F for Feminisms | The usage of ‘feminisms’ is very recent in the history of feminist discourse—largely because of differences in opinion (amongst feminists) of how patriarchal structures affect/operate in specific social and political contexts. The common ground/aim, however, is to achieve a state where gender is seen as malleable instead of a rigid social construct–often used to oppress individuals/communities that do not adhere to it.
Because it’s 2017 and we should be open to dialogue and challenge our norms
G for Gender Performativity | A concept that recognises gender as an elaborate act or performance instead of binary male or female. This was first introduced by Judith Butler(American philosopher) in 1990. Drag is probably one such example that defies gender as a construct.
Because it’s 2017 and it’s time to put an end to gender based violence and oppression.
I for Intersectionality | Intersectionality is a very relevant trait of feminism, (especially for India)—where one cannot think of fighting for equal rights without understanding that there is a prevalent overlap of social identities like caste, class(economic and social), gender, ethnicity, religion, and disability. A discourse that does not take these into consideration is simply not a feminist one.
Because it’s 2017 and feminism is not a marketing tool to sell your new nude-shade lipstick.
J for Justice | Social justice is a system based on some universally agreed values of human rights and equality. It explores the relationship of an individual with the society and defines how their rights are manifested at every level(social, economic, political). This is also the core idea of the feminist movement that works towards removing oppression. Often the criticism that social justice faces is that it is elitist and for the privileged which is exactly why we need a feminist movement to make it more accessible and inclusive.
Because it’s 2017 and the ethics of social justice demand that we recognise every individual’s basic human right to achieving their full potential (without oppression.)
K for Kindness | Kindness is the quality of being considerate and empathetic towards others. The idea of kindness seems the most obvious but as we’ve seen in recent times is probably the toughest—to embrace and make room for dialogue and discussion with people who share different ideologies from yours.
Because it’s 2017 and in a time where social media thrives on calling out and shaming, it’s time to ‘call in’ and create room to have dialogue by showing empathy and kindness.
04 – Anti-Arrack Movements in India | Arrack is a cheap liquor that’s made from distilling fermented molasses(sugarcane, palm, etc). In the early 90s, the state government in Andhra Pradesh was receiving a lot of income from the sale and production, which led to a huge subsidy in the rates of arrack(these liquor contractors would eventually become politicians and hold important positions as ministers in the state). They also passed laws that allowed men to carry the liquor and drink at home—which led to domestic violence and directly impacted the economy because the men would spend all day drinking at home without going to work(and spend about 75% of their income on buying alcohol). The anti-arrack movement started in Dugabanta village of Nellore district as a result of a mass literacy mission that was happening around the time—women sat and discussed and quickly came to the conclusion that the sale of cheap liquor in their village was the cause of the domestic abuse and violence. They demanded that sale of arrack in their village be banned and that arrack shops be shut down. This agitation eventually spread to the rest of the state and around 200 shops were shut down during the period(of the agitation).
06 – LGBTQA movement in India | The first LGBT walk in India, is considered to be in 1999 by a small group of 15 people in Kolkata. Homosexuality was made illegal in India under the British rule in 1861—until the Delhi high court passed a law to decriminalise homosexuality in 2009 (Naz Foundation vs. Delhi high court) recognising Section 377 as a fundamental violation of dignity and privacy and basic human rights to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. This was later rebuked by the Supreme Court in December 2013 and Section 377 was re-instated and homosexuality was criminalised again. The Naz Foundation and many other groups filed review petitions post this judgement—but in vain. Shashi Tharoor, a member of the Indian National Congress Party introduced a bill in December 2015 to decriminalise homosexuality—which was rejected by a majority in the parliament. The Naz Foundation had stated that it would file a petition for review again against this decision. As of February 2016, the Supreme court has decided to review its stance on Section 377.
07 – Kali for Women: Zubaan | Urvashi Butalia and Ritu Menon set up Kali for Women in 1984 and Zubaan eventually became its own independent imprint in 2003. Kali for women is India’s first feminist publishing house that is for and by women and minorities. Their work especially has stood for providing a platform for women’s voices that would otherwise be unheard—for example, ‘A Life Less Ordinary’ which is Baby Halder’s inspiring and empowering journey as a young woman who was working as a domestic help in Delhi to an author. They were also one of the first publishers to bring out a book about sex education and women’s bodies in the 80s, through ‘Shareer ki Jankaari’ (About the Body). This book was written and illustrated by 75 village women. As a publishing house, they’re conscious of keeping their books affordable and accessible—making them a catalyst for social change and women’s rights in India.
09 – Jagori | Jagori, literally meaning ‘awaken, woman!’ is a feminist resource and learning centre that was set up in Delhi in 1984 by Kamla Bhasin, Abha Bhaiya, Runu Chakravarty, Gauri Choudhury, Sheba Chhacchi, Manjari Dingwaney and Joginder Panghaal. In their own words, it was set up as a creative space for feminist ideology and for women to spread this ideology amongst a larger constituency of women—especially villages and rural areas. Since their setup, they have been consistently advocating for single women, sexuality, mental health of women, safe travel for women in the railways and violence against women(Safe Delhi being their most recent campaign). Jagori also has a resource centre (most of which is available freely on their website) that has a lot of material in a nuanced manner on women’s issues and safety, that is targeted at urban and rural women.