Namita Malhotra speaking about feminism, sexuality and politics.
Namita Malhotra discovered Kate Millett quite by accident. The American author was the first to define the term sexual politics, which is a recurring theme in her works. First introduced to Millett’s work while in her 5th year at Law School, Malhotra described her book, Sexual Politics as “academic jargon and difficult to procure.” After reading Flying, however, Malhotra said she felt “strangely liberated” and was enamoured by the tone of her writing.
During the 45-minute session, Malhotra, who is a researcher at the Alternative Law Forum in Bangalore, discussed various themes in the book, feminism and sexual politics, naturally, being the key ones. A visibly hooked Malhotra called Millett’s work “a ferocious energy.” She said, “The speed and density in the sentences make it a very compelling read. She writes exactly as she thinks – in short quick sentences.” Her many personal annotations for characters in Flying, induced chuckles from the audience.
Among the audience was seated the eminent city journalist CK Meena, who met Millett in the early 90s and shared her experience. Meena animatedly described Millett as very distant and spaced-out, seemingly because the stints in mental asylums had impaired her. “We asked each other, slightly kooky, no?”
“I was very fascinated by Millett’s house. Not a single wall. It possibly had to do with Millett’s fear of closed spaces, which she picked up while in mental asylums”, Meena said.
Towards the end of the session, Malhotra read an intimate moment from the book. A student asked, “Was the quick speed at which you read this scene intentional? Was it to convey the urgency in Millett’s writing?”
“My speed was intentional for the first two excerpts, but I should probably have read the sex scene a little slower”, confessed Malhotra.
Malhotra garnered a keen interest from the audience who asked questions on radical feminism and SCUM (Society for Cutting Up Men). The session ended with Malhotra and Meena giving English Department professors tips on how to deal with misinformed misogynists in the classroom.
Featured Image from Meta josephs team
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