Vijayalakshmi Harish is a book blogger and writer. To paraphrase her librarian, she is a slightly cracked, but good egg. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @GranthaMaven.
Dear Richa Chadha, daughters cannot be, and should not be a 'cure' for misogynist fathers. Expecting this is an unreasonable and unfair burden on them.
The first look of the upcoming short film, Devi, dropped recently. With an ensemble cast of talented actors such as Kajol, Neena Kulkarni, Mukta Barve and others, and a plot that promises a look into gender-based violence, it looks like a cracker of a watch!
There's a 2013 law that restricts sale of acid, but it is still very easy to procure, as this sting operation by Deepika Padukone showed.
More women are making their mark in Bollywood now, say Alankrita Shrivastava (Screenwriter & Director, Lipstick Under My Burkha) and Kanika Dhillon (Screenwriter, Manmarziyaan).
Deepika Padukone attended a protest in Delhi in support for the students attacked at JNU. The women of Bollywood are taking a stand.
Indian movies across languages have portrayed feminist themes more sensitively than Bollywood - here are the top feminist non-Hindi movies in the past decade..
Recently, actors Vidya Balan, Taapsee Pannu, Bhumi Pednekar, Alia Bhatt and Yami Gautam, supported the common misconception that women pull each other down. Maybe they need reminding about the many ways in which women lift each other up.
Aranyaka: Book of The Forest, by Amruta Patil and Devdutt Pattanaik, loosely inspired by the Upanishadic story of rishi Yajnavalkya and his two wives, Katyayani, and Maitreyi, brings to us timeless lessons about ecology, feminism, and empathy.
In this decade Bollywood has really woken up to centering stories around women. The result is a wide range of movies that cover nearly every aspect of women’s lives. Over the past decade, Bollywood has woken up to the fact that women want to see themselves on screen. While some like Mission Mangal or Veere […]
I didn’t know I had a sister halfway across the world. And since I’ve known, I’ve wanted to meet you and hired a detective to help me find you.
Alia and Shaheen Bhatt’s candid conversation with Barkha Dutt throws light on how depression is a family’s battle; not just an individual’s.
Chhapaak, based on the true story of acid attack survivor Laxmi Agarwal who won the International Women of Courage Award in 2014, promises to deliver a power packed performance by Deepika Padukone.
Filmmaker Paromita Vohra advocates replacing the term, 'virginity', with the more thoughtful, 'sexual debut'. Here is why that makes sense.
Good men out there (we know you exist), don't give knee jerk reactions to our troubles and do worse by restricting or disbelieving us; be our allies by unmasking the wolves.
Directors prize quality over box office numbers, actors today are more open to experimentation, and at least some of them are thinking about the choices they make from the perspective of social responsibility. There is a long way to go, but this is a good omen for Indian cinema.
Elsa and Anna are out in the wilderness again, having some rollicking adventures with their trusted companions, and like the first movie, Frozen 2 also has some timely and inspiring messages for grown-ups too!
An audio clip and a tweet thread by Utsav Chakraborty have raised some uncomfortable questions, highlighting the need for what women have been asking all along – better ways to report and deal with sexual harassment.
The trailer for Mardaani 2, with its repeated shots of women’s dead bodies and women being tortured comes across as voyeuristic and triggering. Just money-making violence porn?
A battle against the male ego that strives to “put women in their place.” It encompassed a greater rage. The rage of unbound, unbent and unburnt women, like herself.
A few male celebrities and characters in movies are speaking up about men's mental health issues. Let’s hope that this encourages and normalizes these conversations in society at large.
Casting himself as a victim, Anu Malik responded to the Me Too allegations with an open letter. However, Sona Mohapatra took him apart in a crisp and hard-hitting reply
Ayushmann Khurranna steals hearts once again! This time with his rendition of a what it really means to be a "gentleman." Here is why we are loving it!
Trailer of movie remake Pati, Patni Aur Woh has a tasteless 'joke' about marital rape in its trailer, but actors and makers want convince us that the movie is 'not sexist'. Yeah, right.
Anushka Sharma posted on Twitter about women achievers being called 'difficult' and 'divas', after former Indian wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer said he had seen Team India selectors "getting Anushka Sharma cups of tea" during a 2019 World Cup match.
