The short skirt-clad picture of a budding actress in Malayalam cinema has ignited an argument about exposing women’s and men’s bodies in Kerala. Anaswara Rajan, a young actress in the industry, has posted a photo, wearing short trouser, in her Instagram account soon after she celebrated her 18th birthday. The picture has brought adamant criticism from the so-called moral-police over showing her bare legs. The actress replied with a couple of pics with the same dress posted in the account with a caption, “don’t worry about what I am doing. Worry about why you are worried about what I am doing”. It was a slap on the face of the critics and many actresses from the industry come up in solidarity with Anaswara Rajan posting pictures showing legs.

The controversy has erupted a big bang question about exposing body and moral sanity in the state. In reply to the criticism, few have come up with the pictures of bare-chested pictures of some of the leading actors in Mollywood. They questioned how a woman’s leg has become the center of moral discussions in the state when many men have even gone topless in the platform.

Rima Kallingal, a leading actress and one of the bellwethers of feminine protests in the industry, was among the one come up with a bikini-clad picture on Instagram. She wrote, “Surprise surprise!!! Women have legs” as the caption for the picture. Actresses like Nasriya Fahadh, Anna Ben, Ameya, Anarkali Marakkar, Esther Anil, Kani Kustruti, etc have expressed their solidarity posting pictures exposing legs. Following the trend, many women in Kerala have posted their leg-exposing pictures in support of the fight against moral policing in Kerala society.

“I was not upset with the comments. I was aware that there would be few negative comments but, never expected in such a gravity. However, I thought at the moment that are we still living in the 21st century or not”, Anaswara Rajan commented about the controversy.

Kerala has witnessed many cyberbullying cases over the dressing of women in social media. The state has even coined a word, ‘Sadhachara Aangalamaar’ (Moral Brothers) instead of ‘moral policing’ to describe the curious persons advising women over their activities in social media.

The Malayali women have been undergoing vehement verbal abusing over their stand on various issues and dressing from the moral brothers. The actresses like Nasriya Fahad and Ansiba Hassan have faced severe criticism for not covering their heads with a hijab.