. Our body. Our desires. Sex. Let's put an end to that. Free the god damn mind. #FreeTheNipple @freethenipple

A photo posted by Saloni Chopra (@redheadwayfarer) on Jun 25, 2016 at 12:42am PDT

 

Finding she’d unwittingly started a conversation in the comments about how harshly Indian women are judged, she drove home the point with a five-part Insta series called ‘I am…’ Speaking in the voice of a rape survivor, a virgin and a victim of abuse, she laid bare the messy humanity behind these random labels. “These are the most common things women get judged on. It was a tribute to women who are unique.”

Her social media following has since exploded, with an addition of over 80,000 followers in the past four months. But it’s brought its share of backlash too. She says, “I try to have healthy discussions. I can’t put my opinion out there and then clam up if someone has an opposing view.”

Raised in Australia, Chopra was surprised by the popular understanding of feminism in India when she moved here five years ago. “Our idea of feminism is encouraging girls to become astronauts. How is a 14-year-old going to have big dreams if she isn’t taught to be comfortable with her own body or appearance?”

Chopra studied fashion but worked as an assistant director in Bollywood before landing the lead role in the MTV show about three girlfriends trying to make it in Mumbai, which tackles issues like abuse and body-shaming. Chopra has also faced sexism within the industry—she was told that she couldn’t be paid more than the male lead for an ad. “Many women in this field think that to be a feminist is to be a ‘feminazi’. Women with the reach to inspire people have, at some level, accepted the gender bias.” Chopra’s not about to let that happen without a fight in the comments.