The new campaign #HaveShortsWillSmoke is becoming popular among modern girls ‘living in’ and ‘dealing with’ Indian patriarchal society. No matter how easy it might sound but for a girl, residing in India, it is almost impossible to grow up without being labelled as ‘bad’ or a ‘bad influence’. Now, what does the term bad stands for? According to English dictionary:
But, according to our society:
Bad; any girl who smokes, drinks, wear short clothes or has male friends and roams around carefree is BAD, and one must not be with her as she is far from being a so-called “Perfect Indian Woman”.
The campaign #HaveShortsWillSmoke aims to fight all kinds of slut shaming, and moral policing women have to face. Started by Bruce Vain, the co-founder of Spoilt Modern Indian Woman, and a feminist, it aims to fight all gender stereotypes. The idea of this campaign involves girls from all over the country to send them stories of wearing shorts and smoking, and they collate those images on their website and social media channels.
“The issue here is not about smoking, or wearing short clothes; It is that anyone who is an adult is permitted to make life and lifestyle-based choices. It is no big deal if a man smokes, or wears shorts, but if a woman smokes (legal at designated places in India), or wears shorts and skirts (legal anywhere in India), suddenly everyone’s all boo freaking hoo!”
-Pranaadhika Sinha Devburman, a contributor to Spoilt Modern Indian Woman
Their website has various guest writers who share their stories and bitter experiences they have had.
One of the writers says:
“The confusion from early on was, what ‘bad’ is. I didn’t have a boyfriend in school (which was a hugely bad thing then), I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs. I don’t lie to my parents; I don’t steal. But then I was constantly called the bad influence. Today I understand being different is usually equated to being bad, but the confusion kind of leads to a lot of negativity within a person. It kills the confidence and very often you feel alone. It is hard for a teenager to understand that being different is not wrong. You waste a lot of your energy and time on not feeling left out and depressed.”