International Journal of Advanced Academic Studies
2022, Vol. 4, Issue 2, Part A
Tackling the construction of a conservative femininity in ‘An ideal girl’ by Soumya Menon
Author(s): Raisa Rafaela Serrano Muñoz
Abstract: The current research work is titled “Tackling the construction of a conservative femininity in ‘An Ideal Girl” by Soumya Menon”. The main purpose of this is to describe how the author Soumya Menon in ‘An Ideal Girl’ responds against the dominant nationalist discourse proposed by Hindutva, during the Indian post-independence, presenting counter-current femininities about what the concept of an ideal girl should be. There is still a conservative discourse subordinating women, proving a step backward regarding gender equality. Under the doctrine of Hindutva, during the post-independence period, the government started to install a series of educational charts called “An Ideal Boy” in schools. They are a series of posters illustrating the good behavior of an ideal boy, raising awareness of male citizenship. At the same time, the charts show female characters in the background serving the ideal boy and doing the house chores. The article focuses on one of the fourteen graphic narratives published in the Indian anthology of comics entitled Drawing the Line: Indian Women Fight Back! (2015) edited by Priya Kuriyan et al., entitled ‘An Ideal Girl’, by Soumya Menon, a feminist author fostering an alternative construction of gender, out of the Indian canon imposed by the ideology of Hindutva. Drawing on the ideal girl's preset notion, the illustrator depicts a deconstruction of the concept of femininity represented in the “An Ideal Boy” posters settled in state schools during de post-independence, and reaching the present day.