There was a time when feminism was a word more shunned than owned, a time when those who chose to identify as feminist were regarded with suspicion, sometimes even aversion. ‘Homebreakers’, ‘anti’family’, ‘anti’marriage’, ‘deracinated’ – these were the kinds of epithets that were hurled at feminists. Today, there’s almost a complete reversal: feminism is fashionable, it’s what many want to claim, it’s what many men want to lay claim to!
Is this then cause to celebrate? Perhaps not. Today more than ever, it’s important to recognize the richness of feminism, or rather, the multiple feminisms that have grown and flowered, but equally, it’s important to remember that the roots of our feminisms lie not only in its more articulate voices and its most seen faces but also in the thousands of women on the ground who have fought, and who continue to fight, to make our lives better. Would the #MeToo movement have arrived at this point in our lives for example, had it not been for women like Rupan Deol Bajaj, the first woman to file a case of sexual harassment in India as long ago as 1988, or Bhanwri Devi, the Dalit woman from Rajasthan whose gang rape while performing her work led eventually to the Vishakha guidelines and the law on sexual harassment?
So Many Feminisms!, our conclave and celebration, marks the multiplicity of feminisms in India, it pays tribute to the diverse and sometimes contesting, but always political and subversive feminisms that live and thrive among us. Today, feminism lives not only in the hearts and minds of women, but also in pedagogy, in art, in music, in performance and so much more. Join us for two days of celebration, of debate and discussion, films and exhibitions, and to mark the relentless march of feminism to horizons that still remain distant, but are no longer unreachable.
Mark your calendars and RSVP now! Details will be out soon.