15 June, 2021

#WeToo: In the Footprints of Bhanwari Devi

It's a transformative moment, yet itself marked by gaps and gnawing absences. Can we integrate #MeToo and older feminist politics? Can we close the caste/class gap?

#WeToo: In the Footprints of Bhanwari Devi

Fashions are changing in the sphere.
Oceans are asking wave by wave
What new shapes will be worn next year;
And the mountains, stooped and grave,
Are wondering silently range by range
What if they prove too old for change

The little tailors busily sitting
Flashing their shears in rival haste
Won’t spare time for a prior fitting—
In with the stitches, too late to baste.
They say the season for doubt has passed:
The changes coming are due to last.

—Adrienne Rich, A Change of World, 1951

The cascading #MeToo movement calls for a sustained reflection on many tracks. Its origins in the US and rapid spread to other locales lead us to ask whether this is part of a larger global feminist justice movement in the making. If that is the case, its singular focus on sexual harassment over other forms of gendered violence calls for closer attention. Its reliance on digital media presents a shift in strategies from physical bodies to virtual spaces of...

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