"We all have the power to create positive change."
Social media can be a toxic place. However, Desi feminist Instagram accounts are fighting the negativity and are encouraging Desi women to do the same.
The incredible women running these accounts are determined to make their follower’s day a little better.
Young women are forced to stare at harmful sexist/racist posts and feel terrible about themselves.
But, following positive accounts like NotYourWife and ZHK Designs can make social media a happier community.
These accounts promote self-love, and most importantly, how to be proud of being a Desi woman.
DESIblitz met up with co-founders, Kiran and Sonam, to discuss why they created NotYourWife.
NotYourWife was founded in 2020 by Kiran and Sonam after struggling to find a relatable online space.
In under a year, NotYourWife has gained a following of over 31,000 on social media. Weekly reaching over 550,000 Instagram users.
Alongside social media, they now work with over 70 creatives within its contributor community.
Moreover, their posts showcase beautiful digital artwork by Desi women. Kiran and Sonam are driven by their passion for representing South Asian Women.
“We work towards dismantling and disrupting stereotypes through creating a safe space to explore and discuss ‘generationally inaccessible’ or stigmatised topics.
“Including identity, relationships, mental health and lifestyle.”
Their content openly and honestly discusses the experiences faced by Desi people growing up in a westernised society and celebrates cultural diversity.
Furthermore, this Desi feminist Instagram account also showcases work by South Asian creatives, who are underrepresented in the media industry.
“Over the lockdown period, our platform worked alongside over 100 South-Asian creatives and small businesses to provide them with advertising over what was a testing period.”
Their empowering nature ooze through every post and they definitely celebrate the uniqueness of different Desi creatives.
Support From Followers
Kiran and Sonam are appreciative of the endless support. Speaking on the topic of followers, Kiran and Sonam say:
“We feel so grateful to be able to connect with other South Asian women, sharing our experiences and stories, creating a fierce community made up of strong women smashing the patriarchy, one generational trauma at a time.”
Despite achieving so much already, this is only the beginning of the fast-growing platform.
“We have some really exciting things happening this year, and we cannot wait!
“We’re committed to growing our community of contributors, so we’ll be featuring and surfacing stories from an even more diverse range of women across the diaspora.”
Most excitingly, NotYourWife will be launching its very own merchandise, for its “army of strong, successful and badass women.”
“Lastly, and the one we are most excited about, is our first in-real-life event! Now that the pandemic restrictions are loosening. We are super excited to connect with our community in real life.
“We won’t stop until South Asian women are given the recognition and representation that they deserve.”
The full details of their merchandise, and event will be released on their website and social media pages.
The Future of NotYourWife
NotYourWife have five goals for their community, and they are:
- Increase South Asian representation within mainstream media.
- Dismantle colourism within South Asian communities.
- Increase opportunities and support for South Asian women within corporate spaces.
- Give women a voice and a chance to share their experiences in a safe space.
- Take apart the idea that women are only a man’s daughter, wife or mother and celebrate their many other talents and qualities.
Kiran and Sonam have a mission, and they are driven and determined in making a change.
Many Desi women might have the bold, colourful Desi designs of ZHK Designs as their wallpaper or hung up in their rooms.
But do they know who the extraordinary boss behind this page is?
Zoe Harveen Kaur (she/her) is a 22-year-old digital artist. Zoe was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
She is the designer and artist behind ZHK Designs, co-owner of Brown Girl Memes, and host of Desi Girl Horrors on Rukus Avenue Radio.
This Desi feminist Instagram account produces vibrant, aesthetic digital designs, which have insightful messages attached to each piece.
Alongside being an influencer, she is also a full-time fur mum:
“Other than being the busiest person I know, I’m loud, energetic and unapologetically myself!”
She told DESIblitz that ZHK Designs has helped her appreciate her Punjabi-Sikh background and value her culture.
“I think my main goal is to educate and empower.
“My brand is all about empowering the South Asian community, South Asian women, and anyone who wants to learn about South Asian cultures and traditions.
“Additionally, each piece I create strives to educate or empower the South Asian community and beyond.
“Education has always been a core value for me since I was little, so if I can learn from a piece and educate others as well, it’s a win for me!”
Her love for digital art developed during her time at university, where she began to experiment with software like Adobe Illustrator.
This set fire to her creativity, and she began designing and producing content. However, it was only after she shared her designs with her mother, she then decided to launch ZHK Designs.
“When I created my page, I had the intention of going to law school and pursuing law.
“But when my art started gaining traction, I decided to leave my law dreams behind and pursue ZHK Designs!”
She might be only 22, but Zoe has created multiple successful platforms, which have a combined following of over 100,000.
Support from Followers
Zoe’s designs are constantly shared and reposted online, and are flooded with comments by her followers, thanking her for her work.
Additionally, she says it is “beautiful” to see the support for her projects grow.
“It has been an incredible journey to where I am now, and I’m so grateful that my work has a positive impact on others.
