Week 1: Multiracial Feminism. India’s Daughter

What is Multiracial Feminism?

The phase “multiracial feminism” is defined as feminism based on the examination of dominance through understanding social constructs of race, ethnicity, tradition, and culture. An example is that a African-American women would face different challenges to that of an Asian-American women.

As an Indo-American, I have seen at first hand the different challenges that women face in both American societies and Indian societies. In particular I have seen Indian women as second class citizens for a long period of time. Women were not allowed to work and forced to take care of the children and home. Their husbands would be the breadwinners of the household and respected by society. Women rights were also for a long time rarely talked about in the media.

However in 2012, an incident happened that shook India to its core. The 2012 Delhi gang rape case caused India’s government to finally take a look at the way women were treated. I won’t go into the horrific details of the case but what I will give a small description of what happened. A woman initially known to the public only as  “Nirbhaya” (The fearless one) was travelling with a male friend late at night on a local bus where she was brutally raped, attacked and left to die for several hours before receiving medical attention. She was transferred to a specialized hospital in Singapore where she eventually died due to the injuries. For many days men and women stood protesting in front of the parliament building in Delhi demanding justice for the victim. A government known for its corruption and incompetence was unable to respond with an effective answer which lead to riots an several cities across India.

The Nirbhaya case allowed women across India to speak out about their rights and also caused media outlets to report on any rape cases and women’s rights actions. However, on March 8th 2015, on Women’s day, BBC released a documentary named “India’s daughter” portraying the incident in a different light. The documentary allowed one of the accused rapists to speak his thoughts on the crime before his trial. This caused the Indian government to ban the documentary within the country and went further to ask Google and the BBC to remove the documentary from their websites and searches.

Why did they go so far in removing the documentary? Simply because the documentary went against the Indian penal code. Section 228A states that the disclosure of a rape victim’s identity is punishable by law which the documentary did within the first 10 minutes. The documentary also portrayed India in a negative light. A view that India was a country full of rapists and governed an inept group of individuals. Though the Indian media was allowed to talk about the rape case, an outside perspective, one that was not controlled, was being shunned by the government. Even with the ban, millions of people were able to watch the documentary.

Alright so how does this tie in with multiracial feminism? Like the Black-Feminist movement, this is seen as one of the Indian-feminist movements. An incident that would pave the way for Indian women to be seen by the media and the way they are treated.





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