Sarees on Screen

Usha and Rekha

Podcast on South Asian Politics, Patriarchy and Pop Culture. Hosted by two queer brown feminists. New episodes every other Friday. Visit SareesOnScreen.com for show notes and additional content. read less
Society & CultureSociety & Culture

Episodes

Saucy Deep Dives: Verna
Mar 5 2022
Saucy Deep Dives: Verna
Trigger Warning: Discussions of sexual assault, r*pe, victim shaming, honor killing, and other forms of sexual violence and abuse.  For anyone who may find these topics unsettling, we recommend prioritizing your mental health and not engaging with the following content.In this Saucy Deep Dive, we tackle Shoaib Mansoor's Verna, a controversial release from Pakistan dealing with themes of r*pe and sexual violence. Verna tells the story of a woman navigating societal and institutional hurdles as she attempts to seek justice as a victim of sexual violence. When both her family and the justice system fails her - she has to take matters into her own hand.When a recent study from Pakistan showed that movies depicting r*pe will almost always kill off the victims of sexual violence, it is no surprise that Verna drew so much uproar. This is a story of a survivor.Survivors in South Asia often have no institutional or social support available to them. Neither do their cinematic counterparts. Verna does an amazing job of exploring these challenges with an empathetic lens. It also highlights the anger that society feels towards survivors who have the audacity to seek justice. It is truly a grueling watch.In this episode, we discuss the limitations of movies depicting r*pe revenge fantasies, the recurring issue of ableism in South Asian films, and the lack of intersectionality in discussions about sexual violence.While it is absolutely an accomplishment that this movie even exists, it is also important to ask how well it presents the issues it hopes to shed a light on. To know more about our thoughts and see how Verna fared on the Sauce Meter (our in-house feminist film rating system), check out the extended show notes on our website.  More available on SareesOnScreen.com - - -[Music Prod. By LuKremBo] AdvisoryAdvisory
South Asian Perspectives on Purity/R*pe Culture
Feb 19 2022
South Asian Perspectives on Purity/R*pe Culture
Trigger Warning: Discussions of sexual assault, r*pe, victim shaming, honor killing, and other forms of sexual violence and abuse.  For anyone who may find these topics unsettling, we recommend prioritizing your mental health and not engaging with the following content. This episode continues our conversation on South Asian r*pe culture, picking up from where we left off. Nonconsent in the media is often an unpleasant and inescapable staple, but this doesn't occur in a vacuum. It is often a reflection of a reality far worse.In this conversation, we explored the idea of purity culture and how it often goes hand in hand with r*pe culture in perpetuating this culture of control and violence. We also talked about the disparity in the consequences of purity/r*pe culture, the idea of model victims, and the failures of both "conservative" and "liberal" talking points on this matter. For this episode, it was important for us to explore documentaries instead of fictional media (not that documentaries can't come without their own biases!) In choosing to do so, we came across some great (and free!) documentaries on the topic that helped to frame our discussion.   We watched A Crime Unpunished in Bangladesh, Rape is Consensual: Inside Haryana’s R*pe Culture, Outlawed in Pakistan, and Boys who like Girls. If you can, we recommend you watch all of the documentaries linked here (some of them are pretty short too.)These movies spanning across South Asia, highlight the horrible repercussions of prioritizing purity and honor over the lives and wellbeing of women and marginalized people. Our next episode is a Saucy Deep Dive on Verna.More available on SareesOnScreen.com - - -[Music Prod. By LuKremBo]AdvisoryAdvisory
The Glorification of Non-Consent in Cinema
Oct 31 2021
The Glorification of Non-Consent in Cinema
Trigger warning: In this episode, we will be discussing issues such as stalking, voyeurism, r*pe, sexual harassment, assault, self-harm, and Islamophobia. For anyone who may find these topics unsettling, we recommend prioritizing your mental health and not engaging with the following content. Our latest topic-based episode is tackling collective ideas of consent in South Asia, as well as the glorification of non-consent in our media. We knew that a feminist analysis of South Asian cinema would not be complete without an episode dedicated to the media’s role in perpetuating the r*pe culture in South Asia. We are all familiar with these narratives that often disregard women’s autonomy and their agency as fully-fleshed human beings. Consent and the overarching media landscape around it were vital to this analysis. So this will be the first of a two-part conversation on r*pe and purity culture. Beyond discussing the movies in our lineup, Sitara, LOEV, and Raanjhanaa, we decided to take on a more general discussion on film culture in South Asia. We particularly address the ubiquitous "item numbers," which have been a staple in problematic media portrayals of women and the disheartening normalization of voyeuristic shots in our films.These movies served as a frame of reference to discuss the collective narratives about romance, sexuality, agency, and (non)consent that our media normalizes. This glorification of violations of consent make such behavior easier to get away with in reality. We hope that collectively critiquing these portrayals in our media and around us can help to start discussions around consent and r*pe culture, as well as lead to more well-rounded and humanized portrayals of women and marginalized characters in our cinema.To know more about our discussion, read the extended show notes on our website with additional resources and content!More available on SareesOnScreen.com - - -[Music Prod. By LuKremBo]Advisory
Sex and Sexuality in South Asian Media
Jun 26 2021
Sex and Sexuality in South Asian Media
Open conversations around sex and sexuality continue to be taboo in our society, but it’s been great to see a segment of people start to chip away at that reluctance to talk about such a fundamental part of all our lives.While we absolutely value the importance of sharing lived experiences, in this episode, we specifically looked at the media we consume - how it portrays sex and sexualities of women and marginalized people, and how it shapes the greater societal conversations around these issues.Something we hoped to highlight in our analysis was that sex and sexuality is experienced very differently by everyone. The specific socio-economic and cultural locations that shape our identities empower and disempower us in different ways, thus also changing how we engage with sex and our sexualities. Even in a lot of the more “progressive” feminist portrayals of sex and sexuality in South Asia, there is often a general disconnect about the material realities of women and marginalized people. Despite being less objectifying and dehumanizing, a lot of feminist portrayals still fall short in their ability to present realistic portrayals of marginalized people due to their upholding of the upper caste, upper class, and capitalistic gaze.In this episode, we look into Lust Stories, Parched, and Rajkahini. Each of these movies claim to have progressive and positive portrayals of women, sexuality, and sex work. While beautiful cinematically and made by some of the most notable directors in India today, have these movies pushed the boundaries of healthier portrayals of sex and sexuality in our media?Listen to find out.Our next episode is a Saucy Deep Dive on Third Person Singular Number.- - -For more on the episodes, check out the extended Show Notes for additional reading material, explanations, and videos.  More available on SareesOnScreen.com- - -[Music Prod. By LuKremBo]Advisory