It is against tagging feminism with stereotypes
TIRUCHI: If you are the kind of person who thinks feminism has an anti-male image, join the discussion with the members of ‘Koodu,’ a women readers’ forum and its president T. Salai Selvam, and you will learn to resist tagging feminism with such stereotypes.
When most of their ilk unwind themselves before tellies for poignant soaps after the day’s domestic chores, a group of homemakers at Madurai gathered to discuss social issues. The discussions on diverse topics, from gender to theatre, soon attracted women from different walks of life and ‘Koodu’ was born. The women read books on sundry topics, discuss about them and good writers among them review books on feminism.
Being coordinator of the forum, Salai Selvam has a lot to talk about gender sensitisation and empowerment. “The word empowerment has gained a feminist reflection. It has nothing against men. We understand that the responsibility of men has increased as much as that of the women,” Ms. Selvam says.
At ‘Koodu,’ the members believe in knowledge through reading. With a modest start, the association grew through word of mouth and now conducts international film festivals by inviting creations of celebrated women filmmakers from across the world.
“Film can do wonders in inculcating social responsibility among women. Documentaries were considered a dreary work, but the attitude is changing. In fact, people have begun to patronise short films and documentaries that have a bout of creativity in it.”
The members of the forum feel lobbying the government for women reservation is difficult and a long-drawn process. It focuses on grass-root level women and opens them a new vista through world of books. Ms. Selvam’s successful venture egged on her to begin a forum for children, ‘Pebbles Children’s Library.’ Like the women’s forum, the library too encourages children to get into animated discussions.
“Discussing the learnt issues help students analyse better. It gives them opportunity to speak out and form groups to share similar interests.”