liberation
[All photos courtesy of Nandini Munjal.]

I never understood your curiosity and deal behind grazing my thighs instead of my hands.

So once again in the library, my head was in the book and your hands reaching the hem of my skirt.

They were sitting behind us recording it from the angle, my character got questioned, but your inability of reaching further got ignored.

Lack of my knowledge about my own body made me the class slut.

My 16-year-old self never understood that them calling me a slut didn’t make me one. But me believing them surely made me hate myself.

Liberation is something you understand when you get it. The stigmas, the taboos which come with the female body have been slowly killing society. The hypocrisy of it all lies in how the female body is sexualized without even exploring it.

A lot must have been forgotten for it to have taken so many movements, so many voices for decades to show what femininity is made up of. A lot must have been said that even today, we have to stand on roads and scream to not be silenced by misogyny.

My photo series is on the subject of female sexual liberation. It is a series of self-portraits that represent emotions charted for one monthly cycle, starting from the first day of one menstruation cycle to the first day of the second menstruation cycle. These 28 pictures show the power in knowing oneself.

So before someone can question them, women wear their sleeves a little longer than the weather allows; they wear skirts with hem a little lower than what their hearts want. They get embarrassed when they see a spot on their dress because it’s that time of the month again.

“Touch was never meant to be a luxury, it is a basic need. It is an action that validates life and gives hope to both the receiver and the giver.” – Irene Smith

From an early age, girls are taught how to be aware of their body without knowing it. When in sex education classes, the vulva, clitoris and other female organs are not talked about and girls grow up hearing about how sacred their bodies are. When words like “shame” are connected with their body, women find it better left untouched. How will they think that sex is for their own pleasure and desires?

To understand femininity, we need to understand our body and the changes it goes through, and make a home out of it.

This photo series is to make women understand that their sexuality is not complicated. It is to eliminate the shame which comes from knowing your body. This is to know there is something wrong about to not talk about something that is entirely yours. This is to be aware of your body and to take charge of it. This is to follow the ideology of knowing every inch of it, every detail of it so that it could be taught to others. So that it could be taught to society.

I hope this photo series reminds women that you and your body are one step away from being together. All you have to do is greet it.


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