By Amrita Paul, Content Writer, SheThePeople.TV
Centuries of oppression, of being treated as a doormat and denied of personal opinions, desires. Of being raped, molested, called names, assigned labels and judged solely on the basis of their appearance. And yet, women, across generations have fought with all their might to assert themselves and hone their skills. Today, India is witness to a mighty feminist wave sweeping the country. In villages, towns, cities, on the internet, in advertisements and movies. In spite of the ostensible violence which continues to be perpetuated towards women, more and more stories about them are being observed, told, shared and liked.
One magazine which is aptly playing its part in taking the feminist message forward is the two-year-old e-zine The Ladies Finger. Run by a young team of journalists and writers, the website has had 100 people writing for it since its inception.
Founder Nisha Susan, who is one of the commissioning editors at Yahoo Originals, which specialises in narrative reportage says, “We wouldn’t want to assume what people would like to read, so we simply write what we would like to read. And this helps us create a space which mirrors our own creative space.
Although we all have jobs, our favourite part of the day is when we work on the website.
“Although we all have jobs, our favourite part of the day is when we work on the website. Somehow all of it feels shockingly easy.”
The Ladies Finger happened almost as an afterthought to the December 16 gangrape incident which took place in New Delhi. Nisha along with her colleague at Yahoo, Gaurav Jain, writer Jugal Mody, joined by journalist Deepika Sarma and Poorva Rajaram, a history student at JNU started conceptualising on creating a forum which not just dwells on the terrible things happening to women every day but also celebrate their achievements across various fields.
“At that time, there was an enormous outrage but the mainstream media kept reporting about incidents of sexual violence, and not many positive stories were making the cut,” adds Nisha.
With every news of violence, more men and women are coming out with a new spurt of energy and pushing the cause and need for gender equality even further
The 36-year-old feels that it is good time to be a feminist now because more and more issues pertaining to women are increasingly coming to surface.
She says, “Day to day experiences of women facing sexism, gender biasedness in professional spheres are finding their way into conversations and are being discussed. With every news of violence, more men and women are coming out with a new spurt of energy and pushing the cause and need for gender equality even further. And just their involvement and concern gives me hope that we are headed in the right way.”
The Ladies Finger is organising the first-of-its-kind feminist documentary film festival, Wandering Women, in Mumbai this weekend where 10 documentary films by feminists from the 1990s to 2012 will be screened along with several viral videos which have a unique feminist gaze.
Nisha hopes that in the next five years, the website gets bigger and becomes more ambitious with its reporting. And also transition from being a volunteer-run organisation to a self-sufficient one
Feature Pic Credit: NoisyVice.Com