Standing with Qandeel Baloch in My Stilettos


Standing with Qandeel Baloch in My Stilettos

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré


hen the first SlutWalk kicked off in 2011, I refused to be part of it. Women around the world were taking their right to sexuality back and within months, Delhi got its own version, the Besharmi Morcha. As my friends marched to Jantar Mantar, in matching t-shirts, which screamed that terrifying word, I hung back. To me, it was just another attempt to sex up and dumb down decades of agitation and political thought.

I grew up in Delhi, where attention, objectification, and aggression are divided by very thin lines. As a girl, I had taught myself how to navigate public spaces without being visible, claiming as little space as I could. T-shirts were covered up with stoles; dresses were reserved for nights, when I knew I would be chauffeured around. And I responded to both loud whistles and whispered slurs by quickening my pace, as I walked to school in my sensible shoes.