It’s been a really bleak week. I’m sure I’m not the only one facing a slump, exhaustion, mixed feelings about the state of the world. I’ve been worried about women I don’t know, I’ve been worried about men’s views towards these women and I’ve wondered where the roots of these views can be traced to. I’ve wondered what determines a person’s circumstances and how it can be in such sharp contrast to someone else that they might share common ground with. Sometimes, I’m awed at how far we’ve come collectively, of how much we’ve achieved and changed. Sometimes, it feels like nothing is different and everything is exhausting. I can’t seem to turn away from updates. It’s also okay to switch off from the news/social media.
I’m focusing on small wins — making my bed, exercise, cooking a healthy meal — and not beating myself up when I drop the ball. This is helpful.
So I’m keeping things short and positive. Toxic positivity is real and this isn’t that. But my head hurts and I need a break. I’ll also be taking some time off from publishing this newsletter for the next few weeks. It’s summer, my birthday at the end of the month and I need to self-care. But I will be back in your inboxes soon. Thank you for reading. I appreciate your time, support and encouragement so so much.
Some corrections from last week: two details I got wrong in Srilatha’s story — her aunt contested and won a seat as a Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) and her friend was forced to get married right after school, not college.
In Women Wins this Week
You’ve got to love a lockdown success story and that’s exactly what this is. Especially with something as obscure but as uplifting as colour therapy.
It seemed like everyone in real life and the celebrity world was campaigning for Britney Spears’ conservatorship to end. According to reports, her father will step aside. But other reports say it won’t be as simple as that. Besides, the conversation is leaning towards setting up a new conservatorship arrangement, not ending it.
I debated whether to include this but then decided to mainly because so many of these women are first women and that’s huge.
This week, I had a story come out in Platform by Metro.co.uk. I wrote about not being sure how to respond when someone told me I had good English. Watch the episode, “Interview”, of Feels Like Ishq which was recently released on Netflix, starring Zayn Marie Khan, who’s done such a good job. It really drives home the message of how, for so many people in India in particular, how you speak English is deeply tied to confidence and a sense of self.
And quite by accident, I came across a bunch of pieces along similar lines.
Don’t tell a woman she looks “masculine”. Like this article says, also don’t ask her when she’s getting married. I’ll add, don’t ask if/when she’ll have children or how many.
Definitely don’t compare a black woman’s hair to fur 🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️🤦🏽♀️. And please please never ask to touch it. Also by Natalie Morris.
Another place women aren’t safe? Live music events. But there are some big names working to change this.
It’s not just in the healthcare industry. Women often have to fight to be heard and are forced to confront unfair practices within a legal system as well.
I’m always thrilled to see women of colour rise to senior leadership in media roles because it is so so rare. At Vox, it’s twice the joy.
And AP triples that happiness. Daisy Veerasingham is the first woman, first person of colour and first person from outside of the United States (she’s British of Sri Lankan origin) in 175 years to lead the agency.
I’m closing this week with this lovely project — an easy answer to document family recipes. I’ve been writing down details of my mom’s cooking, partly to get me through lockdown and partly because not being able to cook the food I love so much worries me. The word “nivaala” means morsel in Urdu and I’ve grown up hearing my grandfather use it all the time. The word reminds me of him. It was our little ritual for him to feed me a “nivaala” from his breakfast every morning. He always ate eggs and bread or roti, with either butter or chutney on the side and I remember those mouthfulls as some of the best food I’ve ever eaten. There’s history and love in all our kitchens, stories of grandmothers and aunts and plenty of men of a household feeding successive generations with what they make with their hands. And every little bit of it deserves to be recorded and remembered.
That’s all from me at the moment. Stay well, stay hydrated and get some sunshine. Also, get enough sleep and laugh with people you love.
I’ll see you soon.