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.
I was not simply stuck within the binaries of “same-sex” or “opposite sex,” assuming that any reference to “same-sex” is in itself already revolutionary. But the call to recognise friendship, is a call to recognise so many forms of community that are made invisible by the emphasis within a liberal or conservative framework on “marriage” as the only path to family making.
Members of a fandom are not just passive consumers but active co-creators who imagine and build new worlds around their objects of adoration. Fandom communities offer fans the freedom of being able to imagine, create and share all sorts of scenarios, including romantic, erotic and sexual ones.
People looking for queer plots in Bollywood are sometimes disappointed, as the focus on marriage in many films seems to suggest that Bollywood is a conservative genre invested in sanctifying reproductive heteronormativity.
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.
Sexuality is taboo in our context, and expressions of it publicly or even in the home setting outside the bedroom, especially by those who are not in ‘legitimate’ relationships ‘alarm the modesty’ and are generally considered anti-culture or simply categorised as Western concepts.
And so, in the mid-month issue we have Shweta Krishnan examining the place of political incorrectness in stand-up comedy, Rohini Banerjee talking about how fanfiction allowed her to delve into alternative worlds, and…
The discursive power vested in audio-visual media can prove to be emancipatory if it seeks to re-write the scripts of love, to expand it to include various subjectivities, disturb the patriarchal gendered dynamics that it is based on by introducing a story that allows the audience to imagine it in various different ways.
While pop culture will continue to exist in the mainstream, it also provides us the scope to create alternative narratives and/ or counter-narratives that question, challenge and unpack the existing stereotypes and norms.
When representing sexuality, these stories went beyond dramatic and one-dimensional representations of sex and sexual orientation.
Several recent mainstream Hindi films have dealt with issues of sexuality and gender not usually discussed in the intended audience’s drawing rooms.
The statement “We are just friends”, does it make you wonder? Just friends? As in – merely friends? As in…
“Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how…
For many of us, it was fiction that fed our souls as children, and now as adults who are still ‘growing up’, it feeds us still. Fiction makes, remakes and unmakes us who walk in worlds of the imagination. It liberates us to dream various versions of ourselves and others into being as the articles in this month’s In Plainspeak eloquently reveal.