A digital magazine on sexuality in the Global South: We are working towards cultivating safe, inclusive, and self-affirming spaces in which all individuals can express themselves without fear, judgement or shame

Author: Elsa Marie D'Silva

Hot Girls Wanted – Keeping up with the times

This article was originally published here. These past few weeks my organisation, Red Dot Foundation, has partnered with Supreme Court advocate Nappinai NS on a programme called ‘CyberSaathi’ which explains the responsible use of technology, the impact of online harassment, and the remedial measures available. It covers various topics including sexting, pornography and the misuse…

Trivializing women’s (mental) health

Naomi Osaka has been in the news recently for pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics, refusing to do media interviews at the French Open and making a tearful third-round exit at the US Open. She has been struggling with her mental health and is thinking about taking time off from competitive sport indefinitely. At the…

Use Your Power to Empower

Some weeks ago, I was invited by the British High Commission to give a talk about sexual harassment at the workplace. I always preface my talks on this subject by talking about gender sensitivity, unconscious bias, harmful gender norms, and being aware of our own power and privilege.   One of the pieces of positive…
A poster of the Netflix film 'Rising Phoenix'.

Despite all odds

In the spirit of the Games, I watched the Netflix film Rising Phoenix which documents the history of the Paralympics and its impact on the world in making visible the topic of disability. It also tracks the personal and professional journey of some of the top Paralympic athletes who share their challenges, frustrations and motivations.
A still from the film 'A Kid Like Jake'. In a city-background with houses to the right and a car to the left, three figures: a blonde woman wearing a black and white striped t-shirt, blue jeans, and a beige coat, carrying a brown bag on her shoulder is holding a child's hand from the left. The child is wearing a purple, glittery tutu and a blue shirt. Their arms are outstretched and on the right side, held by a man wearing a peach shirt, blue hoodie and blue jeans. He has black hair. Both the man and the woman are looking at the child.

Review: I see you

My friend’s son, too, likes wearing tutus and frilly skirts. Every time they go shopping for clothes, he heads to the girl’s section and picks out the frilliest outfit. At check out, invariably the cashier asks if the pretty outfit is for his sister and he confidently says it is for him. Often he wears these outfits to school. His confidence comes from his mother’s acceptance of him and her understanding of his gender expansiveness. It helps that she is a sociologist, but there is a constant pushback from society including from his peers at school who bully the little boy. But it is the constant support from his mother and family that allows him to remain confident and thrive whilst being different.
A poster of the film 'North Country'. On the poster: in the middle, Charlize Theron's face and shoulders. She is wearing a yellow bandana and a grey-beige t-shirt. She is looking at the camera, wide-eyed. Behind her is a crowd of men, a bit transparent. The lettering under her is in white, saying NORTH COUNTRY. Above her, the lettering says, 'ALL SHE WANTED WAS TO MAKE A LIVING, INSTEAD SHE MADE HISTORY' and underneath the title of the film are details about its cast and production.

Invisible Women

I recently watched North Country on Netflix, a movie based on a true story of a woman’s fight for equality at the workplace. It is based on the case, Jenson vs Eveleth Mines, in the United States in which Lois Jenson, fought for the right to work as a miner, and the right to work free of sexual harassment. She won the landmark 1984 lawsuit, which was the first class-action lawsuit on sexual harassment at the workplace in the United States and resulted in companies/organisations having to introduce sexual harassment policies at the workplace.
एक महिला के मुँह को ढक रहे एक लाल रंग के हाथ का भित्ति चित्र। चित्र के साथ पीले रंग में सन्देश है: 'चुप्पी तोड़ों', उसके नीचे बड़े अक्षरों में लिखा है: 'यौन उत्पीड़न एक अपराध है' और उसके ऊपर: 'कानून के ख़िलाफ़'।

लोगों से मिली जानकारी के आंकड़ों के आधार पर अपने शहरों को कैसे सुरक्षित बनाया जा सकता है

उत्पीड़न करने की आदतों को बदलने की कोशिश में नीतियों का बदला जाना ज़रूरी होता है, लेकिन इसके लिए यह भी ज़रूरी है कि लोग उत्पीड़न के विरोध में अपनी आवाज़ उठाएँ।
Poster of the Netflix series ‘The Bold Type’ Three girls can be seen standing confidently. On top of the poster, the tile ‘Bold Type is written in purple colour

Circle of Trust

None of these characters is perfect but in their imperfections we can learn more about body positivity, gender sensitivity, privilege, consent, unconscious and implicit bias, sexuality, masculinity, their intersections with class, religion, race, age, and more.