Archive for March 8th, 2008

March 8, 2008

Women’s day, superwomen and some subversive linkage

When the Indian edition of Good Housekeeping came out it was promoted on TV with an ad featuring an attractive young urban mother who had no difficulty in balancing working from home, spending quality time with her child, doing domestic duties (shopping, cooking, etc) and still being pretty and put together and so on.

And I remember an awful episode of The Big Fight (the one with Dia Mirza and Rakhi Sawant on it?) when the editor of one of the big women’s magazines said happily that today’s woman wanted the face of Aishwarya Rai, the heart of Mother Teresa and the brains of (I forget who, but I think it was) Indira Nooyi. And apart from the obvious eyerolliness at the cliché, I was thinking wait, what? This is supposed to be a good thing?

And when I see how the media celebrates International Women’s Day (which is today, by the way ) it seems that a lot of the time that is the image of women that we’re supposed to be celebrating. So there’ll be the occasional news story about a woman in rural India who has done something special, and perhaps an interview with an elderly woman who has had an interesting life, and the rest of it is all directed at that attractive young multitasker who is superwoman. Isheeta tells be she has seen coupons for free facials being given out to celebrate this day. And I’m thinking maybe setting even higher and more impossible standards for women is not a great way to ‘celebrate’ them. I’d far rather people read Octo’s excellent Strategic Incompetence post and worked at not doing everything perfectly for once.

Also, I’ve been meaning to link to The Seam of Skin and Scales for a while now and this seems as good a time as any. I suspect the people who made the billboard above would disapprove quite strongly.

Or you could read the Blank noise project blog, where something useful is usually done on women’s day.

I myself celebrated the day by buying books with friends. This too is a good course to follow.

March 8, 2008


Spoils of today’s trip to the Calcutta book fair, with her and her and her.

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales – Bruno Bettelheim
Flesh in the Age of Reason: How the Enlightenment Transformed the Way We See Our Bodies and Souls – Roy Porter
Lights Out for the Territory – Iain Sinclair
At Swim-Two-Birds – Flann O’Brien (I’d benevolently given away my copy last year so I was thrilled to find another. Vintage, in good condition too.)

Poetry (all Faber and Faber editions, if you’re interested in that sort of thing):
Electric Light – Seamus Heaney
New Selected Poems 1966-1987 – Seamus Heaney
Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis – Wendy Cope
Collected Poems 1937-1971 - John Berryman
Omeros – Derek Walcott

Carrying things back to Delhi is not going to be fun.