A digital magazine on sexuality in the Global South: We are working towards cultivating safe, inclusive, and self-affirming spaces in which all individuals can express themselves without fear, judgement or shame

self love

An illustration of a blue flower. The tips of its petals are dark blue and lighten as they meet at the yellow-brown centre. A long spindly green stem supports the flower and has three dark and light green round leaves and a dark green bud.. Behind it, on a grey-blue background is a cityscape dotted with buildings and palm trees with muted colour and grey overtones.

Camouflage

I cannot let anyone see the stretch marks, the cellulite, the saggy breasts. I cannot reveal my hideous body. I feel anxiety well up inside me even as I visualise this eventuality. I read about ten ways for a fat person to have meaningful sex. I learn that throwing a cloth over the bedside lamp will help hide my flaws.
A photograph of a rocky landscape with a tabby cat sitting atop a grey rock, lined with green-brown grass, licking itself.

Editorial: Sexuality and Self-care

Continuing with our theme of self-care being about sustaining ourselves, our work, our movements, keeping the fires lit, and relating with love to ourselves, in our mid-month issue we bring you more articles looking at self-care from different perspectives – individual, queer, activist, collective, organisational, not necessarily separated, or in this order, of course.
On a pink background, an illustration of a person of colour with black curly hair. On each side are plants, hanging and potted including leaves, cacti, and flowers. The person's arms are wrapped around their torso.

The Politics of Self Care and Feminism

In a time when reason is more valued than emotion, unravelling and understanding the politics of self-care becomes all the more fundamental for us, and the movements we seek to develop and build. When our bodies, our emotions and our needs become weapons to be used against us, acts of defiance become rooted in thinking about your self and how we practice it. I find I am faced with more questions than answers, but I also know that asking the questions is the first step to finding the answers
A photograph of MHI director Raj Mariwala; she is playing with a grey-brown dog, squatting in grass.

Interview – Raj Mariwala

Self-care is influenced by the environment we inhabit, the way we relate to others, the way we negotiate with other living beings or structures. Self-care is also interlinked with other types of care – whether that is in community resources, psychosocial support, engagement with medical and health care institutions, and of course in collective agency and solidarity.
A photograph of a book-shelf, brown-black, with differently coloured books.

Caring and care-giving

Just as capitalism has learned how to co-opt feminism into its model, it has done the same to ‘wellness’, so much so it has become an industry of its own. Mental wellbeing, no matter how necessary and important it is, remains a luxury with more than half of our country either unaware of available mental health resources or not in a position to even afford therapy.
A green-bue gradient photograph of a field of grass and white flowers.

A ‘Peoples Self-Care’ In-the-Making: Perspectives on the Multiple Possibilities of Existence and Care

But self-care is not a clean and happy procedure, it is not definitively achievable when systematically explored. To understand the scope of self-care we need to see the ‘dark side’ of the landscape, and destroy the versions of self-care that denounce our plurality. In this fight, the only outcome can be a recognition of experiences beyond the wellness narrative structured around the neoliberal agenda. This article is an attempt at foregrounding some aspects of self-care that decentralise the prevalent commodification of it.
A graphic illustration with a black, inky tree with branches outlined by a silhouette of a face.

MY VAGINA IS DUKHA?

Ageing vaginas in ageing female bodies are joked about. But a vagina shouldn’t have the task of pleasing anybody but itself first. To begin with, we’ll have to love and respect our vaginas in order to pleasure them. Love them just as they are. If they feel a little dry, don’t despair. Use a lubricant or a little coconut oil. If my labia are unshapely, they’re still my labia and respond very nicely to gentleness and tenderness. If I don’t love and respect my ageing body, in need of gentle, loving, patient care, then who will, for God’s sake?
A photograph of a person's arm and hand. The background of a couch with a blue duvet is blurred, and the focus is on the person's hands, with brown nail-paint, and a blue pen in their hands. They are writing in a spiral bound notebook. Beside them is a black cup.

Dear Diary: The radically feminist creative journalling practice that nobody talks about

My journal has many entries that are speculative and fantastic. Writing about the mundane leads me to question the way the world operates and from there I frog-leap into a world of ideas where I imagine a radically different way of being. In my journal, I imagine a politics of care, community, and compassion. I become grand, valuable, and unstoppable, even in a world where I am sometimes made to feel small.
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