Mientras el sol invernal asciende sobre una granja de mostaza, de un naranja pálido que se desvanecía en un amarillo intenso, una fila de 36 niñas, todas vestidas de la misma manera —camisetas, pantalones deportivos, cabello muy corto tipo militar—, salen a un campo abierto, frotándose los ojos, somnolientas. Debajo de un cobertizo de hojalata, se ponen en cuclillas, inclinadas sobre morteros de piedra. Durante los siguientes 20 minutos, trituran almendras crudas hasta obtener una pasta fina, colando una botella de leche de almendra. La necesitarán para recuperar fuerzas.
Fundada en 2017, Yudhveer Akhada es una academia residencial de lucha para niñas, dirigida por una familia de luchadores de competencia en Sonipat, una ciudad industrial semiurbana en Haryana, un estado en el norte de India fronterizo con Delhi. En la actualidad, alberga a 45 aprendices que suelen tener entre 10 y 15 años al llegar y se espera que se queden hasta los 20, sumándose a la floreciente comunidad de chicas que luchan. Todas las estudiantes que ingresan a la academia tienen el mismo objetivo: ganar una medalla olímpica para la India.
“En India estamos rodeados de historias de violencia contra las mujeres”, dijo Prarthna Singh, la fotógrafa de este reportaje. Sin embargo, el país también ha visto una creciente participación en los deportes femeninos, incluida la lucha. “Dentro de esos constructos patriarcales, tenemos estas academias donde las jóvenes se están haciendo un espacio como deportistas. Es inspirador ver cómo se entregan a la dedicación y el rigor que se necesita para convertirse en una”.
Después del calentamiento, su entrenamiento varía. Los días de cardio pueden traducirse en una carrera a campo traviesa o subir escaleras. Los días de deporte, juegan al balonmano o al baloncesto. Los días de fortalecimiento son los más exigentes de todos: las chicas deben arrastrar bloques de madera por el campo o trepar varios metros de cuerdas retorcidas.
Interview: Patrick Stewart
“I acted Macbeth for exactly 365 days,” says the actor, whose new memoir is “Making It So.” “The role got into me so deeply it dominated my life at the time and caused me to drink too much alcohol after the performance was over. No other role I have played has affected me so profoundly.”
Can You Connect These Memorable Characters With Their Novels?
Welcome to Lit Trivia, the Book Review’s multiple-choice quiz designed to test your knowledge of books and their authors. This week’s installment asks you to identify memorable characters from mid-20th-century novels. After the last question, you’ll find a list of books highlighted in the quiz.
The Book Review Quiz Bowl appears on the Books page every week with a new topic. Click here for the archive of past quizzes.
Modern Masculinity Is Broken. She Knows How to Fix It.
With the arrival of her part memoir, part manifesto “How to Be a Woman” in 2011, Caitlin Moran established herself as one of her generation’s funniest and most fearless feminist voices. Moran, who is 48 and who first made her mark in the early 1990s as a wunderkind music journalist for British publications, has published four ribald and emotionally honest books of nonfiction and two novels since then and has continued to work as a columnist at The Times of London. Now, with her new book, “What About Men?” Moran turns her eye to what she sees as the limited and limiting discussions around modern masculinity. It’s a book she felt duty-bound to write. “All the women that I know on similar platforms,” Moran says, speaking about fellow writers, “we’re out there mentoring young girls and signing petitions and looking after the younglings. The men of my generation with the same platforms have not done that. They are not having a conversation about young men. So given that none of them have written a book that addresses this, muggins here is going to do it.”
There’s a lot of generalizing in your book when it comes to men: They’re obsessed with band T-shirts and emotionally inarticulate and constantly talking about their balls. Is it possible that relying so heavily on those kinds of jokey stereotypes and clichés risks undercutting the deeper points you’re trying to make about the need to open up possibilities for how we think and talk about masculinity? I’m a mainstream writer. If I’m going to start talking about a difficult idea, I want to approach it in the most successful way possible. You need to start with a generalization that is going to get people to go either, “Yes, I recognize myself in that,” or, “No, I don’t agree.” Maybe a lot of people are going, “Men are emotionally literate, they can talk to each other,” but I sat down to watch “The Bear,” which has been lauded everywhere, and it’s about men who can’t talk about their emotions. I see that as a far more clichéd depiction than anything that I’ve done in this book.
Part of the framing of your book is that there’s not enough discussion about young men’s struggling to adapt to changing ideas about masculinity. I feel as if that’s a big topic of conversation these days. So what is the fresh thinking that you’re bringing to it? Feminism has a stated objective, which is the political, social, sexual and economic equality of women. With men, there isn’t an objective or an aim. Because there isn’t, what I have observed is that the stuff that is getting the most currency is on the conservative side. Men going: “Our lives have gotten materially worse since women started asking for equality. We need to reset the clock. We need to have power over women again.” We are talking about the problems of women and girls at a much higher level than we are about boys and men. We need to identify the problems and work out what we want the future to look like for men in a way that women have already done for themselves.
You used to write a lot of celebrity profiles. Can you tell me a good anecdote about a famous person that you’ve never told before? The New York Times would never publish it. Absolutely filthy.
Try me. [Moran tells an epically filthy story about a British one-hit wonder from the 1990s.] You’re not printing that, are you?
How do you think the public discussion of feminism has changed since “How to Be a Woman”? I think the younger generation of feminists are even more open-minded and openhearted and sincere in what they do. But the downside is that a lot of the humor and the lightheartedness and the ability to ask a question about an idea has gone. The thing that I observe in younger women and activists is that they’re scared of going online and using the wrong word or asking the wrong question. As a result, we’re not having the free flow of ideas and questions that makes a movement optimal. We appear to have reinvented religion to a certain extent: the idea that there is a sentient thing watching you and that if you do something wrong, it will punish you. God is very much there in social media. I feel that having been born in an era before social media, I grew up godless, and it made me a lot freer than my daughters’ generation.
What’s an idea that people are afraid to talk about more openly? Trans issues. In the U.K., you are seen to be on one of two sides. It’s the idea that you could be a centrist and talk about it in a relaxed, humorous, humane way that didn’t involve two groups of adults tearing each other to pieces on the internet.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity from two conversations.
David Marchese is a staff writer for the magazine and the columnist for Talk. He recently interviewed Alok Vaid-Menon about transgender ordinariness, Joyce Carol Oates about immortality and Robert Downey Jr. about life after Marvel.
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