I have raised you right, says Pushpak Sen's mother as he takes stand for women

Updated: 17 November, 2020 13:27 IST | Ankita Mishra | Mumbai

I didn't want my relatives to think that my bravery is limited to a private space or only to people I think I can dominate.

Image courtesy: Facebook/PushpakSen
Image courtesy: Facebook/PushpakSen

Not long ago, a photo of a man wearing red lipstick took social media by storm and the message with it touched many hearts. Pushpak Sen, a digital content creator from Kolkata took to social media to share an incident where his mother was slut-shamed by his relatives for wearing red lipstick to a function.

As a comeback, he sent them a picture of himself wearing full-face makeup with the text “get well soon.” He then decided to share the photo and his opinion on the incident in his social media accounts as a protest against slut-shaming and as a way of standing up for loved ones.

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Pushpak Sen (@thebongmunda)

In an exclusive conversation with Mid-day, Sen shares his thoughts on this action and what it means to him.

What drove you to post the photo on social media?

I didn’t want my relatives to think that my bravery is limited to a private space or only to people I think I can dominate. I wanted my protest and message to reach everywhere, so that people know that I am out and loud and proud of how I prefer to be. The whole reason why someone bullies another person is that they don’t want them to be who they are. So posting the picture was a way to show that their opinions have no importance in my life.

But also whoever sees that post should take away the message that it is about standing by your loved ones and raising your voice when you see something wrong happening to them. If we don’t do it, nobody will.

Also Read: Man posts photo wearing red lipstick after mother shamed, gets lauded online

What if the message was not received positively because many are not receptive of men who wear makeup?

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Pushpak Sen (@thebongmunda)

Honestly, I did not think much about what people may say; I just did it. The idea was not to change people’s mentality. Some people did come to me saying that ‘you did it for publicity.’ I found it funny and amusing. But the best part is that if there were 100 trolls, there were many others supporting me.

Did the wide outreach of the post make you anxious?

I knew that there will be people who would say negative things. But as the post started blowing out of proportion anxiety kicked in. But to quote Cinderella, ‘all you need in your life is a lot of kindness and just a bit of courage.’ So I gave courage a chance and saw how far this can go. So it was anxiety-inducing but it was also exciting and positively overwhelming. Because I couldn’t believe that one picture can have the power to bring the country together and start a conversation.

How did your mother react?

She just said one thing; ‘the fact that you have taken a stand for women and that you have the sense of right and wrong, proves that I have raised you right.’

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Have you faced bullying?

Yes of course. I have faced a lot of bullying in my growing up years. But I don’t have any grudge against it because neither did I know any better nor did they. In those days when we were in school the ideas of wrong and right were very different. Bullying can cause permanent damage but I have understood that people were not aware enough back then. Also it does not matter to me anymore.

When did your tryst with makeup start?

 
 
 
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Pushpak Sen (@thebongmunda)

I took up makeup during the lockdown because I wanted to try something new. My friends used to apply makeup on me and later I understood that it is an extension of my personality. Also, it calms me down and helps me be creative. It also helps me change myself from time to time that breaks the monotony. However, I am not doing something ground-breaking, men have been wearing makeup for centuries, they are right here; we just refuse to see them

Lastly, why do you think men troll other men for expressing themselves in ways they prefer?

The basic thing wrong about men is that they don’t know how to respect the women in their family. We should start a conversation around it so that they learn better. Let’s face it, it’s 2020 and being misogynistic is out-dated. Men should be compassionate, understanding, kind and learn to co-exist; that will do the job.

 

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First Published: 17 November, 2020 12:59 IST

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