Women writers want equal space with men

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 13:40 hrs

Agra, Feb 3 (IANS) Women writers at the first Taj Literature Festival Sunday complained of discrimination and gender bias in promotional efforts of their literary output.

Without erotica and exposing layers of relational feuds, it is becoming difficult to market serious, thought-provoking literary works, they said at the panel discussion on new writings by female writers.

Initiating the discussion, Dr. Shivani Chaturvedi, medical activist and columnist, posed the query: "Why does one Shobha De get so much mileage and market while hundreds of other serious, sober, perhaps more mature and distinctive stylists of the language fail to impress or be projected at the national level?"

"What is the masala that makes a literary work click? How come so many writers overflowing with a spontaneous burst of emotions, fail to make the grade?" she asked.

Former mayor of Agra, Anjula Singh Mahaur said it was "marketing and commercialism". Shashi Prabha Jain, author of more than a score literary works, blamed the changing perceptions and tastes.

"The spurious and the superficial occupy the front ranks and the works of a lasting nature, that could change lives, are shunted to the background," lamented Prof. Chitralekha Singh, author of a dozen books on fine arts and poetry.

Hindi writers and poets Dr. Lovely Sharma, Rekha Kakkad, Mithilesh Jain and Kusum Chaturvedi wanted a level playing field. They blamed the media for not projecting writers and their works.

Activist Somya Kishore blamed the electronic media and internet for stereotyping women. "The commodification of women, reduced to toys and dolls of wanton lust, had triggered undesirable processes," said poet Rashi Goel.

The three-day literature festival saw active participation of women writers from the Braj Mandal. Kumkum Gautam, who has authored several little books, wanted more intensive interaction with regional authors and activists.

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