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  • Same-Sex Love: In Conversation with Dr Ruth Vanita

    Meena KandasamyDR RUTH VANITA (b.1955), is a renowned academic and author specializing in lesbian and gay studies. Some of her acclaimed books include Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society (2002), Love’s Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India and the West (2005), and Gandhi’s Tiger and Sita’s Smile: Essays on Gender, Sexuality and Culture (2005).

    In this interview she answers questions about the representation of LGBT issues in the English media, mainstream cinema, Indian literature and the women’s movement. Continue reading

    Matters of Maal

    a.k.a. The Day Feminism Crawled Out The Back Door

    Sahi maal hai” they said,

    as they walked down the street,

    breezing by me

    waiting patiently for a dear friend. Continue reading

    Childbirth and Choices

    WHILE THE FEMINIST movement may have focused more on the right to abortion than other reproductive rights, there is a growing acknowledgment in the US and elsewhere that women’s right to safe, natural childbirth is being severely threatened by the imposition of the medical model. In the medical system, pregnant women are treated as ‘sick’ and childbirth as a dangerous event deserving of any and all intervention designed to make the process as ‘safe’ as possible. A spate of blogs and books written by moms, midwives and other reproductive health advocates indicates that women aren’t taking this lying down. Continue reading

    The Shaming of Scarlett Keeling

    THAT VIOLENCE against women rarely grabs any attention except for in the presence of gruesomeness, sensationalism, drama and tragedy is already known. But more disturbing by far than the fact that the murder of a teenage tourist in Goa last month has been making headlines precisely due to its cocktail of all the above elements is the level of moral sanctimony that accompanies the media coverage, the ensuing debates, and even what are ostensibly the responses of those who knew Scarlett Keeling and her family. Continue reading

    Beyond Pro-Life and Pro-Choice: Abortion in India

    NOT ALL OF US may agree on whether or not abortion is ethical. Some may feel that it is sinful, but a subjective choice nonetheless. Others may approve in theory but with a dose of “abortion guilt”, to use Naomi Wolf’s term. Still others, I realise, may condemn it altogether. But wherever we stand personally on this spectrum of opinion, the fact that abortion (legal or not) is inevitable in any society should be regarded as the foundation of one’s argument. And as feminists, a certain understanding that real women’s lives hang in the balance between ideologies is a must. Simply put, in the absence of safe and legal abortions, hundreds of thousands of women a year would die or suffer bodily harm as a result of unsafe, illegal ones. Continue reading

    How to Eat A Wolf

    Does all lust start and
    end like this? Don’t get me
    wrong. I loved my wolf.
    I held him tethered like
    a pussycat. I nursed
    the rumble in his belly
    with hands gentle as a burglar’s.
    He lived on milk
    and blood and ocean. He
    had violets for his furs.

    Continue reading

    The Immorality of Saying ‘No’ to Sex Education

    OVER THE YEARS, sex education has been debated either in the context of concerns about population control or AIDS prevention. Does education about sex and sexuality have to be perceived only within the confines of these two arenas? In the wake of the Central Government’s attempts to introduce sex education from Class VI onwards, the refusal of State Governments of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chattisgarh has thrown up other issues. It is no accident that these are states with significant Sangh Parivar presence in Government and their refusal stems largely from a perception that sex education will lead to corruption of Indian culture. Continue reading

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