Cricket, football, hopscotch, whatever the game, we have all wanted to be included for the sheer joy not only of exercising body and mind but also of being part of a team, of being noticed and celebrated. Sports and athletics offer us a playground to explore and express parts of ourselves that may otherwise forever lie dormant.
The spotlight that the world’s biggest sporting event (arguably) has along with the inherent gender and sexuality bias in sport come together in how sportspersons and athletes are both perceived and perceive themselves in mainstream and social media.
Lack of women’s representation in policy-making institutions has allowed men, often with minimal understanding and empathy, to decide what women in sports can or cannot wear. As a result, these policies have ended up undermining women’s comfort as well as agency.
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.