Filth, Dirt, (Im)Purity and Feminine Care (Roundtable) (19519. Filth, Dirt, (Im)Purity and Feminine Care (Roundtable))
Event: 19519. Filth, Dirt, (Im)Purity and Feminine Care (Roundtable)
Women and their bodies share a close connection with (im)purity, filth, and dirt as unavoidable elements in their routines of care and caring. It could be said that the words like filth, dirt are loaded with colonial meanings and can become extremely complicated when understood from the socio-cultural-political lens. Through the postcolonial appropriations, these meanings have subsequently contributed to the patriarchal assumptions and gendered ideas of women’s roles, especially, in handling filth and dirt, in their daily duties of selfless care, nursing, cooking, cleaning, and mothering. These ideas still remain strong in our contemporary public discourses especially when they get further entwined within the intersectional politics of age class, caste, race and religion. Tronto’s work (1993; 2010) for example, has consistently argued that care is disproportionately the work of the marginalized in society and as such, distributed along intersectional social axes encouraging a power hierarchy between who is more experienced in handling filth.
Furthermore, care, like gender, is also a performance, that has a deep and direct connection with the representations within popular/mass media, where women’s efficiency at filth and dirt management has always been glorified within hegemonic gender norms. Popular Indian films, since forever, have portrayed images of how women give up their desires and aspirations to selflessly perform their care as wives, mothers and grandmothers, adopting duties of the household and beyond, in their routine dealings with filth and dirt, without any grudge or cringe. These images have seen an unquestioned internalization by both male and female spectators, which has further led to the normalization of these expectations from women even today despite the abundant presence of feminist movements, ideologies (especially transnational feminism) that have challenged dominant ideas of care giving. However, some subversions may still be salient, that has been able to radicalize feminine association of grotesque, impurity, dirt and filth as an accepted part of caring.
This roundtable welcomes papers on media representations of consumptions, internalizations, and subversions or radicalizations of the accepted association of filth, dirt, and impurities within essentialized gender assumptions of women's care duties and that expand our knowledge on under-explored domains of intersectional exploitations of caring and performance of care.
Please visit the NeMLA website listed in the Web Address to submit your proposals.