A failing feminist.

Khyati Jain
2 min readMar 26, 2022

In September 2018, AIB was still riding the wave of India’s biggest influencer brand — producing millennial and edgy content. They used feminism to push their brand, making content on harassment, holding bollywood accountable for sexism and the likes. They regularly made news and featured bankable stars on their videos.

A series of events pointed out AIB’s divergence in what it sponsored as opposed to how the company functioned. By October 2018, embroiled in allegations of sexual harassment and lack of sufficient action against the accused, the company folded.

AIB is not alone, many brands have come under the heat for performative wokeness — Nike, Pepsi, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, the list goes on. Internet users have been quick to condemn and distance themselves on social media.

But, how much of what the brands have done is different from what we do in our personal capacities?

Performative allyship is harmful, inaction is an action. By not standing up against something, you’re supporting the status quo and invalidating someone’s rage. We need to do better.

meme from CogBlog — A Cognitive Psychology Blog

In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them. That’s a double run when you feel attached and bonded to the perpetrator in a way you’ve possibly given part of the ownership over yourself to them. Not only that, your friend circles and support systems are intertwined in a way it is impossible to completely disconnect.

It is in such situations that being an ally truly counts. Creating space and time for the victim to heal and for them to feel justice has been done, will put you in many uncomfortable situations, sever ties with people you know and care for or get help from.

Sharing a post, talking about women’s rights and feminism, noticing injustice, hypocrisy of brands, or going for that candle march is easy. But, what would you do if the perpetrator was closer home? What would you do if it was your sibling, your best friend or your partner who harassed someone? Will you be seen begging off when asked to actually live up to the principles you espouse in your Insta stories?

I can’t say I have always been in (what I think) is right.