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India has to make room for ‘lady oriented’ works: ‘Lipstick…’ director

Interestingly, it won a gender equality award at the Mumbai Film Festival last year.

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lady oriented works

Mumbai, March 8 : Theres rallying for womens empowerment on the one hand — and a curb on freedom of expression on the other. The paradox is perplexing to writer-filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava, whose “honest” telling of a story of womens secret desires and hidden fantasies has been deemed too “lady oriented” and unfit for release by Indias censor board.

“It is quite a paradox. Considering the situation of women in India, with dowry, violence against women, female foeticide, sexual harassment on the streets, it is crucial for women’s voices and stories, their experiences and perspectives to be given space in popular culture,” said the maker of “Lipstick Under My Burkha”, the film that invited the censor board’s ire.

“A situation where the female point of view is throttled really means that we are saying it is best if women shut up. Women cannot forever be represented through prisms created by the dominant narrative of the male gaze,” Shrivastava told IANS in an email interview.

She questioned how long women would just be “vamps, goddesses and item-girls”.

“Why can’t there be space for all kinds of representations of women in popular culture? We have a right to create and engage with stories told from the alternative, female point of view. We have a right to represent ourselves through all forms of culture. No democracy that promises equal rights to men and women can throttle that right.

“And maybe the time has come for us to make our equal freedom real. The cultural space in India has to make room for lady-oriented works — be it films, paintings, books, songs. No one has the power to legitimately silence half the population of the country because our stories make a few people uncomfortable,” said the filmmaker, who has just won an Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival 2017 for her movie.

“Lipstick Under My Burkha” — as the title suggests — is about the veil under which women constantly live. Its narrative delves into the lives of four women, aged between 18 and 55, who assert their personal and sexual rights.

Interestingly, it won a gender equality award at the Mumbai Film Festival last year.

An angry Shrivastava said: “If women having agency over their own bodies and desires and (their) dreams make people uncomfortable, too bad! We are living, breathing, real people… Not just created to fit into the stereotypes created by the male-dominant paradigm of popular culture.”

The film’s trailer may look a tad risque to an audience not used to cinema that tells things as they are.

The Central Board of Film Certification refused a certificate to the movie, saying that it explores women’s “fantasy about life” and that “there are continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society”.

Shrivastava finds censorship stifling.

“In cinema and on television, we continue to self-censor, even before the film actually goes up for certification. If you have sat around writers and directors, you will know that common refrain, ‘Arre, the censors won’t pass it. Forget about that idea. This is India’.”

“So often, even before we can think of a story, we kill it.”

She finds it scary that censorship works to create a culture that keeps pushing the dominant male-gaze popular culture narrative.

“Because that means there is a systematic perpetuation of patriarchy through culture and a simultaneous systematic silencing of alternative voices. So an entire society is being forced to engage with only one kind of narrative. That is a serious assault on women’s right to express themselves. It is like saying we don’t have a right to tell our stories.”

And this, particularly for stories told from a female perspective.

“Those (stories) that involve women striving for agency over their own desires, bodies, dreams are then seen as not important… But I think it is this pulse — of women having agency over their lives, women owning their bodies for themselves — that the ‘moral guardians’ find problematic.

“Because the woman is seeking empowerment from the very core of her life. And that threatens the status quo of patriarchy. We need an end to censorship in cinema. This is 2017.”

Lifestyle

Use potato slices to treat puffy eyes

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Potato on eyes

New Delhi, Feb 21: Waking up with puffy eyes is rather common and it is easy to treat them. Drink sufficient water and use refrigerated slices of potatoes to get rid of the puffiness, suggest experts.

Bubbles Singh, Founder at Just B Au Naturel and Ragini Mehra, Founder at Beauty Source, have listed simple ways to treat your problem:

* The easiest way to get rid of puffy eyes is to drink water. When the body is well hydrated, there is less chance of water retention that can cause your under-eye area and other parts of your body to swell.

Water also helps flush toxins out of the body.

* Iced compresses like chilled green or black tea bags can help soothe puffy and irritated eyes. They contain anti-irritant properties that help reduce swelling around your eyes. You could even try splashing your face and eyes with ice cold water.

* Slices of refrigerated potato or cucumber work as a fantastic natural remedy to get rid of under eye puffiness.

The enzymes and the astringent properties in these vegetables help reduce inflammation and help tighten the skin. This remedy will also help get rid of wrinkles and dark circles around your eyes.

* A mask made of egg whites helps in tightening the area around the eyes, as egg whites are a nourishing natural skin care treatment, reducing puffiness of the eyes.

* Puffiness of the eyes can be caused by seasonal or inherited allergies. Allergies prompts us to rub our eyes more, leading to further puffiness. Visit a doctor and get yourself checked in case of any such.

* Use natural products that help reduce dryness, reduce puffiness and hydrate your skin like an eye serum or aloe vera based eye creams which can also cool down the eye area.

These products do not harm the eyes, repair and replenish the skin around the eyes, ensuring that you see a difference in the brightness and texture under your eyes when you get up in the morning.

IANS

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Choco lava cake hot favourite among lovebirds

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Choco lava cake

New Delhi, Feb 19: Lovebirds indulged in some sugary goodness, including choco lava cake, on Valentine’s Day, reveals a survey.

According to findings derived from Swiggy’s order analysis for Valentine’s Day on February 14 and eight Wednesdays before that, love-struck Indians stuck to their favourites, the most shareable pizza and fries, as their order increased sharply by 55 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.

Choco lava cake saw an increase of 73 per cent. There were four times more donuts orders and red velvet items were also ordered 3.5 times more, read a statement.

The 2018 Valentine’s Day food trends are on the basis of Swiggy’s order analysis of the cities of Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi/NCR, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Jaipur.

“Despite the usual excitement around making Valentine’s Day special, an increasing number of urbanites made the choice to spend it at home with their loved ones.

“Deterred by urban challenges like long working hours, traffic, planning and reservation and parking, many couples opted to have their Valentine’s dates over great food, in the privacy of their homes,” said Srivats TS, Vice President, Marketing at Swiggy.

IANS

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Here’s how materialism may harm your married life

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Couple fight

New York, Feb 16: Do you often end up having heated discussions with your spouse over money matters? Beware, your fondness for material possessions may affect your love life and push your marriage towards an unhappy ending, says a new study.

The study found that when materialism — the pursuit of money and possessions — gets prioritised over other dimensions of life, it harms conjugal bonding.

Materialism crowds out other life priorities and creates a scarcity of time for other priorities such as communication, conflict resolution and intimacy.

It thus decreases the importance and sense of satisfaction in a marriage.

“Marriage dissatisfaction occurs because those who highly value money and possessions are less likely to value their marriage and are thus likely to be less satisfied in their relationship,” said lead author Ashley LeBaron, Professor at the Brigham Young University (BYU) in Ohio.

Further, materialism may also be associated with a possession-oriented rather than a relationship-oriented approach to happiness.

In other words, materialistic spouses may be seeking happiness in possessions, rather than people, which means they end up putting less time and energy into making their marriage a success, the researchers noted, in a paper published in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.

Despite the findings, the researchers believe that changes can be made by couples to solve this issue.

“Many people are not fully aware of their materialism or the degree to which the pursuit of money is becoming an unbalanced priority in their life,” explained Jason Carroll, Professor at BYU.

“It is helpful for spouses to evaluate and openly discuss the time patterns in their lives and make sure they are devoting enough time to prioritize and strengthen their marriage relationship,” Carroll suggested.

For the study, the researchers asked 1,310 married individuals to fill a questionnaire in order to measure their materialism, perception of marriage importance and marital satisfaction.

IANS

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