Tuesday, August 30, 2011

15 of the First Female Professors in History

Jasmine Hall writes in sharing this great new blog post from her site...Inspiring read - about Greek, other European and American professors.

Can someone research this in India? Nalanda University must have had some female professors?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Wave trainee needs support for further education - please help!

My name is Vandana. I left home when I was 20 due to disagreements
with my family over marriage and further education. I have not
disclosed my location to them since then so I avoid using my last name
due to the fear of being tracked as I also fear for my physical

I have been accepted into Prague Film School, Czech Republic to study
documentary filmmaking, for the term starting in September 2011 and
finishing in May 2012.

For two years I worked at Jagori Grameen, a grassroots NGO
in HP which was started by Abha Bhaiya, a well-known women's rights activist in
India. I was also a videoblogger at WAVE (Women Aloud:
Videoblogging for Empowerment). To see some of my videoblogs, go to

I don't have
the financial means to pay for my education but I do have a vision. I
want to study documentary film-making because I want to travel across
India and around the world, meet people who live on the margins and
voice their issues by making politically and socially relevant films.
Having seen so much violence in my own life and emerging against it
has inspired me to make films which give a voice to those who suffer from violence so
that we can work towards the creation of a just and violence-free
world. If I get this opportunity to study in Prague Film School I will
inspire, encourage and motivate many women like me to dare to dream.

I have received 100% scholarship to cover my tuition fees which is 14,
800 euros. I require more funds to cover my airfare. computer, camera
and living expenses in Prague. I have already raised 5,000 euros.
I need to raise an additional 3,50,000 rupees. Can you help me in any
way with doing that? I just have 10 days before I leave and this is
very urgent.

With this email I am sending you my resume, my application materials
for Prague Film School which include my statement of purpose/college
essay, recommendation letters from Abha Bhaiya and Sapna Shahani and a
video titled Gaddi weavers in Himachal which has been produced by me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Public exposure to media is like flesh to the body and so is its impact on us. The images in media mould our opinion and affect the way in which we see the world around us.

Television is the spinal source of information for the youth of today. The youth reflect what they see and try to emulate that in their day to day lives. The way in which women are represented in the media, especially on television could lead to the continued oppression of women and the continued belief that they are the objects of male satisfaction (the pervasiveness of such stereotyping is evident in advertising).

In the early 1970s there was an upswing in feminist movement which affected the television market as many women oriented issues were taken up by the tele directors. But there was a fall in the trend by the next decade itself therefore the impact was somewhat limited. The images in the media have by and large proved to be detrimental to women as the portrayal of such imagery has clearly reasserted the patriarchal superstructure rather than helping women assert their own ground. Images running through the media not only affect men’s behavior but also affect women’s interpretation of conducting themselves in a particular fashion. The images that prevail in the media are social dangers to women as it circumscribes them from breaking the societal stereotypes.

Media as an agent of socialization (Holtzman,p.76,Weimann,p.20). Sreberny and van Zoonen p.226) stated also in the meaning theory that “by presenting endless portrayals of reality in its content, mass communications provide experiences from which we collectively shape our meanings” and in this way not only does the media influences the society but it also upholds the current societal values and views solidifying the societal norms of the time and hence aiding in creating the social structure.

If we compare the decades of 50’s and 60’s where the women performed their “engendered roles” of submitting to their husbands and were affectionate and consummate homemakers, only 32% of women were seen in television characterization. Later on during mid 70’s as mentioned earlier a slight transformation was seen which also was not that long lasting. For instance, the Charlie’s Angels who were the epitome of strong, tough and independent women crime fighters also worked and took orders from the mysterious male Charlie. In addition, they were dressed to accommodate the male gaze that in no way makes them epitome of impressive independent female crime fighters or women who know what they want.

Another important point to be noted is that women in television are more concerned about sex and marriage as compared to their male counterparts. The Indian television is flooded with the stereotypical storylines comprising of “kitchen politics” where women hold their ground in terms of back biting at domestic level, decorating themselves with ornaments and rearing their children in the most “moral and pro societal” ways. Society’s bias is so commonplace and is more or less a normative thing for the society to commoditize women in terms of their beauty and the kind of work that is “allowed” to them.

The images of professional women which are also taking up the television industry are problematic. The “superwoman” imagery of women who are able to prove their acumen at work and are also identified as model home makers and mothers give the illusion that professional women are capable of “multi tasking” and they can be able breadwinners and at the same time can handle domestic chores without any extended help. This is not a favorable situation for women in any way. There is a great deal of “illusion” of celebrating the spirit of womanhood. When the women were toiling their voices for equality in job, it now seems that the media imagery is depicting women having achieved their aspirations as television every now and then comes up with images of equality won and women across the country are empowered. There is a created sense of women having no reason to fight over anything or demanding equality because the “media reality” depicts the realization of such equality which leaves no reason to fight.

