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.
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.
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’?
Performance and ‘proper’ go hand in hand because every performance has rules and prescriptions, so you can tell whether it’s a good performance or not, whether it’s skilled or not. Otherwise, it appears, you can’t understand or appreciate performance – or know if you’re doing it right!
For so long, private has meant a place that I was forced to create, claim and carve out to hide away from the public violence. And if I’ve been allowed to further wallow in it then I don’t want to – thank you very much.
The virtual world allows me to challenge the hold of patriarchy on my ‘effeminate’ body; in a sense, it allows me to evade the policing of desire that my body shares with another, its flows and slippages, the messy and the unkempt. While virtual sex offers a window to revisit the sensual, it is also not immune to limitations and insecurities.
In the video section, watch Tishani Doshi perform one of her most haunting and popular poems ‘Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods’. Using the movements of/in body, music and language, it is a powerful expression of Tishani’s expansive vision of resistance, freedom and solidarity in the face of violence.
I’ve essentially thought of movement as a kind of freedom, but one that has the capacity to destabilise you in some way. My most creative moments are when I’m not moving, when I am in fact rooted and still.
This issue of In Plainspeak while inviting us to embrace the joys and pleasure in movement, also questions the ways in which movements are facilitated or obstructed, visibilised or invisibilised, and the spaces that we must envision to find freedom in/to movement.