Discussions and projects on 'empowering' women often make me cringe, I think often in a bid to shed a positive light on a terrible situation they unfortunately and unintentionally water down the dire severity of the situation they are trying to help. Sometimes they are a little too cutesy for me, often they seem to involve some kind of shaming, for instance going bare faced as though not wearing make up is unseemly and by the way look how fresh faced and great I look helping others with this selfie.
It is perhaps due to the necessity of red lipstick therefore in this project that I prefer it. The Red Lips project was started by Aditi Kulkarni, and was designed with the sole intention of reminding women "why they should feel powerful."
It's a space for women to be unapologetic in their appearance...
As a photographer, I have always been fascinated by the imagery of red lips. To me, red symbolizes power; it is a sign of strength and courage. This was corroborated further when rapper A$AP Rocky stated that dark skinned women shouldn't wear red lipstick...This inspired a movement where women of color posted pictures of themselves wearing red lipstick. These pictures were just one way in which women were able to fight back the beauty norms and instead revel in their own ideals."
Every woman who submits an image of her in red lipstick is asked to share what makes them feel powerful. It's a space for women to be unapologetic in their appearance and to discuss their power rather than somehow earn it.
On this International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women I would like to see more women choose to take their space and to reveal their power.