Many are celebrating that Asterix finally has a female 'hero', Adrenaline, but others have pointed out that just having a female 'hero' is not quite enough - the why and how of her representation is equally important.
“Can I hug you?” I whispered. She nodded, and I held her. Burying her face in my shoulder, she wept. When she looked up again, I slipped her a brand new tube of red lipstick.
On 18th of October, 2019, astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir became the first two women to complete a spacewalk together, an inspiration to future generations, and also a tribute to all who have come before them.
The fact that Johnny Dada murdered three people, including a woman he 'loved', is tragic, but not surprising. After all, cinema has long glorified and normalized such violence in society, intentionally or unintentionally.
The Sky Is Pink, starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Farhan Akhtar, a biopic about Aisha Chaudhary and her family, is a story about family, love, and the importance of working together through grief.
As I watched War, I couldn’t help thinking how cool it would be if Kabir and Khalid (Hrithik and Tiger’s characters in War, respectively) were a romantic couple. It would have been the perfect way to mainstream LGBTQIA+ representation in Bollywood.
The company which produces the famous Barbie has introduced a new range of gender neutral dolls. While this may be a purely capitalistic move, it is still a move in the right direction.
As movies increasingly become propaganda tools and as fandoms become increasingly toxic, Anna Vetticad's words underline the importance of continuing to speak up, even if through negative movie reviews.
17 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg has been trolled incessantly by men who want her to shut up. While she handles it like a boss, it is a sad reminder that when men have nothing else to criticize a woman about, they will infantilize her or talk about her looks, to hide their own insecurities.
Sameera Reddy recently scaled the tallest peak in Karnataka, Mullayanagiri Peak, with her two month old daughter strapped to herself, making an important point that women don't need to sacrifice everything they love just because they have become mothers.
Game of Thrones gave us some great female characters. Arthdal Chronicles, a Korean TV series streaming on Netflix, also has women characters we can champion, and so far it is treating them better than GoT treated its women!
Saand ki Aankh ageism debate - just because earlier movies had actors playing roles different from their age/gender/race, does it mean it should continue?
Gully Boy may have been chosen to represent India at the Oscars because it caters to Hollywood sensibilities, but not everyone is happy that better movies, both from Bollywood and regional cinema, were overlooked.
Neena Gupta has won Best Actress for her work in The Last Colour, at Indian International Film Festival of Boston. The Last Colour spotlights the plight of widows in Varanasi through the friendship between a young girl and an older woman.
Just because an accusation of rape is labelled as 'fake', it doesn’t mean that rape did not happen. Netflix series Unbelievable examines this, along with what can be done better.
ALTBalaji’s latest offering, a fictionalized version of the Mangalyaan project, features female characters who are real, flawed, vulnerable, and triumphant.
Shouldn't we focus on a celebrity's work, and not their personal life? Taapsee speaks of this in a talk with her sister on an interview with Pinkvilla.
Richa Chadha, who plays a female prosecutor arguing a sexual harassment case in Section 375, said recently that gender parity in the legal profession can go a long way in creating a judiciary that is more sensitive to women.
Vidya Balan is one of the most talented actors today, and yet she was subject to the casting couch in her early career, along with body shaming - here she shares how to deal with it.
With Bhumika: a story of Sita, Aditya Iyengar presents an alternative history of Sita's life, offering food for thought about the nature of happiness, the question of choice, and the importance of finding solace in the past.
What could have been a powerful, inspiring story is diluted with platitudes, unnecessary subplots and a “feminism lite” attitude.
Priyanka Chopra’s response to Ayesha Malik at the BeautyCon raises several questions about the actor's and celebrities' take on political responsibility.
Domestic abuse is not always physical or sexual, it is also psychological and verbal. Palak Tiwari's Instagram post goes on to show that.
Describing her experience of depression as a “struggle,” Deepika Padukone reminds us that depression is not a choice.
A contestant on Bigg Boss Tamil openly admitted to harassing women in buses in his college days and it was treated as a hilarious joke instead of as the serious teachable moment that it could have been.
Post the release of the track Singapenney from the upcoming Tamil movie Bigil, a trending hashtag on Twitter, #SaluteMySingapenney is asking people to salute the women in their lives. But when so many of the tributes praise the women for being so self-sacrificing, is it really a cause for celebration?
