Notes on unlearning: our feminisms, their childhoods

Dutta, Debolina and Sarkar, Oishik (2018) Notes on unlearning: our feminisms, their childhoods. In: Feminism and the politics of childhood: friends or foes? UCL Press, London, pp. 83-90. ISBN 9781787350656

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When we first watched the documentary film Born into Brothels (BiB) in 2008, little did we know that a couple of years later we would be urged by a group of children of sex workers, not unlike those in BiB, to make a film to counter its narrative. As feminist human rights lawyers, our first impulse on watching BiB was an amazement at the film's omission of any references to a vibrant sex workers collective right next door to where the film had been shot in the Sonagachi red-light district in Kolkata. The Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a sex worker-led organisation with more than 65,000 female, male and transgender sex worker members, has been active there since 1997. However, BiB chose to make no mention of them. For us, such active exclusion was of grave consequence because we believed it only added to and strengthened a dominant narrative that worked to create an image of the sex worker as helpless, incapable and in need of rescue. Such narratives also lend legiti macy to a global saviour impulse that is put into practice by a whole host of state and non-state actors, even when sex workers refute the asserted need for external interventions in their lives.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Sex worker | Feminism | Transgenders
Subjects: Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Gender Studies
Social Sciences and humanities > Social Sciences > Social Sciences (General)
JGU School/Centre: Jindal Global Law School
Depositing User: Gena Veineithem
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 04:49
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 04:55
Official URL:


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