Thought would write something about my project, and expect the small yet regular readers' to comment on it. so don't disappoint me you guys.
My research aims to look at women's work. But this is where it also hits a block. Almost all the feminist analysis of women's work and working women has concentrated on the working class women, their participation in economic production and the possiblities of more equal rights for women and consequently the possiblity of emancipation.
But i do not want to look at the working class women. for entirely selfish reasons (being brought up by a working mother and working father who took their work very seriously, mother being part of a worker's union and always knowing that when i grow up, i can not think about getting married and letting the man take care of my needs, not because that is impossible, but because that is simply not done.) When i looked to feminism for some engagement with the work done by women like my mother and the kind of woman i grew up to be, i had to face a void.
Middle class women, those who do not have to be a part of the workforce by economic necessity, especially in India, have not found any analysis of their situation in mainstream feminist discourse.
Even abroad, the discussions have mostly been restricted to the analysis of housework and etc.
that is where women's fiction, especially romantic fiction comes in. it is my proposal that unlike feminist theory, popular romantic fiction read and written by women, exhibit a different level of engagement with the middle class woman's work. they concentrate on exploring the meaning of work for women who do not have to earn their livings but choose to do so, women who derive pleasure from the work that they do, and women for whom work is a question of choice.
The formation of subjectivity in a patriarchy like India, for middle class women, i believe is determined greatly by their ability to go and work outside of the home, in the public domain.
Examples? MIlls and Boon would be nice. these straight forward romantice stories have seen a lot of change in their shape and conetent of the last 60 years or so. the chaste kiss has been replaced by some heavy duty sexual acitivity, but the women heroines are also no longer subordinate nurses or receptionists. they have carved out a niche for themselves in the public sphere, and by their own right. what are the implications of such an important move? how does the narrative reconcile with the two distinct traces of movement in the fiction, one in which the hero is the be-all-and-end-all of the heroine's life, and the other in which she refuses to compromise about the importance of her work in her life?
Also, what is the necessity of asking questions about middle class wokring women?
and so on and so forth.....