January 03, 2013

Not Listening

Last week, someone I had held in high regard for many years lost my respect. This man, a social commentator and activist for progressive masculinities in Zimbabwe, had written on my Facebook wall that the mainstream women’s movement in Zimbabwe was increasingly becoming an irrelevant entity and that big western funders were ‘counterproductively funding an […]

December 27, 2012

Why I Write

When I was ten years old, I began writing The Great American Novel. A year later, having achieved over 100 handwritten pages in childish elementary-school script, I got stuck in a corner of the plot from which I couldn’t extricate myself and, in disgust, chucked the whole thing in the wastebasket. (This was before recycling.)


November 01, 2012

Pink Saris: A One Woman Show

I teach a course on postcolonial literature and film and recently showed students the documentary Pink Saris by award-winning British filmmaker Kim Longinotto. The film enables us to follow Sampath Pal, the leader of the Gulabi gang, around several districts in Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh. The group, which began in 2006, has become well known for […]

October 10, 2012

Gush & Awe: How American Politics Reinforces Stereotypes of Wifehood



Some weeks ago, I watched two prominent women in the national spotlight, who spoke to American audiences in their roles as longtime partners of the men contesting the 2012 Presidential election.

In speeches that were televised across the United States to an audience of millions, first Ann Romney and then Michelle Obama […]

August 22, 2012

Oprah’s Women of India




‘I thought I was in a movie,’ reflects a teary-eyed Oprah Winfrey as she sashays through groups of women at the Radha Vallabh temple in Vrindavan. Decked out in a marigold garland and enough tears for the entire ‘city of widows’, the cinematic surrealism of Oprah’s performance does not elude her […]

June 27, 2012

The Mythic Disappearance of the Wage Gap

As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle over acquiring the votes of US women, there have been repeated news reports about a “reverse gender gap.” This term refers to the growing rise of women out-earning their male spouses. During the late 80s, when the US government began tracking comparative earnings within couples, 23% of working […]

June 07, 2012

Ending Son Preference One Girl at a Time

When you hear the phrase Indian feminist, who immediately comes to mind? Recently blogger Battameez posted this question and surmised that Deepa Mehta, Arundhati Roy and Gayatri Spivak would lead this list. To that one must surely add Vandana Shiva, Vina Mazumdar, Urvashi Butalia and many others; happily the list is extremely long.

For me […]

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