Hey world, be woke

Updated: May 12, 2019, 07:58 IST | Aastha Atray Banan

Shafali Chadha of That Woke Ladki just wants you to sit up, pay attention, and then try and make a change

Hey world, be woke
Dr Priyakshi Chaudhry

The post that made us notice the Instagram account, That Woke Ladki (TWL), was titled, Why Sex Hurts (For People with Penis). On the post, Dr Priyakshi Chaudhry, in collaboration with TWL, explains why men suffer from pain in their genital area, the psychological and medical causes behind it and treatments for the same. Other posts on the page deal with misconceptions about sex, LGBTQ dilemmas, body positivity talk, and issues related to gender and women safety. In short, everything that one should know about and understand, in the hope of being 'woke'.

The young woman behind the page is 21-year-old Shafali Chadha. A student of B.El.Ed (Bachelor's in Elementary Education) at Shyama Prasad Mukherji College in New Delhi, she started the page three years ago with the name @iteachlearning, on which she used to upload educational blogs. "I was six months into my teacher training course and I wanted to share whatever I was learning there," she says. However, due to a tough time in her personal life, she left the page mid-way, only to come back stronger last year, and to fittingly then call it That Woke Ladki. "It started out as an outlet for me, but eventually became a platform I could use to spread causes I feel for. I remember reading Making Wisdom go Viral on [host and motivational speaker] Jay Shetty's YouTube channel, and I think that's how I'd put it — I want to make being 'woke' go viral."

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Well, she is surely doing her bit. The Why Sex Hurts post had follower comments that were very telling of the impact. For example, one follower said, "Wow, 18 years I've had it and didn't know nearly enough about my penis." For Chadha, it's all posting content that is diversified. "We curate and post content from varied social justice movements. There's no one issue we're sticking to. So, we'll be posting about feminism today, then mental health tomorrow and body positivity after that. And, when you think of it, these are all related to each other in some way or the other. All sorts of posts have done well on the page, especially related to sexual health and intercourse because I think that's an area not much talked about." Some posts have gone viral — like a video from a farmer's march, which was reposted by Dangal actress Zaira Wasim, and another poem on female masturbation. "Apart from that I've been in the process of making a series of videos on legal literacy for women in collaboration with iamprone.com. I've recently planned to start a support group for sexual assault survivors in Delhi (I am one). I'll organise our first meeting once I'm done with my exams."

Chadha credits her course, from which she is graduating this year, as being a major influence on who she has become. "The course content, the faculty of our education department and our classroom discussions in general have been very liberal and left-leaning spaces. So, I've been very vocal and 'radical' in college and outside since the past few years because of this," says the young woman, who is also a poet and an artist. "I was one of the people, who founded the poetry society at my college. I love to dance and doodle and paint well. On top of that, I enjoy consuming varied forms of art — I'm an art fanatic, in general." For now, she wants to make That Woke Girl an offline community as well, along with releasing more video content and going regional. "I think the main characteristic I bring to this page is my will to make a difference — make a change. No matter how small or big it is."

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