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June 12, 2017

#FeminismWeek: The Female Gaze

Text by Aalika Mahindra

The fight for equal rights for women is far from over

We continue to enter into new waves of feminism, with each one adding layers of complexity to the equality onion. In their latest avatar, feminists have embraced intersectionality – a frame of thought built on the idea that one person’s experience of oppression is not equal to another’s simply on the basis of being a woman; there are multiple variables such as race, religion, caste and economic status to factor into the equation. In India, where the patriarchy and obsequiousness to social hierarchy are such inherent components of daily life, a cross section of communities have essentially been rendered numb or oblivious to their repercussions on the broader issue of gender inequality and intersectional identity. Not to mention the epidemic of feminism-lite thanks to unlimited social media platforms. Adding a Siena filter to a progressive slogan on a coffee shop chalkboard does not a feminist make.

However, we would be wrong not to acknowledge the Indian men and women who have been fiercely advocating for equality between the sexes. Whether it’s comedians Tanmay Bhat with his feminist bee on Snapchat, and Aditi Mittal’s solo show Things They Won’t Let Me Say, or equal right’s activist Harish Iyer’s constant fight for women, children and LGBTQ, Aranya Johar’s spoken word poetry, Krutika Susarla’s 36 Days of Feminist Type, Kiran Gandhi’s marathon run that broke social stereotypes, Rupi Kaur’s thought-provoking poetry, and more…. The Female Gaze turns its eye towards the individuals and organizations that are initiating legitimate dialogues and changing the discourse on feminism in India.

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