Cricket, football, hopscotch, whatever the game, we have all wanted to be included for the sheer joy not only of exercising body and mind but also of being part of a team, of being noticed and celebrated. Sports and athletics offer us a playground to explore and express parts of ourselves that may otherwise forever lie dormant.
Such open spaces to play sports are mainly occupied by men, while women are mostly excluded on account of various gender norms. This also applies to many underprivileged girls coming from the margins of caste and class who lack access to safe and inclusive open public spaces to play, such as public parks or maidans.
This awareness of the status ascribed to women – the status of being the objects of men’s desires – affects every aspect of a woman’s life. Desire then, in particular, becomes an aspect of a woman’s life where navigation becomes tricky.
I see people and places,
Couples and crushes
I hear giggles and whispers.
These are the secrets untold to me.
If the workplace looked anything like our world, it would have 50% men and 50% women, 7% would have a college degree, 55% would have access to the internet, and only 70% would have access to a smartphone.
If you were the CEO of a company and your office were on the 40th floor of a building in…
We had gathered to [discuss] digital self-determination for people with disabilities… focusing on its core component: the self. How can I be myself in digital spaces? What gives me more of a sense of self in these spaces? How can design, technology and policy contribute to helping me determine myself in digital spaces?
The linkages between access, health, violence, the law, workplaces, gender and sexuality are really high and that’s why we all today—whether we are working on street accessibility, education, disability and employment—need to bring and build our collective understanding around gender and sexuality, keeping it at the core of our work with people, youth, and women with disabilities.
We are two boys in our early twenties
who can read touch like that, who have broken into
a 200-year-old mansion, without permission,
to see from above where people like them go
after 377 has been read down only for those
who can stay behind closed doors — in the custody
of cheap hotels, or houses that welcome nights
with the sound of latches closing.
Many disabled people in India live with their parents and any expression of sexuality is suppressed as a rule within the confines of their homes. Sexual desires of persons with disabilities are seldom a priority issue for families or civil society. More is said through silence than words. Be grateful that you are alive. Isn’t that enough?
Who is this that works my hand?
Who is this that moves my pen?
Touch is a beetle creeping on this foreign thing
That wears my body like an evening.
“City-living gave me talons and claws, but now I want to put those away. I want something else. I want softness. I want grass under my feet. I want the fist in my stomach to slowly unclench. I want the garden of my childhood to get lost in play while letting sunlit hours pass over to rosy dusk.”
This issue of In Plainspeak while inviting us to embrace the joys and pleasure in movement, also questions the ways in which movements are facilitated or obstructed, visibilised or invisibilised, and the spaces that we must envision to find freedom in/to movement.
Expanding contexts give the word ‘movement’ different meanings and value. Physical, conceptual, technological, relationship, emotional, mental, power, knowledge, ability, access, may be amongst the contexts immediately identified.
This article explores how women are constructed as a ‘space’ manufactured by men to seek comfort, but void of having any active agency or participation in that space itself. I seek to bring this out in this article by drawing a parallel between the nineteenth century ‘Bharat Mata’ (Mother India) and the depiction of the twenty-first century ‘heroine’ in Bollywood movies.