Retrieving Experience- Enakshi Roy

Creating the base…

Postmodernist Feminism: Postmodern Feminists accept the male/female binary as a main categorizing force in our society. Following Simone de Beauvoir, they see female as having being cast into the role of the ‘Other’. They criticize the structure of society and the dominant order, especially in its patriarchal aspects. Postmodern Feminism is the ultimate acceptor of diversity. Multiple truths, multiple roles, multiple realities are part of its focus.

Simone De Beauvoir’s take- Questioned the place of societal expectations in individual’s lives: Do we really all have complete freedom? Simone De Beauvoir, in The Second Sex, said that we are all brought up in a world defined by men, where women are defined as “Other” or not normal (maleness being the norm). “One is not born, but rather becomes, woman.” According to de Beauvoir, no woman in this society can act outside of this constriction.

Where Sonia Kruks’ comes in? Draws on the original work of De Beauvoir and makes her theories more accessible to the people and considers De Beauvoir’s work as “profoundly original and significant” contribution to political thinking. The ambiguity referred to in the title here is crucial, used throughout the book to bring attention to the “paradoxes and necessary failures of action” in which it results. As such, the word’s original meaning – the ability of something to be interpreted in two or more equally reasonable ways – bears repeating: in Beauvoir’s understanding, this idea is applied both to an action, which can have, presumably, as many legitimate ‘meanings’ as there are people to interpret it. The notion of retrieving experience here refers to the idea of construction gender socially as one experience it. Also here in comes in her arguments based on the theory of phenomenology where once again the experience of being becomes important. We can draw on Kruk’s to analyze some of the earlier readings in this class, such as shame and happiness, even the idea of gender as it relates to one’s home.


  • Do we still think as gender in terms of binary? With the LGBT movements are some of these lines getting erased?
  • For women, is “choice” itself a notion that is male construct?
  • We read Mohanty’s Feminism Without Borders, and now we have read this text which draws on French ideologies. Is gender somewhere constructed along the lines of a nation-state?

Experimenting with Curation

Last week, I came across this interesting piece of news about the apparel brand Gap using an Indian Sikh man as thier model. The image which may have gone unnoticed otherwise, came in focus due the certain racial comments and acts of vandalism that ensued.

I have never faced any instances of racism here, but then again, a small college town with more liberal minded people may be an outlier. But this is the exact sort of story that I my target audience will be interested in. To confirm my news judgement, I posted the story on facebook. I have friends from both India and America on my list. But the ones who reacted toe story, either in terms of like or shares are friends who have studied here and are now working in America.

In fact this news gathered momentum through the social media when people retweeted and shared the picture. But to stay on top with such news, I have to follow people who already are cued into the diaspora as a beat. I have started following  Arsalan Iftikhar. who posted this picture first.

More Sneezers

As we get ready to make our final pitch presentations, I am thinking more about how to get the word out there that, such a site exists. I think I will go the tried and tested celebrity endorsement way. But, the twist is, I’d have to get celebrities who will make sense to my target audience.

For the diaspora, Indians who have are associated with popular culture score big. So actors on American TV are highly desirable celebrities for endorsements. I am thinking of someone like Kunal Nayyar, the actor who plays Rajesh Koothrappali in the popular sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Nayyar has 766,364 followers on twitter and is popular with college students as well as professionals. He is my perfect sneezer.  First I would approach him for an interview, now that will provide original content for my site, and then after I have got their interview I will get them to Tweet about their interview appearing on my site. Good idea to get get some traffic.  Also, there is  no reason why I can’t do the interview considering I have the requisite journalistic experience to do it.

In fact in the first few months I should have frequent interviews with other Indian-Americans who come on TV. Potential personalities I can feature- Asif Mandavi from the Daily Show, Dev Patel of Slumdog Millionaire and Newsroom, comedian like Russel Peters and a few not so mainstream personalities like stand-up comic Hari Kondabolu. Also curating news on these celebrities will be good content for the site. 

Ethics and Bollywood

Last night, the Casa Neuva Restaurant and Cantina, a local bar in Athens, Ohio, had a Bollywood dance night. Even if it is really close to finals weeks the bar was full of Indian students, who even if they are a little hesitant to visit bars otherwise, were there, shaking a leg to popular Bollywood numbers.

