In theory, the concept of the app is a great one – it provides women, queer people, and people belonging to oppressed castes the tea-stall, cigarette-shop type of public spaces for conversation that are available to upper-caste cis het men. The relative anonymity acts like a safe cover, and the app affords a certain autonomy and agency to marginalised people to regulate the kind of conversation that goes on in rooms moderated by them.
Nathicharami takes sexuality and sexual desire away from upper-class, Gucci-clad women and makes its viewers acknowledge its existence in the lives of women (middle-class wives and widows, in the case of this film) who are invisibilised, both in the society they live in and as subjects of popular content.
The anthology’s pull rests in its sincere and frank portrayal of male and female desires cutting across the divides of age, sexuality, and socioeconomic position. In terms of romance, the idealistic, till-death-do-us-part fantasy peddled by our movies and mainstream literature has been replaced by a realistic portrayal of modern relationships.
The film Hot Girls Wanted followed the journey of five young women aged 18-25 years as they joined the pornography industry and also looked more broadly at at women in this age group and their motivation to join.
The story is so well told and is written with such a light, deft hand that it is almost easy to miss what makes it so quietly radical. To review it within the scope of exploring the coming together of literature and sexuality we must begin with its central cast of characters – the widows.
Four More Shots Please! moves in the right direction when it comes to women (of a particular social stratum), their lives, and feminism at large – even if it takes small, stumbling, baby steps towards it.
With the shifting nature of perceptions around fandom, the discourse around Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl has witnessed an interesting shift. While earlier, the book found almost unanimous acceptance, in recent times, it has completely faded into irrelevance.
Naomi Osaka has been in the news recently for pulling out of the Tokyo Olympics, refusing to do media interviews…
Released on Amazon Prime, Sara’S is a Malayalam movie scripted by Dr Akshay Haresh, directed by Jude Anthony Joseph, produced…
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.
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.
No two human bodies are alike, and our different bodies arouse curiosity. But our fascination for the aesthetics of the perfect human body has historically created a space within art, science and religion for the examination of the ‘abnormal’ and the ‘imperfect’. As a result, some bodies are normalised while others become oddities. Freak Shows, and to a large extent, circuses and even exhibits in medical or anthropological museums particularly stand out for dehumanising and objectifying these different anatomies, and oftentimes subjecting these bodies to violence and discrimination.
Attire and sexuality in the common imagination and approach as represented (and also as received) by the mainstream media tell us a lot about prevailing attitudes to both. Advertisements bombard us with all kinds of representations, negative and positive, of human sexuality, sexual expression and desire. In the creation and marketing of attire and fashion, there is a great awareness of sexual buy-in or rejection by the market – that’s us.
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.
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.