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4-min read

How TikTok is Getting Indian Women To Stop Bothering About 'Log Kya Kahenge?'

If you search on Instagram with the #TikTokIndia, you will encounter a gazillion videos of men and women, boys and girls dancing to their heart's content, or enacting scenes from popular movies.

Jashodhara Mukherjee | News18.com

Updated:April 28, 2019, 1:51 PM IST
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How TikTok is Getting Indian Women To Stop Bothering About 'Log Kya Kahenge?'
If you search on Instagram with the #TikTokIndia, you will encounter a gazillion videos of men and women, boys and girls dancing to their heart's content, or enacting scenes from popular movies.

How often have you witnessed a woman from rural India, draped in a chiffon saree and sleeveless blouse, let her hair down and danced to 'Tera Ghata'? And then, she shot the video and uploaded it on a platform for the world to see.

Welcome to the world of TikTok. No matter what the Indian courts think about this Chinese app that has taken the country by a storm, the one thing that all users, and especially the female users have stopped worrying about is: "Log kya kahenge?"

Sample this: A quick search on Instagram with #TikTokIndia will throw up a gazillion videos of men and women, boys and girls dancing to their heart's content, or enacting scenes from popular movies. Look closely, and you'll notice another trend. Amidst all the videos sporting flashy clothes and shiny filters, you'll find tons of youngsters who visibly belong to the lower strata of the society. There is a certain rawness in these videos; they lack the luster and finesse of TikTok videos from Western countries, but in a way, offer an insight into our own countryside.

For long, women living in rural areas have been leading their lives shrouded in inhibitions; yet, TikTok allows them to experience a life that goes beyond stereotypes, beyond patriarchal boundaries and beyond the inhibitions that have hindered them. Or at least, the mere possibility of it.

For instance, take a look at this video:

Now, one's initial reactions on seeing this might be that of ridicule. But a closer look at the girls' facial expressions reveals something else entirely - a desire to shatter the glass ceiling stopping them, but the apprehension of what lies beyond, maybe? Or this one, for example:

Where else, except TikTok, have you seen women dancing this way, without a care in the world? Honestly, the easy availability of smartphones coupled with free high-speed internet had something to do with the TikTok phenomenon, as it is often referred to. But the fact that these women are actually willing to put themselves out there, knowing that their videos will be viewed thousands of times by strangers, including men, is quite mind-blowing in itself.

On retrospection, this is a strange kind of liberation, a kind of freedom that is both clandestine yet public. Clandestine, because in all probability, these women are downloading these apps in secret, without the knowledge of their husbands and their families. In a way, there is something rebellious about these videos as well. These are women who know better than to nurture dreams beyond the boundaries of their homes. Yet, with just a few clicks, they are managing to venture into a world that is completely unknown. Probably, that is where the appeal lies.

Before you dismiss the video and brush it off as just another woman making a fool of herself with "crazy" antics, try looking at it this way - these are real women who probably wouldn't mind a few people laughing at them if it meant giving their wilder side a chance to see the daylight.

Another way of looking at it is that TikTok is also offering these women an opportunity to explore their hobbies and passions, something that might have been nipped in the bud earlier.

This is another video we found on Instagram:

Do you see the woman behind holding a baby in her arms? That is rural India for you. The TikTok star dancing in front is a stark contrast to the woman in the back. In a way, this video presents the very dichotomy that we're trying to uphold - the deplorable voicelessness of rural women in India and a chance to shrug off inhibitions that TikTok has dangled in front of them.

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