Indian women may be seen by the outside world as repressed or demure, but we know that’s far from the truth. In Bollywood and across the world there are Indian women who are bold, intelligent and sexually liberated and this new Instagram series celebrates them in all their glory. Inspired by Pakistani-Canadian artist Maria Qamar’s #BadBeti campaign, non-binary Indian drag performer Abhijeet has adopted the hashtag to pay homage to the most iconic women in Indian history.
The original campaign was a defiance of society’s expectations of a ‘good South Asian girl’ and now Abhijeet is defying norms and vaulting over gender boundaries to express his appreciation for these 12 outstanding individuals. For the Chicago-based performer, these women were icons of his youth and the inspiration behind his feminine transformation so to portray them himself was a very personal experience.
Abhijeet’s series is as brave and unapologetic as the women he’s honouring, it flies in the face of India’s straight-set mentality and proves that no matter what your gender or sexuality the freedom of expression is available to everyone. With luck, the viral series will open minds and earn the Indian drag community an amount of respect that they so rarely find. It will teach people to respect all the #BadBetis out there and perhaps admit that India’s focus on uber-masculinity may not be the only way of life.
Check out the full series on Abhijeet’s Instagram page