Showing off Skin: Interrogating gendered whiteness in Bollywood in De-stereotyping Indian Body and Desire: Reconsidering the Representation. Southfield College. Darjeeling. India. March 2012.
In this paper I address the growing presence of white women in Bollywood as junior artists as well as moving into lead roles in contrast to the continued presence of Indian men in both these spaces. This has been made possible by India’s growth as an emerging market, it’s colonial past which rendered fair as beautiful, extremely sexist underpinnings of the film industry as well as the lack of a strong union for women. The white women surrounding the brown hero is a construction of colonized male fantasy (Fanon) as well as a means of representing a certain economic power which the brown man did not have access to earlier. I explore what these representations mean as well as the economic conditions that make this white presence possible. Without falling into the trap of hating the immigrant can we start to address this almost ubiquitous white presence in media through the notion of precarity? (Butler) Whose lives do these representations and fantasies make precarious and under what conditions? What does the performance of this whiteness do to my understanding of my own body as it redefines it is as one with a lack and constitutes a desire that is based on a racist construction of gender as well as a sexist construction of race? And what might some of the possibilities be to resist such representations?