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

Articles By Masculinity

Indian Masculinity Exposed

Gender stereotypes and norms have always been at the centre stage of debate on the masculine construct wherein the society dictates functional ideals based on the sex of an individual and its consequence becomes apparent in the sex-linked stereotypes in any functioning space. Such a stereotype is seen in disproportionate contraceptive burden on Indian women owing to the lack of male involvement in family planning. The blatant agreement on the statement, “contraceptive is women’s business,” serves as an evidence of such masculinity in the reproductive sphere.

Pushpa: The Rise: Circulation of Marginal Hypermasculinity

Telugu cinema's presence in India has become ubiquitous with dubbing and remaking of Telugu films in all regional language film industries. It has been established that, in India, youth use film and its stars as aspirations of ideal practice and performance of masculinity and femininity. The recent Telugu film Pushpa: The Rise featuring one of the Tollywood superstars, Allu Arjun, has been the most popular film since the end of the last year. With the rising popularity of the film's male lead, this paper examines the particularities of Tollywood masculinity in the figure of Pushpa. The paper attempts to unravel the marginal masculinities of Pushpa to fight marginalisation. Moreover, the paper also tries to understand whether his struggles establish an alternative to hegemonic masculinity. The paper also charts the representation of femininity in relation to masculinity.

After Pulwama: War Widows and the Construction of Veer Nari in India

India has the highest number of war widows in the world, and yet there is little research on the lived experiences of war widows in India. Upon the death of an army officer, his wife is ensured a pension only if she remains unmarried within the family or marries the living eligible heir of her deceased husband’s family. The widow of an armed forces member who has laid down his life for the nation, whether in war or in a military operation is termed a “veer nari”.  This essay looks into the state’s oppression through its influence on the family, and an ultimate control over a war-widow’s agency and sexuality.

Subordinate and Marginalised Masculinities and the COVID-19 Pandemic

The abjection, stigma, and precarious existence of transmen, and gender-nonconforming and sexually marginalised men, reveal specific risk and powerlessness, especially in this pandemic, calling for timely intervention from the state and civil society. There is also evidence that during the pandemic, Dalit, Muslim, working-class and Adivasi identities would create specific vulnerabilities under certain circumstances. This article attempts to delineate the experiences of subordinate and marginalised men during the pandemic and lockdown based on interviews and media reports.

Lockdown Humour and Domestic Work: Perpetuating Gender Roles

The lockdown during COVID-19 resulted in the overburdening of work for Indian women. Memes were circulated on this and the unenthusiastic participation of men. By analysing humour, the article asserts that the memes reinforce the gendered divisions of domestic labour and the hierarchy within the family.

Researching Gandhi’s Ideas on Women

This paper uses this author’s earlier paper from 1988 on M K Gandhi’s ideas on women in order to reinterpret it in terms of contemporary feminist perspectives. It lays bare the theories and methodologies used in the earlier paper and suggests that such reflexive interventions are necessary when assessing the thoughts and practices of figures such as Gandhi, whose ideas have been given new meanings in and through contemporary commentaries. It argues that Gandhi’s perspective on women needs to be situated within his project of structuring a new modernity for the emerging and evolving Indian nation, and should be perceived through the lens of hegemonic masculinity.

‘Piloting’ Gender in the Indian Railways

Women loco-pilots in the Indian Railways, although few in number, face unique challenges as they negotiate with masculine forms of labour and technology in a male-dominated work environment. While, theoretically, they are treated at par with their male counterparts, new hierarchies are created on the job when they are expected to aspire to “masculine” standards of performance and discouraged from taking up the full range of tasks designated for loco-pilots. Thus, the entry of women in loco-piloting seems to reinforce its appearance as a masculine profession, and neither is the gendered nature of the system questioned, nor is it actively challenged.

Dancing between Charisma and Politics: An Analysis of Joker (2019)

Joker (2019) is set against an exterior world mirroring the New York City of the 1980s, with its crumbling economy and neo-liberal policies, woven together with the interior world of the rapidly deteriorating mind of its protagonist Arthur Fleck, who has a mental health condition. The article analyses the mild-mannered Fleck’s transition into the slick and charismatic Joker by tracing acts of violence inflicted on him and those that he commits violence upon. Interrogating violent scenes in the film reveals how Joker glorifies and legitimises specific forms of violence, situating the story in a backdrop devoid of historical and political rootedness.