I have written about this earlier that the Indian diaspora is using Bollywood as a cultural identifier and as a connection that binds them. Hence I also decided to prominently feature Bollywood news on my site. But then there are some ethical issues that crop up even when featuring Bollywood news!

A few days back a popular Bollywood actress Katrina Kaif, had a wardrobe malfunction, and needless to say the Indian media blew it out of proportion. But, now this kind if things though it arouses public interest is not quite important. So do I at all put in this kind of stuff that in my news judgement is trivial? Also since I am curating the news and not doing my original reporting, which website do I choose if I want to link it to a news site, the site that has reported it in the most sensational way, of the site that has it in moderation?

Time to Tweak the Idea.


As we prepare our final pitch presentations, and reconsider every possible questions that may come up, I’m rethinking the viability of this project.  Keeping in mind I am a full-time Ph.D. student, with a 20-hours a week job that pays for my stipend, how am I really going to keep up with curating the news everyday?

Unlike some of my colleagues, who are developing an one-time App one time, not to say that will not require time and effort or sustained maintenance, I have to keep up with this on a daily basis .Also the time difference between India and U.S.A may be a factor in updating the site, unless I have someone working for me in India or here on another shift, which will mean added expenditure.

I am actually now inclined to make my service a weekly service. This will help me to test-waters and moreover give me time to curate quality stuff. I could pick out the 10 important happenings of the week, and then have in-depth stories covering those issue or events and have it up on my site every Saturday morning, so that the users have the entire weekend to read the same. As for the write-up to go with these news stories, I will have a brief summary about the first the news and then about the story that I’m proving a link to.

But my initial problem which I sought to solve  was, how does one keep up with the daily news in India? How do I solve that problem? I do not know if ti is a viable option, but what if I could Tweet five important headline for the day? Five-words headline and then one sentence to elaborate. For example, and interesting story from India for today is- One if the Prime Ministerial candidates for the Indian general elections in 2014, Narendra Modi has called Gandhi, Mohanlal instead of Mohandas, and that has caused some stir. I can Tweet “Modi confuses Gandhi’s name. Refers to Gandhi as Mohanlal instead of Mohandas at a rally in Jaipur.” This kind of Tweeting will keep me relevant and in service through the week without burning myself out, and will also leave me time to do the curating stuff for the weekend.

The MVP for My Kind of News

While we want to make our projects useful and “cool”, in doing so we may often move away from the core function our app/site is suppose to perform. Hence revisiting the basic problem and how our app is suppose to solve them is a wise idea.

For me the problem that I seek to solve is: For the Indian diaspora in America,it is difficult to keep up with India related news on a everyday basis. Hence I need to have a product that will solve this problem.

My core product is have a news curated site that will have the 10 most important news from India everyday. I will provide a brief summary of these news and then link it to a news site that has a well written story on the same news.

The next question is what can be the MVP or minimum viable product for the same. In my case this will be a webpage that has a numbered list of news. A, four-six word headline followed by a 75-80 word summary of the news, followed by an active link that will link it to a news source. I plan to follow the Daily Beast Cheat Sheet Template. The Daily Beast Cheat Sheet however has a mug shot picture with every story, for which it gives a photo credit to either the photo stock service or the wire services, but I do not think I will be able to do that.

Socializing the Idea

As suggested by our Professor we need to socialize our idea that we have for our entrepreneurial projects. What is socializing an idea? According to the urban word dictionaries this word means to spread and idea with a hope that familiarity will gain it acceptance or build a consensus. I understanding it as bouncing an idea around, very much what we do with our story ideas before we write them.

So where do I socialize my idea? My first stop is the Facebook page for the Indian Students Association at Ohio University. This page has 219 users. These users are Ohio University students of the enrolled in various courses, but staying true to the Indian stereotype, they are mostly enrolled in the STEM subjects. Age range 22- 32 years, mostly graduate students.

The question that I am putting up on the page is- Will you guys subscribe to an app that will give you 10 most important news for NRIs everyday? As further explanation I will add- This app will have brief summaries of 10 most important news from India, and will lead you to a webpage that will give you the news in details, if you wish to read further. Skewed towards the requirements of NRIs this App will also have timely updates on immigration, higher education and any other legislation that are important to Indians living here.

Now let me see how many and what kind of responses I get to that.