Fans of Deepika Padukone are holding her accountable with the trending #NotMyDeepika over a rumour that she might be working with Luv Ranjan. Maybe men who run Bollywood should be held similarly accountable, for some real change?
A 'sexual' scene from the movie The Wedding Guest, which features Dev Patel and Radhika Apte has been leaked, and shared with only Radhika Apte’s name attached to it. A reminder that shame is attached only to female sexuality?
Lashana Lynch, a Black woman, will reportedly take over James Bond’s code name of 007 in the next Bond movie. While this is a good step forward for representation on screen, is it enough?
#DeepVeer give us #CoupleGoals, but what about the responsibility they have to their fans to give them a more realistic view of relationships?
Kangana Ranaut and her sister, Rangoli Chandel, are losing their credibility as fierce feminist icons as they refuse to accept criticism, behave like bullies and stand up for the wrong causes.
Not much attention is paid to female friendships, especially for older women. But female companionship, which is precious at any age, may be key to the emotional and physical well-being of older women.
Masculinity does not automatically equal toxicity. There are ways to “be a man” that are kinder and non-stereotypical –and male allies of feminism can help in getting the word out.
Most of the conversation around consent revolves around sex. While, asking for consent is extremely important in that context, it is also important in a variety of other situations.
Cyberbullying can and does happen to everyone. Ananya Panday’s initiative So+ aims to provide those being bullied, with resources and tips to protect themselves.
Zaira Wasim, of Secret Superstar and Dangal, has chosen to quit working in movies because she feels that it hampers her ability to follow her religion. While she should be free to follow her heart, is it also not harmful to hold her up as an example to be followed?
The problem with Kabir Singh is not that he is a violent alcoholic jerk –it's that these characteristics are made to look attractive. Here's how some other TV shows and movies handled similar 'problematic but genius doctors' and why they are better portrayed than Kabir.
Men wrote lewd comments on YouTube, and repeatedly called a number that flashes on screen in Aadai teaser having nude shot of actor Amala; RJ Sarithran turned tables on them, making them uncomfortable for a change.
Chandaraa Productions recently dropped Amala Paul from their upcoming movie, VSP33. In a strongly worded letter, she alleges they did so after watching the Aadai teaser, that features a nude shot of her.
Sameera Reddy had been trolled for her weight after her 1st pregnancy weight, and speaks up now in her second, glowing in her late pregnancy.
Carnatic singer Sudha Raghunathan’s daughter, Malavika, is marrying an African-American scholar, Michael. The fact that the family is being attacked by bigots for this private business is truly saddening.
Sonakshi Sinha’s upcoming movie Khandaani Shafakhaana revolves around getting people to talk openly about sex. Hopefully, this succeeds not just in reel life, but also in real life!
The I&B Ministry’s recent advisory to TV channels to avoid indecent and suggestive representation of children in reality shows is a great first move. However, there are many other issues that need to be addressed to make sure that children are protected.
Men feel entitled to comment on the looks of women, even women they don’t know – like this man did on Mini Mathur - and that is not something that can simply be ignored.
A popular stereotype about women is that they don’t like to reveal their age, but is that true? Or is it sexism and ageism that make them think twice about answering?
By using inappropriate pictures and sexist headlines, news media continues to undermine the achievements of women, as happened recently with Lisa Ray promoting her book.
The responses of Indian men to the Durex #OrgasmInequality campaign, which aims to start a conversation about female orgasms reek of fragile masculinity and misogyny.
In a recent video, Vidya Balan calls out body shamers and reminds us that everyone is special, irrespective of their body size, skin colour and other physical characteristics.
Salman Khan keeps dragging Priyanka Chopra’s name whenever Bharat comes up, indictaing that he hasn’t taken her rejection lightly. Not surprising, given that he is the poster boy for toxic masculinity.
Dutee Chand’s family has publicly spoken about their displeasure with her relationship with another woman, showing that in spite of Section 377 being struck down, there is still a long way to go.
In referring to Aishwarya’s romantic relationships, Vivek Oberoi slut shames her while trying to occupy the “nice guy” throne.
