Companions take many forms. Using the word very loosely here, a companion is anyone the self is connected to, anywhere, at any point in time, from a family member, to a stranger on a train.
100 issues, 8 years! Thank you, dear readers and contributors! As we planned for this issue to put on our…
As a generation X-er I grew up in a world that was challenging sexuality but only encountered the instability of gender as an adult in radical new academic texts which were not then yet part of our everyday narratives. My daughter born between Gen Z and Gen Alpha is growing up in a world of gender fluidity and multiple pronouns.
As a girl, I was made to believe that pleasure was something that existed outside my body, something that I had to seek out, something that was necessarily a product of a partnered experience. I don’t think I was even allowed to want pleasure, especially in its sexual forms.
The In Plainspeak team decided to time travel and re-discover previously published articles that explore the multiple ways in which people find joy and pleasure in their sexualities.
My body presented to me the first paradox in my feminism that I would encounter. How could I claim to be a feminist if I was not proud of the body I was born in? My advocacy as a sixth grader seemed to fail when it came to my own self.
Every part of life, the world too, is storied. Stories are the thread that hold histories and truths together. Stories are at the core of myth-making. Everything that we know is part of multiple crisscrossing relational storylines that we raise and those that we have no power in raising.
In this write up, we’d like to share a sense of what emerges from a compilation of these responses. This is based on the thoughts and feelings that come through for those of us here at In Plainspeak who have had the joy of reading the original responses as they came in to us. (Some of the quotations that follow have been slightly edited for flow and to help connect themes.) We know that most things in the realm of art, information and ideas lend themselves to a wide range of inferences and insights depending on the individuals making the inferences.
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.
Marriage also feels complicated when one approaches it through the lens of feminism. Marriage throws in two people and often their families into a system designed to perpetuate patriarchy, subjugate women, and bind men and women (in heteronormative marriage) into strict roles in the marriage.
I am still coming to terms with my own femininity, as with new learnings I find myself regaining many facets of my personality which were lost while trying to ‘act like a man’ and ‘act tough’.
Scribbles: an Escape From the Mundane is a product of my thoughts and emotions when I was struggling to understand my sexuality and grappling with the idea of identifying with the spectrum of gender and sexuality outside the binary, but not being able to put a label on it.
Taboos in relation to female desire, sexuality and the body are often addressed in my work. My recent artistic interest focuses on rituals that are primarily centred on agricultural communities in Bengal that involve the veneration of fertility symbols and celebration of feminine sexuality.
What can celebrating sexuality look like? Un Sacré Mariage!, an animated short by Francis Papillon and Gregory Verreault shows us with aplomb, jest and buoyancy that one of the ways to do it could be by moving away from conventions and rituals.