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14 Words And Phrases That Mean Something Different To Women In India

Home is where the heart is / home is where you should reach before sundown to be safe.

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1. Traffic light

Usual definition: A set of automatically operated coloured lights for controlling traffic at road junctions.

If you're a woman in India: An opportunity for every man in a 5 meter radius to mentally undress you while you wait impatiently for green.

2. Sanitary pads

Usual definition: A waterproof pad worn by women to absorb menstrual blood.

If you're a woman in India: A top secret, lethally incriminating product that you'd better never be seen buying or carrying publicly lest people find out that, you know [*lowers voice to a whisper*]... You have ovaries.

3. Facebook

Usual definition: A social networking platform used to connect with one's friends and family.

If you're a woman in India: A free-for-all messaging server used by tharki dudes to send you a constant stream of lewd, unsolicited, and mostly incomprehensible proposals for marriage, sex, fraaandship, or all of the above. Usually all of the above.

4. Public transport

Usual definition: Buses, trains, and other forms of transport that are available to the public, charge set fares, and run on fixed routes.

If you're a woman in India: Variously shaped and sized metal vestibules which you can enter whenever you're craving a good stare, grope, pinch, slap, catcall or, if it is after 8pm, rape.


5. Film industry


Usual definition: The technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., production companies, studios, film festivals, etc.

If you're a woman in India: A sexist, regressive, male-run behemoth whose singular mission is to peddle mindsets most destructive to you and your safety.

7. Outfit

All India Bakchod / Via

Usual definition: A set of clothes worn together.

If you're a woman in India: A set of decisions you make every morning that go on to determine whether or not you're "asking for it," where "it" can be any of several consequences ranging from a stare-down to sexual assault and murder.

8. Indian culture


Usual definition: An amalgamation of several cultures spanning the subcontinent, comprising hundreds of languages, fashions, cuisines, and art forms.

If you're a woman in India: A non-existent code of conduct that you're defying every time you assert your independence. Or wear jeans. Or use a cell phone. Or talk to a man. Or, you know, do anything. At all. Ever.


10. Safety

AFP / Getty Images / RAVEENDRAN

Usual definition: The condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.

If you're a woman in India: Big foot. A unicorn. A flying pig.

11. Politician

Usual definition: A person who is professionally involved in politics.

If you're a woman in India: A person who is professionally an expert at victim blaming, body shaming, and misidentifying causes of rape. Easily recognizable by their two primary physical traits: A foot in mouth, and common-sense-canceling headphones.

12. News

Usual definition: A broadcast of information about recent events.

If you're a woman in India: A daily onslaught of headlines, each more gruesome than the last, that serve to remind you how unsafe your motherland is.

14. India

MANJUNATH KIRAN / Via AFP / Getty Images

Usual definition: A democratic country on the southern tip of Asia.

If you're a woman in India: The subject of your life's greatest love-hate relationship. Home, where the heart is. But also home, a constantly lurking death threat. Home, where you belong more than any place else on earth. And home, where the newspapers remind you every single day that maybe you don't belong here at all.