After all these years, I see that I was mistaken about Eve in the beginning; it is better to live outside the Garden with her than inside it without her.
from "Extracts from Adam's Diary" by Mark Twain
When I first came up with the idea of devoting the month of March to women in Indian cinema I had no idea, really, what to call it, and I sort of half-jokingly toyed with the idea of calling it Adam's Rib after the 1949 film directed by George Kukor, starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy (and which bore the tag line: "It's the hilarious answer to who wears the pants." Some days I think it's obvious who wears the pants in the business of cinema.)
The more I thought about it, though, the more I thought that perhaps it was the best name for what I hope to see happen in March, as I originally quoted from Women in Malayalam Cinema: Naturalising Gender Hierarchies, edited by Meena T. Pillai: a celebration of the "immense creative and productive potential" of women.
One interpretation of the idea of Eve being created from Adam's rib is that it represents the fact that she is, in fact, his equal; having been taken from his side, she complements and completes him. And I suppose that idea is precisely why it gets up my nose a bit at times when women are given short shrift, in any endeavour, but also in cinema.
In the end, I kind of think it's fitting to call a month celebrating women in cinema "Adam's Rib", in a tip of the hat to the fact that, in a kind of cinematic Garden of Eden, cinema would be much less rich without some of the wonderful women who make films, write films, and star in films -- and who, all too often, support men in the fringes of films.
So that's the plan for the whole month of March, and I'm giving everyone a head's up now so they have all of February to plot, plan, and write. There are no rules: just write about women in Indian (and diaspora) cinema. You could look at actors, directors, writers. You could just write about your favorite female actor if you want. You can look at women's issues, and how they're dealt with in film. Anything goes, as long as it fulfils the month's essential aim: to celebrate women and their creativity and talent.
If you would like to join in, let me know in the comments, and I'll put together a list of participants. I'll also collect the links on Delicious, and I'm going to suggest using the hashtag #adamsrib on Twitter.
Let's show everyone who wears the pants around here!