“I always receive messages about my work. Whether it be a non-South Asian wanting to learn or someone thanking me for talking about a taboo topic in our community.
“It has truly been incredible!”
Her artwork resonates with Desi women. She designs what they feel and what they want to tell the world.
The Future of ZHK Designs
Moreover, ZHK Designs is growing rapidly and receiving more attention each day.
“I have loads of exciting plans! I am always planning for the next venture, and I think that my next project will incorporate various ideas from my work.
“ZHK Designs is elevating and expanding from just Instagram to the real world!”
This is more than just artwork. Zoe’s designs encourage Desi women to love themselves and their culture because they are beautiful and unstoppable.
Brown Girl Rebel
Brown Girl Rebel, created by Dhvani, has over 30,000 followers on Instagram and reaches up to 700,000 users worldwide.
Previously named “DesiDiscoRani”, Dhavini initially created this account to help her friend.
“I started this page to support a friend who was nervous to put herself out there on a public platform. She wants to be a writer.
“Being a public figure on social media can be a scary thing.
“I opened this page to support her, and the idea behind it was if she fails, then we will both go down together and laugh about it one day.”
Before establishing this account, Dhvani noticed how many people find themselves frustrated with celebrities and influencers, who have a big platform but do not speak on social justice issues.
This prompted her to question her own activism on social media and in society.
“We all have the power to create positive change. Whether that’s within our family dynamics, workplace, or community.”
Her content celebrates diversity and equality whilst raising awareness on social justice issues. Dhvani uses the platform to highlight subjects ignored by mainstream media.
“My content originated from more of a ‘frustration’ point of view.
“I heard stories of men and women body shamed at family functions. As well as, people pressured to be married at a certain age.
“Also, pressured to do the majority of house chores in the name of ‘gender roles’ and many more issues which needs to be discussed within our community.”
Alongside addressing feminism and mental health issues, Dhvani also likes to keep her page light-hearted for her followers.
Support from Followers
Post Credit @browngirlrebel Art by @designsbykeya_ Original quote by @ari_eastman
Moreover, the feminist Instagram account is growing by the day and receives an outpour of support and admiration. Speaking of her account, Dhvani says:
“We are a growing community of badass rebels who believes in creating a positive change.”
“I have the support of the young generation as well as the older generation.
“It’s amazing what these social media platforms can do.
“You will see how both generations are trying to learn new things.
“Their constructive criticism gives me an opportunity to learn new things.”
Dhvani plans on working with more influencers to raise awareness on issues, providing a voice to those ignored in society.
The founders of this feminist Instagram account want to create a community where they can share what it’s like being a contemporary British Asian, leaving no stone unturned, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly.
British Bindi is best described as a mix of personal stories, news, tips, problems, and culture.
Alongside Instagram, the British Bindi blog also produces content on British Asian life and addresses taboo subjects.
Four vibrant women make up British Bindi, namely, Kiran, Jasmeen, Tanisha and Amani.
“The four of us were really good friends, and starting our careers after university, we had great energy together and wanted to create something we would be proud of and help us grow as people.
“We also felt a gap in representation in social media and online space for British Asian bloggers & Instagram accounts, especially as millennial women.”
The Bindis’ have 11,000 followers on Instagram and 1,803 followers on their blog.
Support From Followers
Additionally, this feminist Instagram account never expected their platform to become as successful as it is. Speaking about their platform they say:
“When we started British Bindi, we honestly weren’t sure if anyone would read or respond.”
“It’s been a great journey seeing that our followers want to be more involved with our account, from guest bloggers to people sharing their stories and thoughts on the content we share.
“It’s like having an extension of friends to support each other.
“We sometimes have the odd troll on topics we’re covering or about us in general, thankfully as there are four of us in the team, we have each other to lean on and talk things through.”
British Bindi aims to unite women and create a safe space on social media.
The Future of British Bindi
The Bindi’s aim to reach as many women as they can. Speaking of their plans, they say:
“Our goal is for our channel to be a safe place online that people can relate, share and gather inspiration.
“Whether that’s inspiration from any lifestyle aspects of our channel or more culture-related topics and issues we cover.
“We haven’t mentioned this on our social channels or blog yet! But we’re hoping and planning to launch a podcast that mirrors the essence and topics we cover on British Bindi.”
Moreover, the Bindis will be keeping their follower’s updated on their exciting plans, on their social media channels.
The Power of Feminist Instagram Accounts
Arguably social media can be a cesspool for negativity, and many believe these platforms have impacted society, not for the better.
Since users can bully one another in comment sections and others share sexist or even racist posts.
The owners of the accounts are no stranger to backlash and hate comments, but this has not stopped them from spreading love and justice.
Hence, the need for positive and inspirational accounts like these to exist. The incredible women running these pages might not realise how beneficial they are.
These feminist Instagram accounts provide a safe space for Desi women, where they can truly embrace who they are and speak their truth.