TISSTalks thanks everybody (so many hits on the page!) for their participation and perspective.
Perspectives on gender in activism and academia seem to have come from feminists. On this campus, even as few identify as feminist, many do think seriously about gender issues and some interesting thoughts have come up, that perhaps we could explore.
What is Gender? How does Gender influence our identity, beliefs and behaviour? Raging hormones, someone said, so, Does Gender have an influence on our Desire?
GENDER AND SPACE
Exploring spaces on campus, the idea was to engender discussion. Most comments (and we do believe that there have been many insensitive ones), did prove that we live in an already gendered spaces, which produce certain gendered responses, of a particular nature.
The idea that TISS is a gender sensitive/ neutral campus was challenged through testimonials from women (we may suspect harassment of men) who have felt violated through ‘gaze’ , through experiences with the GAC, through comments passed and from being pulled up by gender insensitive faculty. Let’s recognize this phenomena and give it, its rightful acknowledgement. Men defining violence and women trying to relate their experiences and understanding according to those preset norms, there is a dearth of discussion about what women think is violating and violent.
OUR PRIVATE SELVES AND OUR PUBLIC REACTIONS
While the blog was meant to look at gender based experiences, the discussion veered (unfortunately) towards gendered roles, mostly in binary terms (men and women). There is a presupposition that the way men and women behave is natural. While these were in the context of privilege and power (or lack thereof), an important line was also about looking at how our private lives translate in the public spaces we occupy. There were many comments on protection, there were more that were patronising. Some responses stressed agency.
GENDER AMITY COMMITTEE
There was a comment on the functioning of the GAC, which we believe has tremendous potential. A cursory look will tell us that the guidelines of the GAC are not being fulfilled.
SEXUALITY, BODY AND EXPRESSION
The discussion was mainly on women’s bodies, and well, not too many women participated! This raises further questions of masculinity and what standards of gender do we hold high and live up to. And what this means at all for expression (this was mostly about what we (can and musn’t) wear). The posters elicited comments such as making links between staring and sexual harassment. What was interesting were the unresolved discussions on whether desire is natural, and what is acceptable.
There was also some interesting discussion on Sec 377. The reactions were mixed, and some rejected homosexuality as being unnatural. Still others affirmed and wanted to explore its meaning for a hetero-normative society. Mostly, the curiosity stemmed from the otherness of the issue.
TISSTalks is meant to be a supportive space, and we hope more people will participate in discussion. Suggestions for making this space more accessible and sensitive are welcome. We request that we keep the objective in mind, and not reduce the space to private conversations and mechanisms of defence and offense. Please write in to firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave a comment or testimonial. Every comment is taken seriously and reflected on collectively.