Tag Archives: St Xavier’s Kolkata

The anxiety of the Bengali bhadralok and the modern woman: Why does the body matter?

Guest Post by PANCHALI RAY

A few months back, an impressive essay in one of the leading newspapers cited macro data to argue that the rapid decline of women’s labour force participation stemmed from their disproportionate household responsibilities. Widely shared on social media, intellectuals and activists lamented Indian men’s lack of participation in social reproduction and care work, which compelled women to drop out of the labour market. However, gender blind methodology or macro scale data collection often leads to ironing out of nuances. Thus, what the authors missed (or the data collectors), was patriarchy in the public sphere, which more often than not, pushed women back into their homes: lack of opportunities and occupational mobility, gender-based occupational segregation, gender wage gap, lack of infrastructure (access to creche, toilets), sexual harassment, and the incredible policing of women’s bodies and lives.

Nothing proves this  more than the recent case of a professor being forced to resign from a premium university in Kolkata over bikini-clad photos she posted on her private Instagram account. Continue reading The anxiety of the Bengali bhadralok and the modern woman: Why does the body matter?