The (im)possibility of decolonising gender in South Asia: a reading of Bollywood’s ‘new women’

Hussein, Nazia and Hussain, Saba (2019) The (im)possibility of decolonising gender in South Asia: a reading of Bollywood’s ‘new women’. Third World Thematics. ISSN 2379-9978

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This paper highlights tensions in the continuity of coloniality and the decoloniality of gender as represented within portrayals of new women in Bollywood, through an analysis of the heroines’ dance, sexuality, anger and consumption. This reading of Bollywood’s new women alludes to the (im)possibility of decolonising gender in South Asia, arguing that the emergent female subjects of these movies find themselves in cross-pulls between the need for self-realisation, neo-liberalism, and national identity. Our analysis reveals within these multiple cross-pulls there are moments that rupture the narratives of coloniality/modernity, by proposing a version of what Partha Chatterjee’s called ‘our modernity’. These narrative ruptures allow us to challenge historically received notions of identity and representations of Third World women, and of gender in South Asia. At the same time, the characters analysed within this paper continue to uncritically subscribe to colonial forms of modernity, through active participation as workers and consumers in the capitalist economy.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
9 September 2019Accepted
1 October 2019Published
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
CAH19 - language and area studies > CAH19-04 - languages and area studies > CAH19-04-06 - Asian studies
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Nazia Hussein
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2019 09:05
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2022 16:40

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