Are certain forms of femininities denigrated more than others? Not just by misogynists but also by feminists? Is there a particular way of manifesting an ‘appropriate’ femininity, one that is just right, and is not ‘too girly’ or ‘too tomboyish’?
When I finally came out to myself at age 16 and made it to a free queer youth space, I couldn’t wait to be accepted among folks who didn’t play by society’s heterosexist rules of masculine and feminine as polar opposites.
Desiring motherhood meant veering into a more ‘girly’ territory, a notion that I had simultaneously been fighting and trying to embrace since childhood. I had understood that to be a feminist I had to be independent, be wary of men, dislike families and relationships.
I keep on hold the colours and prints to wrap you in gentle delicate flowers or little cartoon lions and boys with fists that say Bam and Super / until I know what lies between your legs the cigar or the smile of consolation if you’re the first
The lovers enact many recognizable hetero-normative romantic tropes – the wronged petulant woman pacified via kisses and caresses, the woman too tired for sex who then tries to placate the sulking male lover.
Connection is essential for our survival – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. We connect with people, form networks of care and support, and in a sense weave webs of safety and comfort that we can turn to when stressed or simply want to infuse a dose of joy into our day.
…even if people have little in common, once they enter these spaces of solidarity, they are connected to a larger community. These spaces become wellsprings of an unspoken sense of safety and mutual support between individuals of communities that share a sense of having been othered.
Ethics of Care offers a normative paradigm that goes beyond the neat distinctions of morally guided ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ actions to incorporate social responsibility, wherein we learn how to shape our responses on the basis of the needs of a community’s members.
As a queer person, it’s hard not to think right away of chosen family. A term that has become relatively well-known by now, but not always understood I find. One of the primary support systems I personally, like many queer folx, depend on, are ones that we develop and nurture over time.
To be a support system is to be a safe space for them where they can reflect upon, experiment with and understand themselves. A space where people not only come to terms with their individual selves, sexual or otherwise, but also where they become increasingly aware of their own rights.
Family, immediate and extended, is usually who you turn to. They are the ones who provide stress relief and reduce anxiety by boosting self-confidence and self-esteem and providing a protective shield. There is a sense of belongingness in good times and in bad.
In the middle of this pandemic, can one seek sexual support in the form of a hook up with one’s best friend, ‘just because’? Is it redefining boundaries, is it sympathy sex, is it simple indulgence, or is it something that one or both might later resent?
In a society ruled by heteronormative patriarchal structures, expressing one’s gender or sexuality outside the trimmings of what is socially acceptable is an act of resistance.
The film begins with the mother’s dilemma around her daughter’s refusal to be ‘normal’ and marry a ‘decent boy’. As the story unfolds, we see the mother invite a ‘suitable boy’ for dinner on the same evening as the daughter’s partner is coming home to meet the family.
I had risked so much already, not just by loving another woman, but by acting on my desires. By allowing myself to feel intimacy and connection with another queer person. Despite feeling guilt and shame, this risk had become increasingly vital to take.