COURTNEY PATTERSON-FAYE | ANIRBAN BAISHYA & DARSHANA SREEDHAR MINI

AuntyBodies

Courtney Patterson-Faye

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Courtney J. Patterson-Faye, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University, earned her doctorate in African American Studies from Northwestern University. Her research and teaching interests include Black feminist thought, race, class and gender, fat studies, fashion studies, sexuality, cultural and medical sociology, and HIV/AIDS. Her work has been published in both journals and books, including her article “ ‘I Like the Way You Move’: Theorizing Fat, Black, and Sexy” in Sexualities, and her book chapter “When and Where I Always Enter: An Auto-Ethnographic Approach to Black Women's Body Size Politics in Academia,” in New Black Sociologists. Her work has also appeared in the Du Bois Review, Black Female Sexualities, Designing Apparel for Consumers: The Impact of Body Shape and Size, and BBC Proms. She is currently working on her first book exploring the sociopolitical construction of body size.

Anirban Baishya

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Anirban Baishya is an Assistant Professor at the Communication and Media Studies Department, Fordham University.

His current research examines selfies and the rise of digital selfhood in India. His research interests New Media and Digital Cultures, Social Media & Political Culture, Media Aesthetics, Surveillance Studies, and Global and South Asian Cinema & Media. His work has been published in International Journal of Communication, Communication, Culture & Critique, South Asian Popular Culture, Porn Studies and South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies.

Darshana Sreedhar Mini

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Darshana Sreedhar Mini is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication Arts, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Supported by the Social Science Research Council and American Institute of Indian Studies, her work explores precarious media formations such as low-budget films produced in the south Indian state of Kerala, mapping their transnational journeys. Her research interests broadly include Global Media Cultures, Transnational Cinemas and Migration, South Asian Cinema, and Feminist Media and her work has been published in Feminist Media Histories, Bioscope: South Asian Screen Studies, South Asian Popular Culture, Journal for Ritual Studies and International Journal for Digital Television.

The Region of the Aunty: Erotic Toons and the Sexual Imagination in India

In this talk we draw on our article "Transgressions in Toonland: Savita Bhabhi, Velamma and the Indian adult comic" published in Porn Studies in 2020. We revisit some of the main ideas of that essay through the conceptual framework of the aunty. We examine how erotic comix such as Savita Bhabhi and Velamma reframe the idea of the Indian “aunty.” In India, the English word “aunty” is often used as a pejorative term in which the woman is essentially imagined to be outside the realm of the sexual. Through the hypersexualized images in these erotic comix, we demonstrate that there is also an alternative, hypersexualized imagination of the “aunty.” In doing so, we argue that we can imagine a “region of the aunty”—or an aunty-spectrum in which the hypersexualized and desexualized imaginaries are held in constant tension by forces of class, kinship and gender. (13:55)

Aunties Get It In: Beyond Mammy and Jezebel

This critical reflection is a preliminary attempt to reconcile “mammy” and “jezebel” with “Auntie” as a better way to understand and work through Black women’s experiences with body size and sexuality. Black feminist scholar Patricia Hill Collins has shown that “controlling images,” like mammy and jezebel, are pervasive tropes that often--and globally—misidentify and misrepresent Black women before they walk into any room. As a scholar whose work has delved deeply into plus size fashion, I have often looked for ways to move past mammy and jezebel to better encompass the lives of fat Black women. Reflecting on my family, popular culture, social media, and my own budding auntiedom, I move to consider “Auntie” not only as a quintessential life coach, but also as a representation of freedom, abundance and limitlessness. (14:20)

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