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

SISA spaces

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.
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.
A photograph of a room with one window. The photo showcases the room as semicircular and has a black floor with a window reflected, and brown-white brick walls with a sunlit window.

On Confinements & Coexistence: Perspectives on the Impact of Covid-19 on the Mental Health of Women

Pandemics have a profound psychological impact. They are known to disrupt one’s sense of safety, security, certainty, control, concordance, and predictability in life events. Ever since the outbreak of Covid-19 the infection has caused a phase-shift from known ways of living. Human beings appear to have switched from a ‘growth-orientated lifestyle’ to a fear or…
An illustration of a woman looking in the mirror, with adornments. She is wearing a pink hat with a feather, and blue long hair.

Video: How to be a Friend to Yourself

This thought-provoking, luminously illustrated The School of Life video reminds us of self-compassion being essential to building our own selves up, and being a safe space where we can extend the same love and imagination to our vulnerabilities, insecurities, fears, and doubts as we do to our friends.
On a peach coloured background, a woman of colour jumping. She is wearing purple ballet shoes and a purple one-piece swimsuit with white-grey patterns scattered on it. Her eyes are wide open and her hands are stretched open on both sides. Her hair is brown and open. She is throwing multi-coloured confetti. Beneath her is a blue circle. In a semicircle to her right is the typography, in purple: Throw kindness around like confetti!

Interview: Kripa Joshi

There have been several recent examples of actors, movies and events being called out because of their lack of representation, like for the Oscars. With social media it is easier to create and distribute diverse art and also to voice the need for diversity. So it needs engagements and awareness in society. Change will happen once enough people demand that change.
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