Essay on India's Winter of Discontent

Essay on India's Winter of Discontent

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India’s winter of discontent: Some feminist dilemmas in the wake of a rape (2013) is an article about the news-making Delhi rape case of December 2012. However, this article looks at the feminist response to rape and sexual assault and the dilemmas that it brings. Even though the authors talk about India, these narratives are very similar to the narratives of women of color universally.
One of the major foci of the authors is to examine how the rape victim Jyoti Pandey’s identity shaped her rape into an international focus-grabbing incident. Further, the authors look at various aspects related to the aftermath of this rape namely the unhealthy relationship between feminism and censorship, demands for corporal punishment, the state as actor, narrow definition of rape, reliance on the law, building transnational sovereignty and the polarized images of the victim and the rapist.
The authors discuss and struggle with the dilemmas mentioned above. Jyoti Pandey was a 23-year-old physiotherapy student who belonged to an upper class, upper-caste urban family. This drew the empathies of the people who have political and media voices: the elite. These urban, upper class, upper caste elites could identify with Jyoti and hence her rape caused an outrage led to widespread protests all over India. Outpour of emotions by the elite caused an exceptionalizing effect on the history of rape. She was made out to be the only woman who has gone through a brutal rape while in reality adivasi (tribal) and lower caste women suffer horrifying rapes almost everyday. Their screams were not heard by the urban elite and their stories did not make it to international news. This incident erased the painful history of rape in India and all the work many femini...


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...cles strength lies in highlighting other incidents that never made news along with point of views and dilemmas of various feminists. Few people question the justice system in the wake of an emotional incident like this but by looking at emotions critically is imperative to examine the role of the society in these incidents.
The biggest weakness of the article was that it sated very significant feminist dilemmas but did not try to come up with solutions for any. Additionally, the points that were tried to be made kept moving back and forth and sometimes seemed repetitive. I would suggest doing a more thorough literature review or a study on what feminists have said about the dilemmas and what, in their opinions, are some of the solutions to those. I would also suggest looking more into the rape cases of LGBT community and trying to see if there are any similarities.

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