Meet Rupi Kaur. A Canadian poet, originally from India who is the author of the book Milk and Honey. A young indie writer with a staunch feminist voice, Kaur had remained for the most part, well, indie. That is, until yesterday.
In response to Instagram taking down a photo she had posted one day earlier in which a girl (possibly her) lays on her bed, back to camera, in sweats and a T-shirt with a stain of blood in her crotch, Kaur went to war. And won.
Kaur has since become somewhat of a social media legend, obtaining over 52K likes on Facebook alone as a response to her bravery.
On both her Tumblr and Facebook page, she began with, “thank you Instagram for providing me with the exact response my work was created to critique.” Explaining that this photograph was part of a project for a visual rhetoric course she had been taking, Kaur wrote that her intent was to “demystify the period and make something that is innate ‘normal’ again ’cause rape categories in porn are okay. objectification and sexualization is okay. people getting off on naked underage women. bondage. torture. humiliation. abuse is okay but this makes them uncomfortable. that’s what this work is supposed to do. make you as uncomfortable as you should feel when you watch others get abused and objectified.” ⠀⠀
Whilst this confronting image stirred up fervent online debate with opinions varying from, “This photo is beautiful, this post is amazing. I am proud to bleed” to “I am a woman and can honestly say I don’t want to see this. There is no need for it. It’s not about censorship or women power or man power. It’s plain gross” to “If you find this disturbing – you’re an idiot! Lighten up, it’s fucking blood. It’s not like she’s licking it”. However varied people’s reactions, ultimately Kaur garnered more support than criticism, which in turn culminated in a people’s uprise against Instagram and the patriarchal, “misogynistic” values it is founded in.
The outcome? Kaur reposted the photo on Instagram, Instagram apologized, and finally permitted Kaur to keep the photo up. In the spirit of victory, on her Tumblr and Facebook page, Kaur wrote to her supporters, “it has been my greatest honour to witness your magic at work. it has been an honour to work alongside you. we are a force to be reckoned with.”
Photography by Rupi Kaur. ⠀⠀ ⠀
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