ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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You Are Woman

Arguments with Normative Femininities in Recent Malayalam Cinema

Malayalam cinema's constructs of femininity offer interesting insights into economies of gender in contemporary Kerala. Female self-fashioning in films has overwhelmingly centred around valorising a normative femininity, defined here as a femininity that privileges motherhood and the moral upbringing of the Malayalee nation through a moral submission to patriarchy. Agential roles for female protagonists are rare; the convention is to "punish" within the narrative female refusal of normative femininity. Three films, Trivandrum Lodge (2012), Gaddama (2011) and 22 Female Kottayam (2012), are read as challenging this edging out of the "woman question" through their naturalisation of female protagonists' habitation of spheres other than the private/domestic. In the process they question the normalisation of discourses of reproductiveheteronormativity and nationalist purity through women.

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