Here’s your world this week according to Finger.
Feminists have been accused of barking and being barking mad also. To you all we say bow-wow, go follow Thoughts of Dog (@dog_feelings) on Twitter. Because you will need something when you hear what’s going on here in Bangalore. We have a a little bit of a BBMP problem. The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (first of its name) has decided that it has no other vurk and has made up some new rules for dog owners in the city which among other things, outlaws indie dogs and even common breeds like Golden Retrievers and Cocker Spaniels.
The dog loving women of Bangalore are having nothing of it. And as you can see the dogs are having none of it either.
Enormous activity is afoot to bite the BBMP laws where it will hurt, poop on its plans and *insert other witty canine metaphor here*.
In times of trouble, we don’t know about Mother Mary, Beatles bhaiyya but certainly, some kickass art seems to emerge. Have you seen the glorious #NotWithoutMyDog posters? If you want to join the campaign and put some pressure on the BBMP, don’t forget to tweet using the hashtag.
Now we may be done with dogs but we’d like to bitch a bit. Ever heard some dude say to you, you are so *insert generic adjective*, you are not like other girls. Obviously, you know enough not to be flattered by this truckload of crap. Because as this essay points out so succinctly, “there is no wrong way of being a girl,” and “not like other girls” is the phrase that misguided men use to compliment a girl when they really don’t want to go out of their way to find and compliment an actual quality of the girl they’re seeing.” For many months now illustrators Tara Anand and Ellie Lee have been running this simple and gorgeous project on Instagram to redefine what it means to be “like other girls.”
Did we say we were done with dogs? Sorry, last thing! Did you know that the babies of hamsters are also called pups? This is, in fact, the least interesting factoid we discovered while watching an amazing video of Italian artist, writer and actress Isabella Rossellini enacting the behaviour of female hamsters, and in particular, the maternal instinct that drives them to eat their weaker newborn pups to recoup after the rigours of childbirth. It’s hard to argue when she says, “If I were a hamster… I would not have been considered a monster, but a good administrator of my strengths, abilities and resources.”
The good folks over at Bitch Media are also thinking about the rigours the female body goes through, albeit in slightly less feral terms than our friend Isabella. Bitch Media have started a brand new series called In Sickness, that talks about living with chronic pain, pain being a feminist issue, and the need for feminists to center and support women living with painful illness. Better still, they promise that their “commitment to highlighting and hiring people with chronic illnesses won’t end after this series does”.
Speaking of sustained, undeniable commitment to doing good, hard work in the face of dire opposition, did you see this awful account from veteran senior journalist Barkha Dutt about the threats she’s been receiving? After posting on Twitter about the terrible threats of surveillance and smear campaigns she’s been receiving, she gave a really alarming exclusive interview to News Central, in which she detailed how she’s been relentlessly harassed by the BJP ever since she left her post at NDTV last year, received continued death threats against herself and her family, and been denied jobs at the last minute by organisations cowed by the BJP’s threats against working with her. Chillingly, she also said, “the Modi government will be responsible if anything happens to me and my family.”
Surprisingly, this piece of shocking news has been pretty sparsely covered by the national media: Only a handful of national media organisations have decided to report on this story at the time of writing. This is quite unlike the media’s enthusiastic coverage of the relentless trolling Swara Bhasker has been receiving for her now-infamous masturbation scene in Veere Di Wedding. Hilariously, Bhasker’s mother, a film historian with a PhD from the Tisch School of Arts, had no time for moral police-y questions about her daughter, and schooled the public on Indian cinemas long history with eroticism and sex in this delightful interview in Vice India.
Speaking of awesome women leading the revolution, or actually in this case being champions of evolution, don’t miss this fascinating essay in NPR on how grandmothers were the key to human survival. It talks about how studies of hunter-gatherer communities reveal that humans basically wouldn’t have survived on the “bacon” men brought home from their hunts, and, in fact, actually survived thanks to the varied, nutritious plants gathered by women, and that grandmothers, and other helpers like aunts and cousins, played evolutionarily essential roles as caregivers and childminders to busy young mothers.
Here is a man who isn’t essential to anything however, and will lead no revolution ever. On Thursday morning, Malayali writer KP Ramanunni seemed to have informed the media, local political parties and basically all and sundry that he planned to visit the Sri Krishna temple in Chirakkal, Kannur to perform a “penance” for the gruesome rape and murder of the 8-year-old Kathua rape victim, and also make a statement to extremist Hindutva forces trying to “corrupt” the religion. Of course, if this attention-seeking behaviour isn’t nauseating enough (what kind of penance demands an audience of media persons, and what could he hope to achieve from this?), he was then met at the entrance of the temple by, you guessed it, extremist Hindutva forces who attempted to block his way and stop him from pulling off his PR, sorry we mean penance.
This week, while watching the shoddily made but the wholly charming, entirely essential and controversially sticky-fingered Veere Di Wedding (bet you can’t name another film in the recent past/ever without one misogynistic moment) we were thinking of ‘pulling it off.’ When Shikha Talsania took off her top, we gasped, first in shock and then in pleasure. She is fat, she is hot and she is wearing a cup size familiar to us and she is not a caricature on the Kapil Sharma show. We don’t know about you but our needs are simple. We were trupt.
So how thrilled were we to see this superb essay on the self-defeating myth of “pulling it off.” As Amanda Mull writes, “When you live in a fat body, well-meaning people love to tell you that the only barrier between you and whatever you want to wear is your own self-confidence.” Then Mull bombs the whole stupid edifice.
Katie Okamato’s essay on food disorders and the quest for self-improvement can be read as a companion piece. She quotes Ruby Tandoh when saying “I want you to feel fine about the messiness of your illogical, impulsive appetite, and sometimes overeat, sometimes undereat, and still hold tight in your self-care.” Your relationship with food is a mess and those ginormous puffy sleeves don’t look good on you. (They don’t look good on anyone but that’s another conversation.) But so fucking what.
Now the only kind of diet we want to get to is Diet Sabya. Diet Sabya is India’s answer to Diet Prada: A hilarious, pointed and anonymous Twitter account that calls out celebrities, including Deepika Padukone and Kareena Kapoor Khan, as well as fashion designers in equal measure for copying designs without properly crediting the original. We have our suspicions about who could be behind this, given recent controversial events and payouts. Do you?
Recommended reads for your weekend
💥 The Western hemisphere’s longform world has been taken over by erudite and elegant and obsessive descriptions of skincare routines in the last year or two. Here is a new essay that tells us the surprising literary history of skincare.
💥 All the mean things you have thought about people’s ‘alternative’ wedding plans? They are all here in Measures We’re Taking to Offset the Patriarchal Footprint of our Wedding.
💥 What if you are fasting for Ramzan, working to conquer your ego and all you can think of is that men won’t let women into the mosque? Read All the women in me are tired.
💥 What does it feel like to do something illicit like being gay or drinking alcohol in a country that forbids it? Here’s a wild read about drinking beer in Afghanistan and the strange rituals at a ‘Hash’ party. Read How I Came to be Named the ‘Cuntographer of Kabul’.