Embracing the slut inside

Updated: Jul 07, 2019, 07:54 IST | As told to Aastha Atray Banan

Fashion stylist Simryn Thind tells us why getting the 'slut' tattoo on her inner lip was a life-changing experience for her

Embracing the slut inside
Tattoo artist Vikas Malani inks 'slut' on Simryn Thind's inner lip

I have over 30 tattoos. I started getting them five years ago, and, like most people who get them once, got addicted. I usually get a tattoo in every country I travel to, because I want my body to be a sort-of map of my adventures. They are a reflection of my journey.

Though my grandparents are from Punjab, I grew up in Canada, and worked in Los Angeles before deciding to return to Mumbai. I have always lived the life of an independent woman, who knows her mind. It's unfortunate, but most people are intimidated or threatened by such women. I have been called a slut many times—either behind my back, or to my face.

Tattoo artist Vikas Malani inks 'slut' on Simryn Thind's inner lip

When someone says it behind your back, it's best not to even give it any importance, but if someone has said it to my face, I have just laughed and walked away. It's also because I don't like confrontations. But it's also because most of these people are insecure, and are being hateful because they can't understand your way of life, and end up judging it.

Recently, I have been called names on social media through direct messages on Instagram by people who don't even know me. I enjoy expressing myself freely but others will always judge. People feel they can use social media as a curtain to hide behind but they don't realise the consequences of their actions and how they are part of social bullying. It made me feel attacked, and shocked, that they feel it is okay to talk to a woman this way.

Tattoo artist Vikas Malani inks 'slut' on Simryn Thind's inner lip

It was when I attended the SlutWalk in LA that I became aware of the intense need to reclaim the word 'slut'. It was a great experience at the gathering, where all these women came out and expressed themselves sexually, in a safe environment. It got crazy. We dressed up in lingerie, danced and sang. It was all about reclaiming the 'walk of shame', which is the walk the woman undertakes the morning after a one-night stand back home. It's making that act okay, because that's what it is. It's all about sexual freedom.

And so, I decided to get the "slut" tattooed on my inner lip, and it even hurt less than getting it on a bone. It was so easy. I chose the inner lip because it is hidden, but also looks super bad**s when you show to someone. My friends scoffed, and said that I would never go through with it. I had to prove them wrong. Also, even people close to me didn't understand it. They have asked me, "What is the point of this?" They called me crazy, and I have been laughed at as well.

Well, the point is just this. It's to remove the negative connotation attached to this word, by putting it on my body. It's also a lighter way of discussing a serious issue. A tattoo is art, and what better way to make a point, than by using an artistic medium? I hope it's a step towards making the word, a positive one, because being called one is not a reason to feel bad about. This tattoo is my statement, and I am not ashamed.

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