The stories in Magical Women, a new anthology of feminist speculative fiction by women, edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan, explore society, womanhood and identity via creative, fresh imaginations and new perspectives on old stories.
Parents often choose NRI grooms for their daughters in the hope of a good life abroad. For many, domestic violence and abuse become the bitter truth, as Instagram posts by ‘Navya’ actor Somya Seth show.
Netflix and other media platforms often lean towards sensational, attention-grabbing programming. As in the case of 13 Reasons Why, however, the real life effects can be devastating. Isn’t it time we demanded more accountability from the media?
By refusing to promote a fairness cream, Sai Pallavi has set an example for other celebrities. Her unwillingness to use or promote such products makes her a great role-model for the many women shamed for having dark skin.
The recently revealed motion poster for the Kangana Ranaut and Rajkummar Rao starrer seems to sensationalize self-harm and has drawn criticism from mental health experts.
The Madhuri Dixit production, 15 August, currently streaming on Netflix, offers metaphors for freedom that raise the question of how much freedom we have as individuals in our society. 15 August, a movie produced by Madhuri Dixit and her husband, hasn’t received the best of reviews. The absurdist comedy moves slowly and is at times […]
Feminism in literature has only grown in strength, from its inception in the works of the earliest female writers. Looking ahead, across genres, the future is feminist.
Assuming that beautiful women cannot able be intelligent and capable, or vice versa is another way in which patriarchy attempts to lock women into stereotypes.
When #MeToo allegations about Kevin Spacey surfaced, Ridley Scott was quick to reshoot scenes with another actor, weeks before his film’s release. But in India, the flag of patriarchy flies high as Alok Nath still finds work.
Children like Taimur didn’t choose to be celebrities. Unrelenting media attention harms them and steals away those moments of their childhood that should be free and unobserved.
A tendency to “put women in their place,” stems from a patriarchal attitude which believes that women are inferior to men. The easiest way to do that? Slut shaming.
While the cancelled spacewalk is not a case of blatant sexism, it does put a spotlight on how organizations must change to become more female-friendly spaces.
Delhi Crime, on Netflix, provides a different perspective on the Nirbhaya case, and the portrayal of female cops in the series is refreshing. But what about real female police officers?
Women around the world are finding creative solutions to problems facing the world today, and are breaking stereotypes while they do it.
Irrespective of how talented a woman may be, there are always those who seek to put her down by comparing her to others. Can we build women up instead?
Hayley Anthony sparked the idea that allowed her doctor, Jess Ting, to come up with a new surgery that would give trans women a more “vagina-like” vagina.
Maya Apa, a personal digital assistant app, is giving Bangladeshi women and men, access to information about health, psycho-social services and legal help
Through positive and empowering portrayals of women via her NISAA FM and NISAA network, Maysoun Odeh Gangat, is challenging stereotypes and changing views about women.
By focusing on upcycling post-production waste from garment factories on a huge scale, Reet Aus is cutting down on the excesses of the fast fashion industry.
Through her social enterprise, Lensational, Bonnie Chiu from Hong Kong is enabling marginalized women from developing nations to tell their stories through photography
Made in Heaven, through the lens of the Big Fat Indian Wedding, chronicles the price women pay to exist in our society.
Women in Iran barely have any sources of information about sexual health or legal protections. Through her app, Hamdam, disguised as a period tracker, Soudeh Rad (she/they), a queer feminist is sneaking that information to them.
Sooinn Lee began creating iPad apps for her son who has autism, and these are helping not only children with learning disabilities, but also children in underserved communities.
To combat the effects of desertification in her home country, Tunisia, Sarah Toumi came up with the innovative solution of planting acacia trees and employing sustainable farming practices. In the process, she is also empowering women in the region.
By co-founding MTTS, Nga Tuyet Trang is bringing life-saving technology to Vietnamese hospitals, allowing them to reduce infant mortality.
Through Baba Residence, an initiative of her organization The Ideas Factory, Yanina Taneva is keeping Bulgarian villages alive by bringing generations together. Yanina Taneva grew up in what were chaotic and difficult times for her country politically. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, which had repercussions across Europe, she saw an entire generation leave […]
The solar powered schoolbag invented by Thato Kgatlhanye is giving dignity to school children of South Africa, and helping them study better.
