Traditionally, marriage and sexuality have been bagged together and tinted with a bed-of-roses romance that has, over the last century or so, been unpacked and critiqued for propagating oppressive societal structures of gender, class, caste, and sexuality. Indeed, marriage isn’t just about two wedded souls matched in heaven, but about earthly ties that reach far beyond the couple it binds together. What happens when the roses are let out of the bag? This month’s issues of In Plainspeak on Marriage and Sexuality invite us to lean in and take a whiff.
When I saw Alia Bhatt’s gloriously flawed Kaira in the film 'Dear Zindagi' (2016), I felt so gratified I could have jumped up and cheered. To paraphrase, she resolutely sheds the burden that Hindi film heroines have been hefting on their always-delicate shoulders since the first hero whistled wolfishly across the street – the need to be relentlessly likeable.
Where perhaps attire traditionally demarcates community identity (one’s tribe, religion, caste, class, etc.), it has in more recent times (along with other identifiable commodities) come to also be used to express, assert, assess, control and contest individual identity. How does sexuality come into play in matters of attire and identity? And how do they all relate to how we live and connect with each other?