When we see the news on the television, there we witness the male and the female news anchors and along with the “weather girls” which are also a measure of amusement. In addition to this, while participating in interviews women are much more likely to be asked questions about their love life than men while men in all probabilities would be questioned about their careers, goals and accomplishments.

Also issues affecting women are also not issues of grave concern, the issues are mostly overlooked as they are “not to be brought beyond the realm of private”. We rarely hear about the stoning of women in Afghanistan and the genital mutilations that prevail all over Africa and the Middle East. Marital rapes, domestic abuse and wage inequality are also some of the issues which are not brought out into the open.

Also the women issues which are covered did not involve any sort of interpretation in terms of critical thinking of the issues rather they were merely taken to be at the face value and were more or less left at that.

Women depicted in the music videos and other “glamour” performances is another major source of commoditization of women where women are nothing more than merely objects of male desire and the sexual violence in such videos adds to the desirability quotient of the male gaze. The fast growing trend of artificial treatments like “plastic surgeries” and “liposuctions” to turn attractive overnight is also part of “fitting” well in the male gaze where one caters to somebody else’s expectations rather than their own.

Women have been effectively portrayed in the typecast gender roles where the advertisers can sell domestic use products to the ever smiling happy mothers who are symbolic of happy homemakers having no issues with their condition.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Slut Walk at Delhi- An Overview.

Social activists (against the walk): Look at the walk ...its all over..everywhere!...these bunch of young women only know hooting and shouting which has nothing to do with the "art" of protestation, "SlutWalk" is what they've named it, following their Western Counterparts, What did they achieve?, look at the media hype and the publicity they've got.. What a sham!..Oh! Praise the Lord!!...they have no sense of Feminism...What is wrong with them?

Well, I am not writing this note to traverse "the type" women/men who would have opinions inclining to the negation of the Slut Walk (Besharmi Morcha), Delhi and who are in sync with the above mentioned pointers! ...because I think each has the right to voice their opinion...But wait, ...if they have a fair chance, so do I !

By far, Asia's largest slut walk and being second in number (after the one that took place in Bhopal on the 17th of July,2011) saw women and men, "the gutsy and the for ones" coming out of their homes on a Sunday to march in solidarity and hoot, yes hoot, "We Support".

One of the major concerns that has been raised is about the Walk's Reach and its Legitimacy.

What section of the society did the "Walk" cater to?...The concern shared is, if at all,some light is seen.... ( Hold on, for the record, you'll need many more walks before you actually see the Sun rising!)...the results are going to remain in the periphery of the urbane...how will it reach the rural dwellings where women have little or no understanding of the word "rights"?..where it is a mere word for them. What about these women?...(Breathe-Breathe-Breathe!...chill man!.. let me spell A first!..)

On a more serious note, Yes, undeniably, we as women and citizens cannot repudiate the sufferings of the rural women, but should that be a reason for women in the metropolis to not take a step forward and initiate a movement?..The step taken is not just in sync with our Western Counterparts...(Duh! so what if its not an "original" Idea, it still is a good one!..it's an 'uproar' where the idea remains behind and the Waves, the very Idea stimulates, create ripples...that's the intent of the "idea"..so don't complain, I am not attempting a Monet here....so spare me the copyrights!....it's a "movement",a cause which I feel for and want to be associated with!)...

Well, there are multi-players who would talk of "Slut" being a repugnant word and would condemn its "women" users terming it uncivilised..while 'the word' might be used as a lingua franca in the male commune..as commonly as a bird shitting,perhaps!...

Also, I didn't see any body in their underpants at Jantar Mantar....to help soothe the roving eyes, which came with zeal to "see" the goings on! and the "thunderous right wingers" who did not get enough to flutter! Well, yes, there were "onlookers" who had little to do or know about the cause, but seemed fascinated with a pool of women shouting and hooting!..so they tagged along the groups and hovered and that's just what they did!..but to their dismay,couldn't fetch much!..Because it is a movement, keeping in mind, the place and context, (please mind the name,"Besharmi Morcha")

Many women turned up how they are "usually dressed" and "chased" to show that "Clothes" have nothing to do with "Rape" and/ or "Molestation", also being the Underlying theme of the movement.

Kudos to this one! ...The movement has just begun....As Chennai follows the trail!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011