“The personal is political.”
I originally heard this phrase more than a decade back at college. At that point, I still understood it theoretically and was fascinated to look for connections between my own personal experiences and the larger social and political reality. It’s only years later, as more dimensions got added to my identity – as a wife, a colleague and a mother that I am truly able to relate with what this means.
For me, what this translates into is that issues which we consider important; those that influence the attitudes of our children, and youth; those that influence how we relate to and behave with others around us can’t only be the responsibility of the state or the school alone. That we need to create spaces where we can freely and informally discuss matters that challenge the status quo; where we can acknowledge things around us that are problematic and take responsibility as individuals to change that.
Sometimes these realities may appear too insignificant –
- Children dancing to lewd songs at play areas, at school functions or simply at their own birthday parties
- Nail paint art, hair or beauty accessory sets packaged as toys for young girls
- Toy shop owners expressing their helplessness in offering blue for boys and pink for girls (and other regressive polarities) simply because parents demand it to be so
These may often not ‘appear’ to be issues that need our highest attention when there are more pressing matters asking for our consideration. Yet each of these realities influence how our children – both girls and boys are taught to live their lives in such water-tight gender identities, giving them little freedom to be fluid, or have the space to be who they are as individuals. These realities influence whether they learn values of respect and empathy for those similar or different from them. They influence whether they will stand up for others rights or attack them. Worse, will they be silent spectators who will avert their gaze when they see injustice or inequality, however minor it may appear to be? Will they only rant on Facebook or take any action to bring change?
While the example that I gave is about kids in context of gender expectations, our journey at ‘Candidly’ isn’t just about that.
Candidly is our attempt to create a space for different conversations. We aim to look at a variety of topics at the intersection of gender, media and culture. We hope to use different formats – workshops, talks, discussions to engage people in their varied roles as professionals, parents, teachers, kids but most importantly as individuals who choose to bring positive change.
We hope to do this and more, candidly