The Occupation | Ch 1. Women, existing

The Occupation is a campaign designed to promote the occupation of ideas and spaces by women. 

In chapter 1, Nivedita Nair (filmmaker-in-making) and Priyanka Sutaria (Research Assistant, Why Indian Men Rape) have conceptualised this photo + poetry series titled Women, existing aimed at reclaiming the space women deserve to occupy in society. 

We watch the women around us measuring themselves everyday; the tucking in of the odd bra strap, sanitary napkins folded into black plastic bags of oblivion, a skirt tugged down in a constant of motion of self-consciousness, the shifting gaze which keeps a watch on the time as it gets darker outside. Our eyes are always watching out for people who might disapprove, training we received as heirlooms from our own mothers and grandmothers.

To contradict this idea of measurement, of legacies we did not choose to inherit, Nivedita and Priyanka created this series of women simply occupying space. These images, shot in early July as dusk recedes into the night, reveal the lives of women who cannot and will not measure their lives against manmade standards drawn roughly against their bodies and minds.

These are women, just existing; nothing less, nothing more.


Want to contribute to The Occupation? If you have any photographs of women reclaiming public spaces, share them with us on Facebook or tweet us at @whyindmenrape with the hashtag #womenexisting; or email us at for stories, ideas and everything else.

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