At the third edition of Bangalore Women Writers Fest, women authors discuss how and why the feminist perspective is essential in writing across genres. Panelists Aruna Nambiar, Devi Yeshodharan, Sajita Nair and Rachna Singh sit down with moderator Nandita Bose for an afternoon session to discuss feminism’s impact on writing. From the writers they look upto, to why they think it is important to let feminism guide the narratives in their works, the writers share a lot of invaluable insights.

feminist writing

Being a woman in the army at that point of time was quite difficult. I guess it is getting easier these days because of more women joining, but never that though come to mind that if I were a man I could run faster, or do more push ups. – Sajita Nair

A feminist perspective plays a big role in shaping characters in fiction books. When women write women, they bring their stance of equality to their stories. Speaking about the women characters in her book, Sajita Nair says, “They are feminist to the core because they want everything equal. They are ready for everything.”

Speaking on the fourth wave feminist writing, Rachna Singh said, “We should delve inside and and find out what would keep us happy and peaceful in the years that we have to live? Without bothering about slots, categories, labels, about figuring whose book sells more than yours and why would anybody read Chetan Bhagat…Let us ride above that.”

feminist writing
Women authors discussing feminist writing in fiction and non fiction books.

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Feminism is like nostril hair for me: I don’t particularly like to flaunt it, but use it to filter out the muck. – Rachna Singh

Singh, who also runs a campaign called ‘Comedy in Cancer’ says, that comedy isn’t easy for women and especially a woman who doesn’t look young, as are most of the comics, thus it is a challenge. Feminism, she said, also motivated women to break away from social norms.”We are at that age when children are old enough to tell us and parents there to tells us what is wrong. So in my book Band Baaja Boys, there is a very short role of a woman making out with a politician. So I was doing a small cameo in my show and my mother said, ‘Don’t take that sanyasan’s role, okay!’ She was worried that of all the small cameos, I will go and do that role and bring shame to the family.

On being asked whether it was better being a woman in the army or would she have rather been a man, Sajita says, “When joining the army, we all knew our gender. Before the joining itself we knew that we are women joining the army. But never has the thought come to my mind that what if I was someone else. I know who I am, I know what I want and I just work towards that. She adds that being a woman in the army at that point of time was quite difficult. “I guess it is getting easier these days because of more women joining, but never does the thought com to mind that if I were a man I could run faster, or do more push-ups. It doesn’t matter really because in today’s modern army it is not about your physical prowess, it is about what you do as a commander, to keep your troops around,” adds Nair.

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