FEMINIST FRIDAY: Mayan Feminism In Guatemala’s 1st Oscar Entry & Tamtam’s New Music Video


You know it’s Fri-yay when we publish an edition of our “Feminist Friday” series! It’s our favorite way to end the week and has become the perfect way to share videos we are enjoying right now. This week, our videos come from Guatemala, India and Saudi Arabia.

The first is a film, ‘Ixcanul’, which tells the story of a young Mayan girl straddling the expectations of her traditional culture, with her desires to move to the United States and make a life for herself. This film is Guatemala’s first Oscar entry, and it is also the directorial debut for filmmaker Jayro Bustamante.

The film’s protagonist Maria, 17, played by María Mercedes Coroy is pulled between two very different cultures in a feminist film of a very different kind. It includes topics such as abortion, arranged marriage, poverty, and the emotional yet strained bond between a mother and daughter who have completely different ideals for what María’s life should look like.

We are always interested in learning about how feminism becomes part of different women’s lives around the world, whether it is specifically labeled that or not. This film is sure to educate and remind viewers of the struggles relating to gender equality which still exist in many places. Take a look at the trailer:

Switching gears for our next view, two creatives from India have embarked on a journey to look at body image with the aim to separate it from unrealistic standards perpetuated by advertising. Fashion designer Aloka D’Souza teamed up with photographer and filmmaker Nandith Jaisimha, both of whom are based out of Bangaluru, the capital of India’s southern Karnataka state.

The overarching message is that fashion needs to fit bodies, not the other way round, so the filmmakers interviewed 9 women with varied body types, sizes, shapes, complexion, from different walks of life to emphasize just how varied each person defines body image. Also included the film is Anugrah Phillips, a fashion stylist and cross-dresser.

“Needle’s Eye: Fashion Beyond Shape” is a reminder just how powerful fashion standards are on a global scale. Aloka started a customizable clothing studio in 2013 and shared how many women come to her with insecurities, seeking to hide their imperfections because of the narrow language magazines use when describing bodies, predicting trends that only seem to cater to one size.

“The language needs to change and be more encouraging. Advise women to highlight what they like about themselves, but don’t perpetuate impractical aspirational body types,” she told The News Minute.

Nandith shares his male perspective on fashion, and how it fosters widespread insecurity in women more-so than men, despite body image being a major issue for guys also these days.

“Men face lesser pressure to be stylish. On the other hand, I’ve been shopping with my female friends and every time I see them struggle to fit into clothes they find at shops, it strikes me how arbitrary the sizes there are,” he said.

Take a look at “Needle’s Eye” below:

Finally, our last video comes from musician Tamtam, who burst onto the international scene and our radar with her debut single ‘Gender Game’ in 2014. Now based in Los Angeles, Tamtam’s music still carried many themes and imagery related to her home country in a way that raises awareness through a creative lens.

She now has a new single and music video called ‘Old Soul’, which was released worldwide on Monday, Sept 19th. The song is about not allowing time to dictate how we feel about ourselves or what we can do with our lives. We are already huge fans of Tamtam because of the way she uses her music to discuss important life issues and themes that are often taboo in certain cultures.

If you are looking for some new feminist music to add to your collection today, check out ‘Old Soul’ below, and visit her Soundcloud page to find links to purchase the track.

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