Some books are easy to read, yet stay with you long after you've finished the last chapter. Nivedita Menon's Seeing Like a Feminist (Penguin/Zubaan, 2012) is a timely work that explains a complicated subject without over-simplifying it.
In Karen Sander's dystopian young adult book Tankborn, the world is a stringent caste system where race and origins determine all status. Tankborn was a hit and the sequel, Awakening, just came out this April, which means now is a great time to discuss the race and gender angle of the book.
After these terrible crimes come to light, we all want to see them result in major change. Harvard University is sponsoring a policy task force "to offer recommendations to India and other South Asian countries." But the group received a critique from Delhi blogger Nivedita Menon, who wrote in a post called "Harvard to the Rescue!" that Harvard would be better able to discuss rapein South Asia not from the ivory tower, but by consulting with feminists on the ground in India.
Talking sex—especially about the Kamasutra—is progressive, but discussions of the political economy of the text don't get the same pedestal. How can I claim and embrace queer liberation (as much as I may want to), when it silences someone else?
While we might scoff at the spray-tanned guys of "Jersey Shore" and their year-round pursuit of bronze, skin lightening isn't so easy to laugh off. First, skin lightening is far more globally and culturally pervasive than tanning, with pressure to lighten being highest for those of Asian, Latino, and African ethnicities. For instance, baseball star and native Dominican Sammy Sosa made headlines in 2009 when he copped to using a nightly skin bleaching cream that had noticeably whitened his face. A couple weeks ago, Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel sparked controversy regarding his forthcoming cosmetics line that includes a skin lightening solution called "cake soap."
This is the last week to catch the Portland International Film Festival, which the Northwest Film Center has been running since February 10th, screening several films a day in venues around Portland. One of the films on our radar here at Bitch was Pink Saris, a British documentary about a gang of women in Uttar Pradesh, India who wear hot pink saris to demonstrate their revolt against tradition and patriarchy. See the trailer and read what we thought after the jump...
This week's Feministory subject, Phoolan Devi, had a life that read like an action movie screenplay. In fact, her life BECAME an action movie screenplay. But integral to discussions of Devi and her harrowing story is the search for truth. Who knew the truth about her? Did she tell the truth? Did the books and movie about her tell the truth? Who WASN'T telling the truth? And which truth were her assassins following when they shot her in front of her home in 2001?
Shobhaa Dé came to the Indian publishing scene in the late-1980s like a South Asian Jackie Collins and has been credited with paving the way for a new generation of female Indian writers who represent a subsection of modern India that doesn't receive enough international attention: the über elite. Dé's cheeky, Bollywood-inspired chick lit novels feature storylines set in Mumbai's high society that have captivated the imaginations of the country's newly emerging and rapidly growing middle class—male and female alike—who fantasize about being able to live like their favorite Hindi film stars. Fifteen bestselling books later, Penguin India recently announced a new addition to its roster that will start making its way into bookstores next year: Shobhaa Dé Books.