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Last Modified: Thu, Mar 08 2018. 05 25 PM IST

Lounge Loves: 10 stories for Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day, we bring you a selection of our stories from the past year

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We handpick 10 stories which reflect the immutable strength of women, who in their way, are breaking gender stereotypes. From bodybuilders who fiercely flout tradition in the face of social stigma; to the Indian women’s cricket team captain who took her team to the finals of the World Cup and narrowly missed the title. From the women belonging to Varanasi’s dom community to a Bollywood superstar, the women in these stories belong to different walks of life. While it is necessary to mark their ups, it is equally necessary to highlight the struggles they face in 21st century India.

K.R. Meera: A writer on her craft

What we wrote:

“To be a woman is a condition,” Meera had said at the CLF, of how a woman is positioned in a deeply patriarchal society. And her writing, she declares, is her revenge. It is also, she adds, a revival, and a rediscovery of her self.

Read the full story here

Women cinematographers change the story in Indian cinema

What we wrote:

“There are only a handful of prominent women cinematographers working in mainstream cinema today: Priya Seth (Airlift); Neha Parti Matiyani (Waiting, Badrinath Ki Dulhania); Savita Singh (Hawaizaada); Keiko Nakahara (Mary Kom, Noor). But there are also more female DoPs out there than you think—a fact which the newly formed Indian Women Cinematographers’ Collective (IWCC) is trying to highlight.

Read the full story here

Superstar moves: Priyanka Chopra’s moment

What we wrote:

Chopra’s timing couldn’t be better. American entertainment is seeking out diverse actors and appears to be battling whitewashing controversies with every other film. A list of Oscar nominees featuring exclusively white actors didn’t make headlines earlier—it has happened on many occasions before—but the shift in cultural perception made an all-Caucasian photograph of the nominees unacceptable in 2016, when the #OscarsSoWhite movement broke through and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was forced to take remedial action.

Read the full story here

Pumping iron: Bodybuilding for everyone

What we wrote:

She walks over to a bar loaded with two enormous plates. She breathes evenly and her eyes are soft. She grips the bar, arms spread out wide, and drops her hip. Now her back is straight like a plank, her feet planted firmly, her elbows locked out. The veins in her arms and neck begin popping out in sinuous trails as she straightens with the weight hanging from her hands. Now her eyes are wide and glazed, she is breathing hard. Her shoulders swell with thick muscles. Her back separates into anatomical slabs. She drops the weight with a thud.

Read the full story here

Raspreet Sidhu: A basketball player’s journey

What we wrote:

For as long as she can remember, Raspreet Sidhu has had eyes only for the India jersey. After more than 13 years with the Indian national women’s basketball team, it would be fair to say the blue jersey well and truly belongs to her.

Read the full interview here

The Dom women of Varanasi

What we wrote:

“Our kind does not respect women who work,” says Chandramukhi. “She is immediately labelled as a prostitute or a ‘loose’ woman. To us, the very idea of a woman who earns is inconceivable. You know, the moment a woman steps out of her house alone, people begin to talk and rumours surface: ‘Why must she go out? Why is she working? Does she have no self-respect? The only reason a woman works with unknown men is because she sells herself.’ These are a few things people think,” she says, counting the reasons off her finger. “If we even forget to wear a dupatta before we go out, people think we have a poor moral character.”

She momentarily pauses and notices that I am not wearing one. Then, almost under her breath, she says, “If we didn’t know you, we’d say the same thing about you.”

Read the full story here

Mithali Raj: The greatest batswoman in the world

What we wrote:

On 26 July, when the Indian women’s cricket team returned to India after playing the ICC Women’s World Cup in England, they were mobbed outside Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. This was a first. A large press contingent waited alongside fans to welcome the team, which had just endured a heartbreaking end to a fantastic tournament.

Read the full story here

The girl and the bull

What we wrote:

The girl whose statue appeared—staring down the iconic bronze Charging Bull on Wall Street—in time for International Women’s Day, has her hands on her hips, and a swaying ponytail. While these have already been much adored, I must also applaud her comfortable lace-up shoes.

Read the full story here

Pole fitness: An empowering workout

What we wrote:

Students of pole fitness nearly always bring up their bruises. Evidence of pole chafing—crimson and blue orbs found on calves, underarms and palms—is generally displayed with pride, and a permissible degree of smugness. It is a badge of honour, a testimony of their endurance.

Read the full story here

Learning to fly in rural Rajasthan

What we wrote:

“Flying was a lifelong dream,” says Meghali Tyagi. “But when I learnt the amount my parents would have to pay, I didn’t want to pursue it.” A second-year student at Banasthali Vidyapith, she lives in an on-campus hostel. Tyagi wakes up well before dawn to wash and iron her clothes. She wolfs down her breakfast and then makes the 15-minute walk to the aviation school, reporting every day at 8.30am sharp.

“My mother pushed me to become a pilot,” she continues. “She said: ‘You don’t worry about the money, you just fly. You are not flying—it is me who is flying through you.’ ”

Read the full story here

Topics: International Women’s dayWomen’s DayWomen empowermentgenderWomen rights

First Published: Thu, Mar 08 2018. 04 58 PM IST

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