There's a good reason why red is the lipstick shade of choice for women across generations. Yes, it goes with just about everything and instantly ups the "class" factor of any outfit. But it also makes us feel like we're on top of the world. Photographer and college student Aditi Kulkarni founded The Red Lips Project based on this principle, and it has resulted in one of the coolest feminist blogs around.
Inspired by another blog called Brown Girls, Red Lips, Kulkarni started The Red Lips Project, this past September. It's a collection of images Kulkarni has taken of women from all different age groups and ethnic backgrounds wearing red lipstick, posted alongside a quote about what makes them each feel powerful. The photographs combined with the words make for an incredibly moving photo series that speaks both to Kulkarni's talent and to the rich inner lives of these women.
Kulkarni, currently a sophomore at Swarthmore College, told Bustle, "I came up with the idea this summer after seeing the women in my life feeling unable to express how powerful they were. I wanted to do something to change this, and photography has always been an interest of mine, so I thought doing a photo project would be cool. I've always found myself in awe of pictures of women with red lipstick, because I think they look incredibly powerful, so I thought I could use this as a unifying element for the pictures."
While the red lipstick serves to tie the images together theme, this project is about far more than just makeup. The quotes are what make Red Lips stand out as a truly feminist endeavor. Subjects' responses to the question "What makes you feel powerful?" vary widely, covering everything from interpersonal relationships to professional pursuits.
"What makes me feel powerful is being confident enough to be open to family and friends about my mental health and knowing that they will continue to love me despite the battles I’m fighting.”
I love seeing intelligent and inspiring women come together to make something awesome and am totally amazed at all Kulkarni has accomplished at such an early stage in life. I was lucky if I got all my homework done when I was a sophomore in college, let alone created something as awesome as this.
"What makes me feel powerful is a confident walk and a loud laugh. And loving myself; if I don’t love myself, how can anyone else love me?"