This is what it sounds like when a brown girl speaks her mind.
Aranya Johar is a Mumbai-based poet who performs in and curates open-mic events around her city in India. Earlier this year, Johar took to the stage at Tuning Fork, a comedy and music cafe in Mumbai, to speak about the double standards, misogyny, and sexual harassment that women face.
“The first boy who held my hand told me boys don’t want to hear about vaginas bleeding. Younger me could smell the misogyny,” she said in a video of the performance.
She then refers to the Nirbhaya case, a term used in India to talk about the December 2012 gang-rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in Delhi that triggered mass protests and demands for change.
“Not just me, my mother sisters, friends all quicken their pace post 8:30 in the evening. My mom telling me to wear skirts out less often, Nirbhaya and more, left forgotten,” Johar said. “We don’t want to be another of India’s daughters, do we?”
“So I wear my jeans long and wear my tops high. Don’t show my cleavage or a hint of my thighs. Don’t want to be mistaken for wanting it.”
Johar’s performance, titled “A Brown Girl’s Guide To Gender,” has gone viral on social media, attracting more than 24 million views.
In an interview with Hindustan Times, the high school student said that she’s hoping to pursue psychology or literature in college, and that she’s passionate about using poetry to spread awareness about mental health, LGBTQ issues, and being a millennial.
“I hope my poems make a difference at some level,” she said.
Watch Johar’s performance above.
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