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Mansi Khandelwal

IWB Blogger

Judged For Every Choice, 19 Y.O. Priyanka Takes IWB To The Dark Reality Of Our Streets

  • IWB Post
  •  February 17, 2017


Will there ever be a world where people will stop judging one another? Treat the other being for who they are and what they do instead of what they wear and how they look?

I would love to live that day…

For a girl, I feel the battle gets tougher. Being shamed for wearing shorts and not acting like a girl, I have been there. So recently, when I saw this compelling photo story by a 19-year-old, it made me pause and ponder on the fact that not much has changed over time.

Priyanka Shah, a budding photographer and student of Shrishti institute of Art & Design, is currently pursuing film and creative writing in Bangalore.

Priyanka who was deeply hurt by the way society perceives women by their looks and clothes decided to change these limiting perceptions through her powerful photo series. In conversation with Indian Women Blog (IWB), Priyanka explained to us her expectations and concern with the society.

Photo series

IWB: Decode your emotions the moment you realized someone was staring at you or judging you during the project?

Priyanka Shah: Judging people, giving them weird looks, speaking in a harsh manner, using cuss words, made me and my friend extremely sick and uncomfortable. Honestly, we don’t have a problem with people looking at us but there is a thin line between looking in amazement and scrutinizing another person.

Photo series

IWB: How do you think your lifestyle would be different if there were no judgments?

Priyanka Shah: I feel without judgments one would be more confident. We would then not be conscious in stepping out into the world. I mean, I would not be conscious about wearing anything anymore. With these judgments and stereotypical notions, the whole idea of wearing something that you love is lost.

Talking about the way our society perceives certain things, it felt so offensive when I heard people saying, “Why is she even wearing these clothes, you should make her sit nude instead.” “She is practically wearing nothing, so obviously people will stare.”

So the whole idea of my project was to tell people that one should wear whatever one wants, no matter if it’s an oversized t-shirt, shorts or a salwar suit.

Photo series

IWB: What is the scariest part of the societal judgment for you?

Priyanka Shah: For me, the entire thing is scary and intimidating. And in such situations, there is no fighting back, you either walk away or politely ask them to leave.

IWB: What was the most sexist experience you have had on the streets?

Priyanka Shah: It was when people started laughing loudly and passed comments like “Cheee ye kaise insaan hai.” And then there were the men who tried taking selfies with my friend, was quite disturbing.


Photo series

IWB: One message you’d like to give to girls who have encountered any form of the societal judgment.

Priyanka Shah: I’d like to say that whatever happens, be confident, love yourself, and don’t let any negativity bother you. Most importantly, stand for what you believe in.

IWB: How differently in your opinion does a woman judge a woman as compared to a man?

Priyanka Shah: I believe judgments are judgments. Age and gender have nothing to do with it. So, the whole idea of judging is wrong!

Photo series

IWB: On a personal note, “What is your favorite subject to click?”

Priyanka Shah: Oh I absolutely love to capture portraits. Click people and show their stories through my pictures.

IWB: One photo memory you’d always cherish?

Priyanka Shah: Ummm, a series of portraits that I clicked in Ethiopia hold a very special place in my heart. I learned a lot from that project and I got very attached to that place. It was a different world altogether with no negativity and just the love.

Photo series

While coming to an end of our conversation, I asked her, “What has changed in your personal life since the last project?”

“This project has taught me a lot. I am much more aware of the situations and am more conscious of my surroundings now than I had ever been before.”

Pictures have been taken from Priyanka’s facebook handle.

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