My friend’s son, too, likes wearing tutus and frilly skirts. Every time they go shopping for clothes, he heads to the girl’s section and picks out the frilliest outfit. At check out, invariably the cashier asks if the pretty outfit is for his sister and he confidently says it is for him. Often he wears these outfits to school. His confidence comes from his mother’s acceptance of him and her understanding of his gender expansiveness. It helps that she is a sociologist, but there is a constant pushback from society including from his peers at school who bully the little boy. But it is the constant support from his mother and family that allows him to remain confident and thrive whilst being different.
I long for much more than a greater representation of brown women. I long for a complete overhaul of the racial, gendered, and economic systems that structure our suffering. But I also long for representation of all people, including brown women, who are in love, who are loveable, and who are — in the absence of love — lonely.
Dalit women are primarily viewed as victims and survivors of various kinds of violence. Reification of the Dalit identity has led to the boxing of our existence whose dimensions are solely defined by the savarna (dominant caste) gaze. Our self-assertions of identity are commodified to create a warped limiting of our lives, creating an image that is voiceless in the minds of our potential suitors. We are not seen as being capable of desire, love or happiness; we don’t exist as individuals outside of violence.
To chase down our own vulnerabilities around sexuality is a short run around the corner, five minutes ago, last night sleeping alone, with a lover, a partner who lost interest, the Insta post that leaves you feeling you’re not good enough for the hug, the kiss, the cuddle and are you perhaps the A of LGBTQIA+?
It took me some time to realise how important being vulnerable or, for that matter, being vulnerable during sexual engagement was for me to have great sex and how empowering it is for my sexuality. After much thought, I decided to open up to my partner about my past experiences and other things I never used to openly talk about.
Through multiple maquettes, I finally came across (since I myself did not know what the result of the form or figure would be) the Reclining Lady. She represents confident femininity and vulnerability. The feeling one has after taking a bath and sitting in the nude, drying oneself in unabashed nakedness.