“People are much deeper than stereotypes. That’s the first place our minds go. Then you get to know them and you hear their stories, and you say, ‘I’d have never guessed’.”
When we think of India, we think of society-enforced stereotypes. It penetrates through your skin, crawls up your spine and establishes firm roots in your mind. These stereotypes are not just insulting and discriminating they are archaic and extremely so. All of us have faced and probably purported stereotypes of gender, sex and age at some point in our lives. This project called Break The Mould was initiated with the idea of challenging such stereotypes.
The inspiration for this project came from various sources on Facebook. There have been numerous campaigns that talked of discrimination on various levels. This project was undertaken by the team not just in order to rehash the very same notions of the campaigns that influenced it by seeking out people who might fit the roles of gender fluidity, but also to examine themselves under the light of such stereotypes therefore embark on a journey of self-discovery and expression.
The project began with lengthy discussions over coffee. Every member of the team talked to the other of their lives, the obstacles they faced and how they overcame it, thus leading to a very introspective environment where our lives lay bare for everyone in the group to examine and understand. We found that, because of this, our misgivings and judgments about each other fell apart and all that remained was mutual respect. This discussion was extremely productive as it resulted in the materialization of our project in terms of ideas and slogans.
The team came up with slogans that connected deeply to each one of us. The slogans are simple, direct and unapologetic. For example: “I have a lot of guy friends” or “I do not want to have children”; these slogans were chosen because they not only conveyed the truth but also exposed the stereotypes in all its gore.
The average reader/viewer would first read the slogan and react in shock only to realise his/her mistake in making judgmental conclusions. Shock value was our primary objective. The following are some of the pictures we took: