Popular Culture Narratives: Mood Of The Month, November 2021

Popular culture is all around us in the form of films, memes, music, internet trends, fads, web-based shows and the like. Almost everything we interact with invariably has a popular culture template. We are all influenced by what is trending and our thoughts, ideas, feelings as well as understanding of most things are very heavily filtered by what we consume through popular culture.

Since popular culture is such a huge part of our lives, it becomes extremely important to scrutinise it. As we try to build a society that is inclusive, fair, anti-discriminatory and peaceful, we must look into whether the content that we interact with also reflects the changing values of a progressive society.

Most often, we can find that popular culture holds on to sexist, casteist and classist narratives in the name of entertainment. The representation of social, cultural, religious and sexual minorities is also very problematic since the gaze is predominantly of the dominant caste male.

When we come to the internet, most trends and meme formats also propagate humour at the expense of the marginalised. Sometimes the endorsement of equality also leads to performative sympathy and saviourship.

These undercurrents are rooted in the discriminatory conscience of our society, and when projected and validated through mass media, they tend to be normalised. It is therefore very important to hold popular culture content to a higher standard, so that we do not pass of toxicity, suppression and sidelining as entertainment.

Also read: ‘Why Are You Nagging Me?’: The Stereotyping Of Angry Women In Popular Culture

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In this context, we at Feminism In India invite submissions on Popular Culture Narratives throughout November, 2021.

Here are some broad pointers that may help you write your articles within this theme:

  • The need to view popular culture through a feminist lens – why must we hold content to a higher political standard?
  • Popular culture and representation – representation of women in pop culture, caste and popular culture, representation on and off screen, marginalised experiences on screen, Brahmanical gaze in cinema, cinema and the male gaze, saviour complex, item numbers and female bodies
  • The internet – Internet trends, influencer culture, trolling, memes and gender, cyber toxicity, internet security, privacy
  • OTT platforms and content – The democratisation of content through OTT platforms, artistic expression and censorship, the evolving conscience of cinema, autonomy of content, diversity in casting and the importance of breaking body stereotypes
  • Celebrities and the internet – The commodification of the private lives of celebrities, women and the paparazzi, voyeurism and the internet, the prosecution of women who have strong opinions, stigmatising nudity, celebrity gossip and chastising of women
  • Pornography – ethical porn, the gender politics of pornography, the double standards around porn stars, representation of female pleasure in pornography, unrealistic body standards and sex education
  • #metoo in popular culture – separating the art from the artist, the consequences of calling out powerful men, female solidarities and survivorship, the safety of women who work in popular culture, sexual harassment and the film fraternity, popular culture in the post #metoo world
  • Censorship – freedom of expression, political interference in art, social sanctions on content, censorship versus fair criticism, the place of the artist in the society
  • Fandoms – toxic fan culture, the sidelining of female fans, star power and fan armies, organised fan vandalism and women on the internet

This list is not exhaustive. Please feel free to write on other topics within the theme that we may have missed listing here. You may send us your submissions to sukanya@feminisminindia.com

We look forward to your pieces and hope you enjoy writing them!

Also read: Porn Will Not Help You Understand Women In Same Sex Relationships


Featured Image: Ritika Banerjee for Feminism In India

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