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Showing posts from 2013

I don't know

The other day, on my way to work, I passed a flyover under which there are usually a few poor people clustered, many of whom rush out and start begging as soon as the traffic lights turn red. That day, there was a bigger crowd than usual, several families in fact, men, woman, children and babies. One of the babies, a girl between 7-9 months old was rolling about on the brick floor of the space, howling at the top of her baby voice, loud enough for her voice to pierce through my closed car window. She was crying as if in agony for something, rolling from side to side across that floor. And not one of the many adults clustered around her so much as turned, paused their conversations to even look at her. One of the ladies had a bamboo pole about 10 feet long and used it to nudge the baby farther away from her. The many children under that flyover didn’t blink an eye, didn’t turn to look. No one seemed to have felt an urge to pick up that baby, to hold her close and comfort her, to find o…

The Dove ad and the Beauty Stereotype

The interesting thing about human beings is that they have the mindspace for the intangibles…like beauty. What an abstract concept, and yet, every day, human beings have the capacity and desire to appreciate beauty in myriad forms – in nature, in other people, in architecture and so much more. I don’t know another species that does so, except in Disney cartoons. So why does the new Dove commercial, which talks about women being more beautiful than they think, bring out mixed emotions?

On the minus side: I don’t know whether it was the editing of the ads or the way that the strangers these women interacted with actually used only these terms to describe the women, but the overuse of the word thin had me cringing. Thin chin, thin face, thin this, thin that. Why weren’t more of the descriptions phrases like ‘strong chin’ or ‘smile-creased face’ or ‘intense eyes’, apart from the fact that the strangers may not be Mills and Boon writers in their spare time? Did they not use these types of d…

A Patriarchal Mythology

I have always cordially hated the Ramayana, even as a child. My C. Rajagopalachari copy of the Mahabharata is in tatters from frequent reading whereas the Ramayana lies pristine. In light of the recent gangrape in Delhi, and even more, the spate of violence against women which seems to be spiraling upwards, I am increasingly convinced that the Ramayana was a text written to enforce the patriarchy. Rama, the ‘Maryada Purushottam’ whom all men must strive to emulate is either misogynistic, a disrespecter of women or a spineless coward. Beginning with blind obedience of a father’s unjust command, to humiliating Shoorpanakha whose only crime was that she desired him, to killing Vali by foul means because Sugreeva coveted Vali’s wife, to making Sita go through an Agni Pariksha because she had the misfortune of being captured – where was his agni pariksha for having remained sans spouse in the forest, may I ask? – to his final rejection of Sita because of what an uneducated man said, rather…