'Not Like Other Girls':
Looking Back as an Approach to Studying the Socialisation of Girls with Locomotor Disability in Bengal
Feminist disability scholars have argued that gendered societal standards influence and construct cultural notions of femininity and shape the development of identities of women with disabilities. Gender socialisation is one of the basic processes whereby identities are constructed and maintained through learning of socio-cultural ideologies regarding gender appropriate behaviour and its performance in daily life contexts. This paper attempts to reveal the ways in which girls with locomotor disability in West Bengal experience processes of gender socialisation, in the light of patriarchal and abilist ideologies existing their own cultural context. It also seeks to explore the ways in which these girls negotiate the self and a feminine performance in different ways, adhering to, questioning and subverting such ideologies in their daily lives. The paper is based on empirical data collected from sixteen women with locomotor disabilities living in the rural district of 24 Parganas (S) and the urban locale of Kolkata in West Bengal.
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