2016 was an eventful year but let’s just say that if there was a Best Year Award, 2016 wouldn’t even be close to winning it. That said, the year has been a good one when it comes to women redefining themselves. While many changed how quintessential Indian women have been seen, others stood their ground and fought for equality.
Many women forayed into uncharted territories and inspired us. Others used art to speak up about injustices and everyday casual sexism. All in all, we’d say that we might have a long way to go still, but this year was pretty freaking great for women.
These 4 women stood out against all odds, had shed their inhibitions and became the most candid. Let us see who !
Jwala Gutta spoke up about being sexually objectified by Internet trolls and silenced all her haters
From ‘Your boobs look great’ to ‘You shouldn’t dress like that,’ women are always at the receiving end of the ‘male gaze’, especially so on social media, irrespective of what they wear. Be it salwar-kameez or hot pants, they always get pulled in for luring men and giving them ‘dirty’ thoughts. Hell, even Sania Mirza was questioned for wearing her sports attire on the field, during a match. What do we expect her to play in? A saree? Will that be more ‘sanskaari‘?
Every woman in sports has been through the same thing over and over, be it Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Geeta Phogat, Mary Kom or Jwala Gutta. Either they are too pretty to play or too manly to be pretty. In a recent interview, Jwala Gutta, an Arjuna awardee, opened up about all the lewd comments that she receives. She spoke about how women in sports are objectified even after all their wins and achievements.
“Sad to say, it also highlights how we are hypocritical about ‘how a woman should be’. Also, have you ever seen such comments for male athletes about their various body parts? I don’t think so.”
Fu Yuanhui became everyone’s favourite Olympian after she unabashedly discussed her periods in a live interview
We’re sure you’ve all heard of Fu Yuanhui by now. The Chinese swimmer may have come to the Rio Olympics as a relative unknown, but her adorable antics have made her a household name almost overnight.
Her carefree innocence is wonderful to watch and that’s exactly what has made her the most loved athlete at the 2016 event.
But as it turns out, Fu isn’t all about goofing around. She speaks her mind too. About issues that are supposedly taboo in sport. Like a woman’s period.
After her final race – the women’s 4×100-meter medley relay – a reporter asked Fu about her performance and she said, “I feel I didn’t swim well today. I let my teammates down.” And when the interviewer asked if she was having a stomach ache, she said:
“Because my period came yesterday, I’m feeling a bit weak, but this is not an excuse.”
Navreet Josan, a makeup artist from Jalandhar, is shattering traditional stereotypes people associate with Indian women by taking part in a body-building competition
She got hooked to bodybuilding when she first heard of a girl prepping for a bodybuilding competition in her sister’s gym. Since then, there has been no looking back for this lady.
And she’s not just training for the fun of it, but also competing and winning on an international level.
The feedback she received were on the lines of “Girl, you are putting on too much muscle!” and “You work out too much”. But that did not shake her resolve or deter her grit.
Shattering female stereotypes can be a herculean task, especially when you’re a certified make up artist, where people think that all you can do is make yourself and others look pretty. And breaking a stereotype which has its roots in patriarchy tends to be a more colossal task when a woman takes up bodybuilding in India; a sport otherwise associated with big, bulky, beefed up men.
Anam Hashim, India’s youngest female stunt rider, made waves with her mad skills
Women don’t ride bikes; they either lean against them or the man riding it, we heard someone saying once. Let us introduce you to one inspiring woman who is crushing all such conventional views under a wheelie on her bike.
Hashim rode almost 2100 km all the way from Jammu to Khardung La top, the world’s highest motorable road, on a scooty twice for a TV show. In doing so, she entered the Indian Book of Records as the youngest female rider to scale the Khardung La Pass. She was only 20 years old then.
“Everyone told me stunt riding was a male dominated profession and it was nearly impossible to convince my parents for stunting. My mother still doesn’t approve of it. But, now when I see myself standing at such great heights, I feel it was all worth it.”