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Cultural Activism and Sexuality in Feminist Performance

Cultural Activism and Sexuality in Feminist Performance

(p.145) Chapter Five Cultural Activism and Sexuality in Feminist Performance
Desi Divas
Christine L. Garlough
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter offers an ethnographic account of an emerging feminist performance movement called Yoni Ki Baat (Our Vaginas Speak). Across the Unites States, a growing number of South Asian American women have found more progressive and politically resistive ways to engage with South Asian cultural traditions. By playing critically with folk dress, narratives, songs, poetic forms, dance, and material culture, these women engage in debates about sexuality and gender in their communities. Put simply, Yoni Ki Baat can be characterized as a South Asian American version of The Vagina Monologues, wherein the performances serve as an opportunity for young women to embed personal testimonies within traditional cultural forms as a way to address controversial issues connected to ethnic essentialism, sex positivity, and sexual violence, to name a few.

Keywords:   ethnographic account, feminist performance movement, Yoni Ki Baat, Our Vaginas Speak, cultural traditions, sexuality, The Vagina Monologues, ethnic essentialism, sex positivity, sexual violence

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