Rupi Kaur: Instagram's Most Influential Poet

“You’re just locking the doors and no one is going to take you seriously,” poet Rupi Kaur was told when she announced her decision to self-publish.

            “That’s fine because no one is taking me seriously anyway,” Rupi replied, confidently.

Rupi Kaur is a 25-year-old revolutionary poet who immigrated to Ontario, Canada from Punjab, India at the age of three. Her claim to fame grew from Instagram, where she posted the well-known picture of herself lying in bed with menstrual blood on her sweatpants. Instagram immediately removed the picture, claiming it violated censorship laws. In a world where pornography is easily accessible on many accounts, Kaur felt it was unfair to remove the photo and fans brought to her attention how imperative it was to fight for her censorship rights. In her famous “the patriarchy is leaking” response, she exposes how inequitable censorship rights are for women.

While her ‘taboo’ photo increased her following list, it was her poetry that captivated readers. Her short but powerful stanzas speak of love, heartbreak, sexuality, abuse, rape and immigration. Kaur has created a social media safe haven for women who have experienced trauma and hardship, giving us the freedom to feel and express what has been gnawing at us with no inhibition. While Kaur has received much praise, she has also received much criticism. Some critics claim that her poetry is too radical, others say her work should not even be considered poetry because it rebels against the rules of traditional poetry. To be fair, her poetry is far from traditional, but that does not make her work any less impactful. Her brutal honesty and rawness separate her from other writers. What critics fail to realize is that Kaur never intended for her poetry to be traditional in any form. Her writings are a response to the trauma she has experienced. She is not writing for the art of poetry itself, but to express her soul.

Kaur is a vessel of empowerment to women. She is a pioneer for women’s rights, freedom of artistic expression and self-publishing. Kaur reminds us to believe in ourselves no matter how hard the world is fighting against us. She inspires me to write about and discuss issues that make listeners uncomfortable. She reminds us that just because a subject makes a person uncomfortable does not mean the subject should be avoided. We, as women, must not be afraid to use our voices to speak for those who are oppressed.


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