“The Labels”

Mental Health Awareness Supporting Project

I do creative photography for a few years. But social problems and mental health awareness is something that I want to highlight in my artwork more than anything now. This idea was not mine though. Tanya Arora, make-up artist with whom I have had quite many creative photoshoots, came up with the concept, and I happily agreed for it.

The problem of “labeling” people is more important than it seems, according to me. People put labels on others mostly without really thinking about what kind of feelings it can create in their hearts and minds. This is especially visible in the teenage group, obviously. Many teenagers commit suicide just because of other people bad opinions of them, and abuses. But in India young women are the ones who are being “labeled” a lot too (maybe even more than teenagers): you are always something wrong for people, no matter what you are. “Too fat”, “too skinny” (and the same girl can hear both as well), “too dark”, “too short”, “too tall”, “too hairy”, “too modern”, “too traditional”, and, of course, “slut” for saying “yes” and for saying “no” to a guy too, “too dependent”, “too strong” – the list can continue…

And if among teenagers the “labeling” is not justified, with young women things are not that simple. Who labels them? Pretty much everybody. Elder women do it maybe the most – the ones, who were once in the same position and also couldn’t reply anything – because had to disrespect themselves in the order to respect elders, but know that they will be justified now, because of their age; other young women do it for the sake of gossips and jealousy; men – for whatever reason but sometimes just because some of them were raised with the gender arrogance so they think they have a right to do so. Add this to that young women are restricted a lot, being feared a lot, never allowed to really be themselves, some people still wonder why many of young girls become so called “aggressive feminists”. It is not normal to be rebellious in your 20s psychologically already, yes, but it is absolutely normal reaction to happen when you are pressurized a lot mentally. Even if you were “conditioned” for this, how many people believe.

Foreigners are not in better situation in India too. Apart from usual “labels”, people consider it totally normal to call them “easy girls” and “sluts” just because they are from another countries, because of some stupid movies and stereotypes. Which puts foreigners in bigger risk of harassment. They are also considered to be “rich”, which puts them in bigger risk to be fooled in prices or robbed. Foreigners are considered to be unable to cook by many people in India. Why? I don’t know. And even if foreigners do live in India, they are still considered to be “outsiders” if they have different opinions. Foreigners are being enforced to follow Indian culture often – something that they weren’t even conditioned to, and if they don’t – Indian people feel “offended”. But in the same time many Indian people abroad don’t want to give up Indian culture and most probably would call it racism, in case of some enforcement. And foreigners are still being judged by elder women, young women, men on the streets and public transport. For no reason.

India has a high level of suicides among women. So it is no joke. Of course, many people will say that why do even women listen to those words, they should not just care about whatever anybody says. It is right, of course. But we never know what really people are going through in their lives, they might be already mentally weak because of some personal circumstances and your “label” will be accepted worse than normally by them in such case. Shouldn’t we talk instead about why do we think that we have a right to judge other people, their looks, their habits, their mindsets and their lives? We are just people and we are all different, it is absolutely normal. Who are we to judge, really?

If you want to support this project, please share it on your social media accounts.

Instagram accounts of photoshoot team:

Model: www.instagram.com/tulaybytanyaarora

Make-Up Artist: www.instagram.com/tulaybytanyaarora

Studio: www.instagram.com/delhiphotographyservices

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