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Kani Kusruthi Makes A Feminist Fashion Statement While Accepting This Best Actress Award

Posted: February 1, 2021

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Kani Kusruthi not only won the best actress award at the recent Kerala State Film Awards, but also made a clear feminist statement with what she wore.

In this pic above is Kani Kusruthi, the winner of this year’s Kerala State Film Award for best actress. She has always taken unconventional roles and lived an unconventional life. But this post is about an even stronger statement she made with the way she dressed at the awards function.

While I agree that there are certain dress codes that are adhered to in a civil society, I hate that the pressure is inordinately more on women, than on men, to look glamorous for special occasions. It’s okay if the women enjoy this but I don’t like it if they dress that way only because they feel they don’t have any other choice.

That’s where Kani’s statement is significant.

The pressure on women to look ‘glamorous’

If you see any film awards function, you can see how glamorously the women are dressed. I have never seen a woman buck this ‘rule’, though men routinely do. Even in the picture here, see how casually the winner of the best actor award has dressed (Suraj Venjaramoodu, now famous for The Great Indian Kitchen winning this award for another film).

And look at Kani, radiant and confident in her so-simple and casual cotton collared shirt, embellished with just a silver choker, no makeup, only a bright red lipstick. I don’t remember any female actor/star dressed so casually at an awards function before!

As a lover of red lipsticks myself, who felt confident to wear bright reds only very recently, I wanted to give her a fist bump for her Instagram post on why her red lipstick was a political, feminist statement.

The lipstick. The LIPSTICK!!

Of course I googled the lipstick she wore. This lipstick is from Rihanna’s brand, and Rihanna is a woman of color.

Why did Kani choose this particular brand to make this statement?

As she says in her post, darker skinned women, and women of color, have historically been shamed and discouraged from wearing red lipsticks, or any bright coloured clothes for that matter.

As this this in-depth piece on the history of the politics of the Red Lipstick says, ‘Historically, darker-skinned black women have been derided for wearing red lipstick. As recently as 2013, the rapper A$AP Rocky, while on tour with Rihanna, was criticized for telling the lifestyle site the Coveteur that “You have to be fair skinned to get away with” wearing red lipstick. The message often is that black women’s lips — a body part that is simultaneously ridiculed and sexualized — are meant to be downplayed, not highlighted with red.’

I just love that Kani embodies her ideologies in everything she does, whether its the roles she plays or the lipstick she wears!

More about women dressing comfortably, even casually!

On a side note, Bernie Sanders was all over the internet for his casual style of dressing at the US Presidential inauguration. But people were asking if the same applause would have been given if it was a woman who had dressed so casually.

Yes, my dears, she would have been. Janet Yellen, Treasury Secretary, also dressed casually at the event and was snapped comfortably covered in a blanket at the same venue.

Here’s to more women dressing the way they want, glamorous or not, and not the way men want!

Images source: Kani Kusruthi’s Instagram

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Karishma has been writing short stories since she was 8 and poetry since she was

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