“We are leaders and change makers. Value the opportunity to serve and make it count,” says Rema Rajeswari, the female IPS officer making great strides in creating a sensitive, proactive police force.
Brenda Katwesigye has developed a virtual reality mobile app that can perform eye testing. Her company, Wazi Vision, also makes affordable eye glasses made of recycled plastic.
“Plastic that turns into compost. It’s a beautiful thing,” says Daphna Nissenbaum from Israel, who has “hacked plastic” by creating an alternative to single use plastic packaging.
Aisa Mijeno invented a lamp that runs on saltwater to bring light to poor, rural communities in the Philippines that are not connected to electrical grids. It all began when Aisa Mijeno quit her corporate job to volunteer and travel with Greenpeace Philippines. As part of that she lived with people of the Butbut tribe […]
Leila Velez and Zica Assis are determined that the women who walk into their salons looking for well-defined curls leave with boosted self-esteem. By the age of 16, Leila Velez was the youngest ever manager of McDonalds in Brazil. At the same time, Zica Assis, also in Brazil, was working as a hairdresser. In her […]
“Waste has a value. Waste is a currency,” says Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, the founder of WeCyclers, a social enterprise that is helping people in Lagos find cash in their trash.
Masue Katayama's innovation of converting abandoned company dormitories and buildings into old age homes made them affordable at a time when the options were only poor quality public homes or expensive private homes. Her daughter, Seiko Adachi, shares her dream of giving the elderly a life of dignity.
Azza Abdel Hamid Faiad is a smart 16 year high school student, and has already created a biofuel from waste plastic. She is the first in our series Women Innovators Around The World, for #IWD2019
Michelle Obama was loved by many as First Lady, especially by women. Her book Becoming is proof of why it was so. As this author tells us, so much of it resonates with the common experiences of being a woman.
Domestic abuse sounds like something that always happens to someone else, not to ourselves. I could not accept that an educated woman like me was being subjected to it. I was ashamed.
He doesn't read much, and doesn't understand how she can devour all those books... where do they go inside her? But it doesn't really matter, does it?
Anand Mahindra's tweet about working women having to put in extra effort is admirable as a conversation starter, but is that enough? And what about other women?
Women who do not seem to be religious are universally considered "bad girls". Can we not judge women on the basis of how religious or traditional they are?
You decide what can be done with my body, says the poet, but you forget that despite all of that, the ownership of this body is mine, not yours.
Women are expected to have excellent housekeeping skills, and to want to keep a spic-n-span home. But not all women are domestic goddesses, and would like to spend the time on other things...
Finding Radha: The Quest for Love, an anthology edited by Malashri Lal and Namita Gokhale, is a celebration of the Radha in every woman.
This poem is shared in solidarity with every woman who feels like there are days when she just can't bear to get up, when all she wants to do is go back into her dreams.
Of course it isn’t easy! Do you think it was easy for her friend to achieve all her dreams, even as she was dying? Or for Annabelle herself, to write about that as a story?
We need to look elsewhere for real romance as pop-culture in general and movies in particular reinforce irrational ideas, and myths about love and relationships.
Eve’s Revenge by Ethel Da Costa is proof that women have been angry for a long time, since time immemorial, and have been talking about rage, yet have been mostly unheard.
In the age of #MeToo, Soraya Chemaly’s Rage Becomes Her is a reminder that women’s anger is justified and necessary.
The term 'chick lit' used to describe women’s writing devalues women’s work, and books that fall under this category can be powerful expressions of feminism.
"We can only give them the inspiration and the ideas. Whether to act or not is up to the free will of the humans. So many times I have given people the urge to act, and they have overruled me.”
Eating Wasps by Anita Nair is like her mom's aviyal, says review Vijayalakshmi Harish. A perfect combination of tastes, "tangy, spicy, with just a hint of sweetness and each bite will leave you longing for more."
You're already loved, says Vijayalakshmi Harish to her future daughter, speaking of all that she wants for her, as a mother, and as a woman.
The make-up hid the bags under her eyes, but it couldn’t hide her lack of enthusiasm. She was tired of pretending that the work she was doing wasn’t affecting her.
