Friday, November 18 2016, 12:13:37
  • bulletin
  • fatasstic
  • She Says

Mansi Khandelwal

JWB Blogger

This Book For Children Explores Our Traditional Gender Notions Attached with ‘Bindi’

  • JWB Post
  •  November 5, 2016


Originally indicative of obedience to Hindu tradition and Indian culture, the Bindi was once considered a sacred symbol of Indian womanhood. A simple colored dot worn by women was attached to several religious and spiritual connotations.

But does it still hold its relevance? This colored dot that was associated with a woman’s religious and marital roots is commonly worn as an accessory these days. Exploring the queer south Asian themes and traditions, author Vivek Shraya latest picture book is creating space in the world of children’s literature for South Asian kids who don’t impute to traditional notions of gender expression.

The Boy & The Bindi by Shraya is a picture book rich in its illustrations that tell the story of a young boy who becomes fascinated with his mother’s bindi. Author Vivek Shraya told The Huffington Post that while there is a growing market for books that feature the lives and stories of gender-creative kids, few of these cater to the experiences of brown children. She wanted to use the bindi to complicate and explore notions of gender expression among South Asian children.

“A few years ago, when I started wearing a bindi in public, I noted the ways it would elicit staring. I found it bizarre and fascinating that even a dot on a forehead is gendered and consequently discomforting when worn by someone who is seemingly the wrong gender,” Shraya told The Huffington Post. “I was excited about writing a story that not only pushed against this discomfort but that also featured a supportive parent… it has been my experience that being brown has room for queerness in ways that Western culture does not.”

Shraya hopes to reflect the lives of gender creative children and their identities in the pages of this picture book. She also intends to encourage all children to “treasure and celebrate their own symbols and feelings of difference.”

Those who want to seek more information about The Boy & The Bindi, you can visit Shraya’s website and check out some other images from the book below.

The Boy & The Bindi is illustrated by Rajni Parera.

Contact us for your story


Leave a Comment

  • JWB along with the brand Jewel Saga bring you a selfie contest inspired by the campaign AidToMaid.

    Here’s How Princess Diya Kumari, Raveena Tandon, & Dior’s Kalyani Saha Achieved Financial Independence