South Asia

Organized Panel Session

4 - Vengeance and Vulnerability: Gendered Embodiment and Men’s Rights Activists

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Silveroak I, Ground Floor

One of the primary strategies through which the Men’s Rights Movement in India seeks to challenge the reform of laws of marriage and gender-based violence established through feminist mobilization, and to claim recognition within global discourses of human rights and gender equity, is the frequent use of images of feminist power and masculine vulnerability. This paper traces how affect works within such visual genealogies, linking these contemporary images to histories of representations of feminism as modernity and menace, and normative masculinity as bewilderment, abandonment, and alienation. I draw upon my ethnographic fieldwork with Men’s Rights Activists across Indian cities, as well as the fields of visual culture, gender-based violence, and Legal Anthropology, to identify some of the contradictions about gendered and intersectional power within such representations of embodiment between these images, and between images, discourse and policy. I argue that Men’s Rights Activists’ practices of projecting vengeance and claiming vulnerability in legal and political realms are premised upon inversions of discourses of power, elisions of gender, caste and class, and conflations of feminism and the State.

Srimati Basu

University of Kentucky, United States

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Send Email for Vengeance and Vulnerability: Gendered Embodiment and Men’s Rights Activists