DU Beat’s Sex Amma column started off as an anonymous advice column for students delving into college life and exploring their sexuality and identity. It was a column meant to facilitate a conversation on something normal, but so often frowned upon. It was supposed to be a safe space for students to discuss personal issues and educate readers about topics considered taboo with people their own age, with no fear of judgment or assumption. And for the past 13 years, has continually been so.
Criticism and feedback are what keeps a public forum relevant. DU Beat is where it is today because of a combined effort of the team as well as our viewers and audience that makes us, us. A column that had started with good intentions – in an attempt to tackle serious and important issues in an accessible, easy and humorous manner – ended up derailing from its original goal, and turned into something that goes against some of the main principles of DU Beat – clarity, facts, and most of all, respect.
We firmly believe that talks about sex and sexuality, especially in a society that outlaws them as much as ours does, is extremely important, and thus, should continue. After reading the feedback provided by Amal Mathew’s article for the LiveWire, we took the author’s comments into consideration and realised that it was coming from a valid place. We took a long, hard look at ourselves and, as is our duty, decided to course correct.
The misplaced use of words and analogies to describe something as natural and intrinsic as sex can misinform and confuse readers – an end result that is far from our intention. We never meant to showcase disrespect or disregard for any community, and for the hurt caused, we would like to humbly apologise. Our leadership is committed to making our platform a place where everyone feels respected and valid, and we shall be taking active steps to right our errors.
The main points raised in the article were:
- Sex Amma’s content contains misplaced words and descriptors that can confuse readers – the food analogies were specifically called out.
- Sex Amma’s content uses culturally insensitive tropes and language to talk about sex.
Here are the redressal steps that our editorial team will be committing to:
- We shall work to provide clear and unambiguous language when discussing and educating our readers about sex. We realize that while the food analogies were written with the aim to amuse, they can be misinterpreted and confuse the reader. Therefore, we will be rethinking the manner in which Sex Amma offers advice and do away with the using of food as an indicator for certain body parts.
- Food and cuisine are extremely important aspects of our identity; we realize that using these as analogies can come across as distasteful, even though that was not our intent. Moving forward, the editorial team shall do away with using culturally significant descriptors and language, and work harder to make our content more inclusive and accessible.
We hope to ensure that Sex Amma is a column that provides a space for talks about sex and sexuality with no disrespect. Though these steps might be belated, we are fully committed to correcting our mistakes.
Sex Amma, ultimately, is a character created as a progressive, strong woman who is not afraid to talk about sexual health. Female sexuality is often frowned upon, but Amma is unabashed and here to help the students of DU without judgement or condescension. We will ensure that with the help of these steps, Sex Amma, as a column, goes back to what it was originally meant to be – a column to educate our readers about traditionally censored topics and experiences.