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ABOUTTURN: Is The Female Point Of View Essentially Feminist?*

Vasanthi Gupta

In the times we live in—where, often acknowledging, tolerating and celebrating differences is seen as a sign of weakness nothing opens better the debate on gender, as this quote from Marguerite Yourcenar’s ‘With Open Eyes’ written and published in 1980: ‘... Anyway, women who say “men” and men who say “women”, usually to complain within one group as within the other, instill in me a great sense of ennui, like do those who stumble through all that is formulaic. There are virtues that are specifically ‘feminine’ which feminists seem to scorn, this does not by the way mean that these were ever the prerogative of all women : gentleness, goodness, finesse, delicacy, virtues so important that if a man did not possess them at least in small proportions, he would be considered a brute, not a man. There are so called masculine virtues, this does not mean that all men have them: courage, endurance, physical energy, self-control, and the woman who does not have at least a small proportion of these is looked upon merely as a duster cloth, if not a rag. I wish these complementary virtues would be used equally for the good of all. But removing the differences that exist between the sexes, no matter how variable and how fluid these social and psychological differences may be, seem deplorable to me, like everything that pushes the human race, of our time, to a dreary uniformity. However, the last word on ‘Gender’ would never have been spoken! What better way to keep the focus on this subject, but perhaps, to look back, introspect time and again and debate further...? The Gurgaon Centre of the Alliance française de Delhi therefore celebrated GENDER(S) through 2015–16! A series of four art exhibitions, each furthering the scope of discussion on Gender and pushing the query to another level: If ‘Woven in Time Space and Material’ was an attempt at understanding and exploring surface and materials used by different genders for creative expression, it also presented an occasion to find answers to questions such as, • Could choice of material to express in a certain visual medium carry an indicator of any gender attributes? • Do men choose to express through material that is different from women? • Are there any defined boundaries? Is the choice of material restricting or liberating in expression, for the artist and for the viewer? • What is defining? The subject defines ...

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