Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Interrogating the feminist in contemporary (popular) culture

What do men and women want?

Maybe this has been discussed too often. Yet, the novelty of our rapidly transforming times uncomfortably redirects it to us. The acute specialization and compartmentalization of our living experiences means that often we’re observing the most obvious things from an outsider’s perspective. Of course, the full picture is hardly available to us (if ever it was available to humanity) despite our best efforts to empiricise our little knowledge and so, in that sense, tepid and stereotypical gender roles have always polarized opinions in all ages.

What we face, then, is the task of coming out of our respective existential bubbles to interrogate what we prefer to see, hear, think and speak forth. Feminist convictions have been challenged throughout the ages by the most hostile and fundamentalist naysayers. It is to the feminist/specialist that we have to go to understand the shifting patterns of women’s liberation and feminism and their location within and as part of the changing theatres of our civilisational battles.

This issue, therefore, is addressed to the feminist movement – the feminist movement not in the academia but in so-called popular culture, in and amongst the masses as it were. For if we are to successfully counter the alarmingly popular charge that feminists have become outmoded in this commodified globalised world, we must generate discourse on the reach and efficacy of feminism not within the confines of universities and the supposed centres of (formalised) theory but in all those areas and places which it has always meant to invert. Also, if much of feminism has become gentrified in accordance with bourgeois models, then we need to explore the relevance of such politics as it relates to our present and to our future.

In a way, what is at hand is not feminism but feminisms. For Issue 2, Volume 5 of Literophile, we invite critical interrogations on the presence and success of these feminisms – radically subversive of bourgeois politics or otherwise – in streets, homes and workplaces. These interrogations should be mailed to literophile@gmail.com by Sunday, 15th of July 2012 as original and annotated papers and/or semi-academic articles and commentaries of not more than 3,000 words. Contributors may focus on the following pointers:

a)      Traditional woman verses modern woman: a misconceived/untruthful divide?
b)      (Re?)defining ‘Indian woman’ in mainstream media. Soap operas, cinema, music and more.
c)      Obsessions of urban women: commodification and identity.
d)     An activist academia? Changes in feminist theory globally.
e)      Grassroots activism: women’s empowerment or bourgeois indoctrination?
f)       (Re?)claiming the city: feminism, urbanity and the anxiety for space.
g)      Yours graphically: feminism, erotica, porn.

Please note that papers must be annotated in accordance with MLA regulations. Contributors are also requested to submit short bio-notes (of not more than 200 words).

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