Digging deep into human history and tracing our histories back to the earliest forms of primitive humans, the perspective and living experiences of men have been considered to represent those of humans overall. When it comes to the other half of society or a female perspective, we often find blank spaces; shaped in the form of a deep-rooted disparity; a female shaped absence.
These silences penetrate our films, media, movies, our stories and the societal treatment of women. Often I find myself coming back to an excerpt from Katie Couric’s Our Declaration of Independence from a Man’s World that aptly states. “One hundred years after women won suffrage, we still live in a world where men hold the vast majority of power and women are consistently undervalued relative to them… it is time to declare our independence and proclaim the start of an exciting new era for women.”
As women living in a man’s world, our mere existence stands to be an act of rebellion. Rupsha Bose, an artist, writer and author paints a strong picture of the lifelong war waged by women trying to break free from the shackles of a patriarchal system that scrutinizes and polices the female body at every juncture. Putting forth her personal experience through a heartfelt note and powerful imagery, she sheds light on the challenges of being a woman.
“Why don’t you cover your head or face before your in-laws or neighbours? Says a mother-in-law or husband or a random relative to a woman (not specifying any religious practices here though the purdah system is prominent in many religions and cultures). What’s wrong with showing our face? Oh! I get it, people will gaze and get feelings and leave an evil eye or is it to just suppress the female power and strength?”— An excerpt from Rupsha Boses' Women at War
Bose takes a thoughtful, biblical, and a stark narrative approach to portray the patriarchal stampede that crushes down the dreams and hopes of every young women, even in this day and age. From warzones and workplaces to family foundations; our progression hasn’t come without challenges, least of all being the big fat ‘gender bias’.
As Bose puts it “Our mouths are taped with paid tabloids that burn us from within and eat us like leeches. Our faces are painted with smiles that mask the pain we behold. We are still biologically inferior, says the head of the family when he forgets he was born from a woman.”
Turning the tide through an artistic note penned to remind women to overhaul the system and write their own narratives, Rupsha asks us to let the ink bleed and to take a step forward in putting our stories and struggles forward. The artist uses a written and visual medium that consists of a strong photo series, delving into the war battled by women each day; one that can only be won by “...speaking up to every belief system that chains us to rusted window frames and jails us within chipped walls”.
View her work here.
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