The Politics of Representating Dalit Women: A Study of the Newspaper Khabar Lahariya and the Documentary Writing with Fire
Redefining power is the only means to redress the gender bias that women have had to endure in a male-dominated society. As Héléne Cixous declared in “The Laugh of the Medusa” (1975), “écriture feminine” (or women’s writing) is the only way to emphasize women’s perspectives and end stereotyping of women and their opinions in literature. Such ideas helped to transform the representation of women in literature. This transformation is required not only in the literary world, but there is also an urgent need for the realistic representation of women in every section of society. Media being a powerful tool has adapted to this paradigm shift, resulting in the increased visibility of women. Dalit women also need the same reassurance and reception in the media so that their lives are also represented without any bias. Visual media often are biased, because the elite are most often the content creators or the subjects of the content. The representation of women in visual media is increasing in the twenty-first century but Dalit women’s realities are still ignored in the mainstream media. The public domains of arts, politics, and media are still not offering a space for Dalit women. The construction of space itself is a political act especially for the Dalit community. Meera is the chief editor of Khabar Lahariya, India's only newspaper run by Dalit women. The documentary Writing with Fire, directed by Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh, showcases the redefinition of representation and the power of Dalit women. This study focuses on how a group of Dalit women can enter and break the traditions of the news media in India. With their smartphones, this group confronts real issues that need to be heard through digital journalism. The efforts of journalists like Meera are the means to break the norm of ostracizing Dalit women, and this study tries to identify the possibility of redefining power politics through an inclusion of the Dalit community.
Hari K, Harishma and P. A, Khamarunnisa
"The Politics of Representating Dalit Women: A Study of the Newspaper Khabar Lahariya and the Documentary Writing with Fire,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 24:
7, Article 5.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol24/iss7/5