The mystery surrounding the harem has resulted in rumors of what life behind its high walls actually looks like. Images of beautiful women, sexual pleasure, endless overindulgence have been projected over the reality of this strictly maintained gendered space. It’s easy to dismiss its existence as an example of archaic gender boundaries which have no place in the 21st century. But why? By delving into historical reactions to the harem, we can explore how gendered spaces are constructed and how this bears on our understanding of “freedom”.
Delhi is considered a dangerous city when it comes to women’s mobility. Episodes of violence like the bus gang-rape of 2012 are a symptom of a city inscribed with gender inequality, especially in relation to accessing public space. In this contribution, I explore the experiences and relationship with mobility of the members of a ladies-only motorcycle club, the Bikerni. By looking at their hardships and successes, this blog post aims to convey how biking is a conflagration point for more than just patriarchal relations of power.