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Visiting Fellows
CSCS provides affiliation to Indian and international researchers for varying periods of time. In addition CSCS also invites academics to interact with faculty and students and to present their work at the Centre.

Fellowships at CSCS
The CSCS Fellowships Programme began in 2002 to make its substantial library and faculty resources available to a range of researchers outside the institution.

Conferences and Workshops
List of conferences and workshops held at and conducted by CSCS in recent years.




Current State: Published
8. Femininity – Masculinity




Notions of Gender and Feminism

It is now accepted practice to make a distinction between sex and gender.

The first is a biological category, the second a social construct. This means, in effect, that a biologically male person can be feminine and a biologically female person can be masculine.

Masculinity and femininity then, can be described in terms of the qualities ascribed to them. Femininity is usually equated with passive qualities—something you can check for yourself by compiling a list of binary qualities and analysing the traditional associations with gender.

We go back here to what we read about binaries in the module on the nation. You will remember that binaries are hierarchical and function on an unequal plane, so that one is considered ‘better’ than the other. Feminist critics have pointed out that ‘feminine’ qualities are always the weaker half of the binary.

Masculinity and femininity make up one binary—which one is considered stronger? Keep in mind that the relations of power between the genders are fundamentally unequal—this is what is meant by patriarchy.

Feminism believes it is of vital importance to make a distinction between sex and gender, because when these two categories are blurred into each other the qualities of femininity are naturalized. This means that it becomes possible to say women are meek, timid, gentle and submissive with the same authority that one can say women have ovaries.

In fact, it becomes possible almost to say that women have these qualities because they have ovaries or just like they have ovaries—to ascribe these qualities to biology and make them seem natural and inherent rather than constructed. If women’s ‘weakness’ or ‘inferiority’ is a biological fact, it can no longer be questioned and the status quo can be maintained. This notion of the construction of gender in unequal ways is at the heart of feminism.
Feminism is too large a term to cover here, because there are very many feminisms. Indeed, it is inaccurate to think of feminism as one unified entity—the reality is that there are different kinds of feminism and not all of them agree on everything.

All feminisms however, are political discourses that are concerned with gender inequalities and their consequences to women in different spheres. Feminists over the years have analysed different issues and brought to light the workings of patriarchy in different areas. These analyses have included critiques of language, where they have shown how language is inherently biased in favour of the masculine, and the feminine is made invisible or inconsequential—think of the implications of words like mankind and history and their usage, and the even more damaging use of the generic pronoun ‘he’ to refer to any neutral human activity. Other areas of critique range from literature to politics to health




The History of Studying Masculinity
The history in the West

Part II- The history in India

Body and the discourse of gender

Masculinity and history of colonialism in India

Exercise
Take a look at this clip from the film The Legend of Bhagat Singh and discuss it in relation to the nationalist response to colonialism.

The production of masculinities
In the various narratives of masculinities that can be identified in the public, it is evident that there is a considerable amount of work that goes into the production of these notions. Thus, a structure of differences and separations need to be put in place to understand how notions of hegemonic and non-hegemonic masculinities are structured. Let us divide this section into two parts 1) Technologies, 2) Caste and class

Exercise
Discuss the following pictures in the context of the above discussion.

Class and caste
Let us discuss this with examples. Take a look at the following pictures. Pic 1, Pic 2.

Exercise - I
View the film Pinjar (or 1947- Earth) and discuss how religion and gender are narrativised.

Exercise - II
See this clip from Hindustani and discuss the coming together of caste and masculinities.

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