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Can We Call Uorfi Javed A Feminist?

Uorfi Javed has been making waves through social media, and is often the target of trolls. So who and what exactly is this intriguing young woman?

Uorfi Javed (no relation to Javed Akhtar) is a name that crops up in my news feeds every now and again. It is usually because she got trolled for being in some or other ‘daring’ outfit and then posting those images on social media. If I were asked, I would not be able to name a single other reason why she is famous. I am told that she is an actor but I would have no frankly no clue about her body of work (pun wholly unintended).

So is Urfi Javed (or Uorfi Javed as she prefers) famous only for being famous? How does she impact the cause of feminism by permitting herself to be objectified, trolled, reviled?

Uorfi Javed in the news

Social media and celebrity news headlines about this 25-year-old woman often contain the words ‘shocking’, ‘provocative’, ‘outrageous’, etc. Most recently, it was a video of her with Sunny Leone that went viral and hence created headlines. It is easy to see how what she is wearing (or not wearing) would shock a lot of people.

Uorfi Javed is very famous

She has been in TV shows such as Meri Durga, Jiji Maa, Daayan, Kasautii Zindagii Kay and Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai. She has been on reality TV shows like Bigg Boss (OTT) and MTV Splitsvilla (Season 14). She has 4.1 million followers on Instagram. She is the most searched Asian Celebrity in the world, beating the likes of Disha Patani, Sara Ali Khan and Janhvi Kapoor.

Provocative? In poor taste?

Uorfi has what can be described mildly as a unique sense of style. This famous dress fashioned out of garbage bags is one of the innovative looks that she is known to fashion for herself.

While she does get admiration for her creativity and don’t-give-a-damn attitude, more often she receives the opposite of admiration. As can be expected, she is routinely reviled on social media as ‘vulgar’, ‘shameless’, ‘grasping’ and is the recipient of a steady stream of hateful invective.

What are her motivations?

Maybe it was her conservative Muslim upbringing in Lucknow that caused her to become something of a rebel. As such she follows no religion but said she was reading the Geeta because it interested her.

She likes attention – and she gets it. She makes no bones about it. She drinks, she parties and lets it all hang out. This comment accompanying this image – Ended 2022 doing What i do the best , drinking ! When her sense of style is sneered at as ‘distasteful’, as it was by designer Farah Khan Ali, she pushes back. She asked Ali to ‘define tasteful’ and points out the hypocrisy of those who talk about taste while being associated with producing films with item numbers that sexualise the female form.

She is exercising her agency – and she is unapologetic

I find that the more I know about this young woman, the more intrigued I am. She calls out hypocrisy. She claps back against being slut shamed. She does what she does because she wants to do it. She is straightforward, unashamed and unapologetic.

Many may decry her fashion sense, but who is to say what is tasteful and what is not? Uorfi Javed is very clear, something isn’t tasteful because it has a designer tag, and she isn’t going to change her dressing sense because people criticise it.

She does what she does because she wants to. Maybe she is famous for being famous but she probably makes more money than most of those who troll and hate on her. She does all this without breaking the law or hurting anyone.

She has the courage of her convictions

She has the courage of her convictions. She has the spine to call out something if she feels it needs to be called out. For instance, when there was news about Lucknow possibly being renamed, she wanted to know how that would help anyone (as such she shows more spine than most in Bollywood). She calls out nepotism and people making stupid remarks from positions of privilege.

This is a young woman who is living life on her own terms and is not afraid of who knows this. If she is objectified, this is done by her own volition and consent. For her honesty and her bravery, she has my admiration. She uses her agency to attain whatever it is that she desires. For her lack of hypocrisy, she has my respect.

Answering the question – does Uorfi Javed promote the cause of feminism or harm it

I don’t claim to have a clear answer, only an opinion (of which I have altogether too many). She may not be much of a traditional role model for young women; but then she doesn’t claim to be one (also when did tradition do women any favours?) Her various outlandish outfits may puzzle and amaze me but I am not her target audience. If she attained fame and success by shocking and provoking, who am I to disapprove?

Much of the criticism she receives is actually just thinly veiled slut-shaming and outright snobbery and classism. So, her kiwi bra top notwithstanding, I think I have to conclude that Uorfi Javed is, in fact, a feminist in her own, quite inimitable way.

Images source: Uorfi Javed Instagram

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About the Author

Reena Daruwalla

A former lawyer, now freelance writer, fauji wife, mother, singer, knitter and lover of my own cooking, I have altogether too many opinions and too few convictions. The more I learn the more I am read more...

36 Posts | 12,498 Views

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