Life 8 - Silk Ceiling, Part 2

Indian TV journalist Ritu Bhardawaj reckons that the dancing girls have a special insight into the plight of women. That's because they're really men, dressed up for the Navratri festivities in the Indian state of Bihar. Ritu is visiting Bihar to continue her report on the invisible barrier which confronts so many Asian women. And if Anand and Shrish are right, women are still too often regarded as sex objects. But supposedly backward Bihar also offers a role model in Kiran Devi, a young housewife elected as village head, or sarpanch. Among her duties is judging local disputes, and so far she's settled at least 200 cases. When men, who are seen as protectors and providers, walk out of marriages, women can be left in legal limbo. But is it wise to press for reforms when Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise?

'Silk Ceiling is another fine addition to the Life series...Eminently useable in the classroom as well as for the public. The episode conveys the critical message that the struggle for women's rights, like all cultural struggles, is a 'contestation of values'--a contestation that women must win and that, with history on their side, they will win. Perhaps if more men had to walk in women's shoes, quite literally like the hijras/aravanis in the film, the ceilings would be easily shattered. Suitable for college courses in cultural anthropology, anthropology of women/gender, anthropology of Islam, and South Asian studies, as well as general audiences.' Jack David Eller, Community College of Denver, Anthropology Review Database

'There is a continuous challenge of trying to strike a balance in the film[s]...[The films] can be used successfully in stimulating a discussion amongst the youth about the negative aspects of such a life as well as an exploration of alternatives.' Teboho Moja, Clinical Professor of Higher Education, New York University

Citation

Main credits

Pandey, Arjun (Director)
Bhardawaj, Ritu (Interviewee)
Bradshaw, Steve (Narrator)

Other credits

Music, Audio Network; camera, Aamir Abdullah ... [et al.]; editor, Simrandeep Kaur, Sotira Kyriacou, Jan Langford; translators, Annas Alamudi, Stephen Demeulenaere, Ina Sahsan.


Docuseek2 subjects

Distributor subjects

Anthropology
Asian Studies
Citizenship and Civics
Gender Studies
Human Rights
India
Labor and Work Issues
Millennium Development Goals
Pacific Studies
Social Justice
Sociology
Women's Studies

Keywords

Indian TV journalist, Ritu Bhardawaj, Bihar, invisible barrier, men dressed as women, Navratri festivities, sex object, Kiran Devi, sarpanch, Islamic fundamentalism; "Silk Ceiling, Part 2"; Bullfrog Films; "Life 8"

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