Challenging the Narrative Rhetoric: Inscribing Her Story Into History


Historically the media has been used for propaganda, and censorship to supress creative expression. Recently the presence of censors in newsrooms and on editorial boards served to highlight its misuse of the media, so when Alankrita Shrivastava's film Lipstick Under My Burkha ran into trouble with the censor board, it raised the question of whether it was mere suppression of creative expression that censorship aimed at or was it control of meaning.Structuralist textual analysis involves a close reading of tangible signifiers and signifieds that present themselves extra-textually in the form of myths and counter-myths which in turn reflect the ideology of their culture. The understanding that power structures lie deeply embedded in signifieds likened the semiotic struggle for meaning to the struggle for personal freedom. The aim of this research paper is to examine the various interpretations of female sexual desire at play in the film Lipstick Under My Burkha and why this poses a threat to patriarchal Indian society. Film reinforces images of patriarchy and its philosophies via the structure of a binary hierarchy, women being considered the other. The multiplicity of images and experiences expressed in Lipstick Under My Burkha is, I believe an attempt to dismantle the binary hierarchy. By offering more than one woman's sexual experience, the film is a subtle refusal to be the other in the hierarchy. This research proposes to read Lipstick Under My Burkha as a site for struggle and negotiation between female resistance and patriarchal control.

Author Information
Michelle Philip, Wilson College, Mumbai, India

Paper Information
Conference: MediAsia2017
Stream: Film Criticism and Theory

This paper is part of the MediAsia2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon