The simple truth is that my body and I are having an affair. We each obsess about the other, ask questions and desire each other so much, that it often borders on the shameless. My body is more in love with me, I suspect, than the other way around.
I have been the overprotective patriarch and now it is time for me to find solidarity with my sister who will go through myriad experiences. I need to be there to support her while at the same time make her question her decisions rather than being a judgmental feminist.
Bleaching syndrome is not a superficial fashion, it’s a strategy of assimilating a superior identity that reflects a deep-set belief that fair skin is better, more powerful, prettier. And it’s not limited to India; skin bleaching is also common in the rest of Asia and in Africa.
Everyday Feminism’s comic illustrates the complexity and diversity of sexuality, revealing how sex can sometimes be pleasure-affirming and sometimes not, and asks us to talk about ALL KINDS of sex – the good, the bad, and the hilarious.
I cannot let anyone see the stretch marks, the cellulite, the saggy breasts. I cannot reveal my hideous body. I feel anxiety well up inside me even as I visualise this eventuality. I read about ten ways for a fat person to have meaningful sex. I learn that throwing a cloth over the bedside lamp will help hide my flaws.
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.
Our most powerful, sexy, responsive and attractive sexual organ may be the mind, but it is through the body that we express and experience our sexuality. Our body is our first and primary home; whether we truly feel at home in it is another matter.
Beauty gleams in unexpected places, but its effulgence turns to tawdry glitter when it is shaped and squeezed into form-fitting frames. Rigid ideas of what is beautiful or desirable can reinforce oppressive structures. However, when these concepts are more flexible they can be subversive as well.
Both sexuality and disability are complex terrains, offering a realm of possibilities that are often made unnecessarily complicated and unattainable by the mental maps we draw of them and the artificial barriers we erect.
We are, all of us, trying to hold steady, and to hold space for each other and for ourselves. And so, instead of trying to put together a collection of ‘all new’ articles, this time we are republishing some ‘ever fresh’ ones on the theme of Sexuality and Representation.
The lip colour then enters into a rather queer state of existence as it refuses to stand by the label it is expected to conform to. It moves and escapes categorisation. In its queerness, it renders itself as a paradox. At the heart of paradoxes is the understanding that something is what it is also not. Similarly, the colour of this lipstick is nude, but it is also not. It is possible that it is because of this slippery nature of the paradox that my sexuality as my identity too remains slippery, in motion and fluid.
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.
“I feel comfortable with who I am,” he responded. “I’m at ease with myself. I don’t wake up and hate myself. I can’t tell you how amazing that feels.”
“I know how that feels,” I told him.
There have been several recent examples of actors, movies and events being called out because of their lack of representation, like for the Oscars. With social media it is easier to create and distribute diverse art and also to voice the need for diversity. So it needs engagements and awareness in society. Change will happen once enough people demand that change.
Today I do not know whether I want to grow out my hair or keep it short; I am just trying to breathe and be in the moment. To enjoy the journey rather than worrying, and waiting for the destination!