Let us look at an alternative essay on the modern girl that needs to be included in the school curriculum instead of the regressive garbage that is there.
"People forget that older women are full persons who have their own hopes, wants and desires. You keep telling us that what we are doing is extraordinary, but to us this is routine. We don’t know how else to be.”
In that moment, I realize that I’ve never wanted an apology. I’ve left the past behind me, and I don’t hurt anymore. I’ve only wanted the sort of warmth that a family provides.
Fiction featuring women as detectives has evolved through the years. Here is a round-up of some of the best detective books with women in charge.
Movies like Devdas enforce patriarchal ideas about love and pit women against each other fueling misogyny. Time we changed the narrative.
She tried to stand up and fell down reeling. She curled up in the foetal position. Some part of her brain registered what was happening to her –she was having a panic attack.
I am sorry –for leaving you so soon, for keeping you away from your father, and for not telling you the truth about the women in our family.
Books most Indians read are by popular Indian writers, by white (usually male) authors, or curriculum books. Shouldn't there be some diversity in books that we read?
“I will admit I didn’t expect to hear this from you today, and I’m not sure I understand or know much about homosexuality, but I love you and will support you always. No matter what."
Goddess or whore: representing women in pop culture as a “treasured, pure goddess” or a “despised, vile whore” has dangerous implications for real, human women.
Where have Bollywood's female singers gone? Nowhere, they're right here! What is missing, are enough movies that make space for their voices.
“Why did you follow your husband to the forest? ... Why did you set this impossible standard for all women? Why make such submissiveness a badge of pride?”
Have you ever spoken to a friend about some product and then felt surprised when Facebook or Instagram showed you an ad for the exact same product?
I cannot be sure if I smelled him first, or heard his silent step. But I knew he was there, hiding in the bushes behind me. Watching. Judging. Deciding.
Like every year on International Women’s Day, Whatsapp and social media have been graced by forwarded greetings that range from the bizarre to the downright patronizing.
Deepa Narayan's extraordinary book Chup should be the springboard for Indian women to introspect and break the silence around gender inequality.
Bad women in books can be more than caricatures. Here is where to find anti-heroines that are sassy, smart and complex.
Once upon a lonely evening, I was feeling low. I was single, and I figured I needed someone, so I browsed through Tinder. I guess it was some weird glitch on the app that bought Maya and me together.
#WomensHistoryMonth. Historically, women are invisible, save a few. Including more women's voices in narrating it can change how we learn and know history.
Actor Brendan Fraser's account of going through trauma because he was sexually harassed shows it is important to include male voices in the #MeToo movement.
A video of "consent classes" in Kenya made the author reflect as to why such classes are of paramount importance for Indian children, as well.
AIB was criticized in a video for selectively using women in their sketches. The video was pertinent and AIB gracefully reacted to it accepting the problem.
February 13th is Galentine's Day, a day dedicated to gal pals. Some tips on how to make the most of this day with your girlfriends.
At a time when female politicians are criticized for their laughter and companies are launching gendered products, this short story comes as a fitting reply.
Move aside misogynistic saas-bahu serials, these four women oriented web series (and one TV show) are made for the empowered and liberated women of today.
The Staunch Book Prize aims to award thrillers where no violence against women is committed. A nuanced take on whether this is needed.
This Queen will not let her people die for the sake of 'honour'. This story of the queen who takes on the odds, will keep you spellbound.
The new web series by ALTBalaji, The Test Case, opens up a conversation about women in the special forces. It is certainly a tough job, but not quite mission impossible.
Anyone can start a war, but it takes exceptional courage and vision to judge when not to. In my opinion, the princess deserves the throne.
Radhika MB's book Visa Wives is a must read for all wives dreaming of a life in the US - telling it as it is, the pros and the cons, and all you need to know.
With the wedding a month away, I’d assumed he too would want to discuss a few things about our sex life, and I’d brought up the topic.
'Little Red Riding Hood was not a “good girl.” She was the best.' A wonderful retelling of the fairy tale for our May 2016 Muse of the Month.
When the black sea of depression threatens to overwhelm you, can you remember who you truly are?
Some stories need to be told, even if it takes many years to get to where you can tell them. Shortlisted entry for June's Muse of the Month.
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