Comments about his mother’s choice of lipstick colour at a family get-together prompted Kolkata resident Pushpak Sen to post a picture on Facebook. The accompanying text and picture, that shows a bearded Sen with bright red lipstick and kohl-lined eyes, has since been widely shared on social media, with many praising him for taking a stand.
In the post accompanying the picture, Sen wrote about what had happened. “My mother, a woman of 54 years, got slutshamed, by some of our nearest relatives, for wearing a red lipstick at a family get-together,” he wrote.
The picture, Sen wrote was a response to those relatives. He wrote that he’d sent them the picture with a message that said, “Good morning. Get well soon.”
The 25-year-old told indianexpress.com that the picture was “to send a clear message to the relatives that I will not stand and tolerate anything against my family, especially for things that doesn’t concern them.”
Sen said he posted the image on social media so that his relatives could see he wasn’t afraid of posting a picture which “would question my masculinity”.
“Here I am, a man with a full face of beard and red lipstick. Here I am, standing up for all the mothers, sisters, daughters, non-males and all the womxn who have had to suppress their desires because of the toxicity of an insecure society,” Sen wrote in the post.
Womxn, an alternative spelling of women, is seen a break from patriarchal linguistic norms and aims to include trans women, and some non-binary people.
Sen, a fashion and make-up enthusiast, has posted photos in the past wearing bright eyeshadow and kajal. “I haven’t been doing anything that is ground breaking.
“Indian men have always been wearing makeup since thousands of centuries. We were always here. We are still here. It is others who have refused to acknowledge it,” he said.
Many on social media agreed with Sen’s post and it sparked a conversation about makeup and fashion choices.
Sen, who is a digital content creator, said he didn’t expect such an overwhelming response.
“My only purpose was to stand against misogyny and ask people to stand up for their loved ones, in their own way, whenever they can,” he said.
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