Driving with Selvi

Guest Post: Making it Real

As part of my role on this film, I spend time each week looking at the latest news about women’s experiences with violence or discrimination in India and around the world. We try to stay up-to-the minute on the issues affecting women, and to share the most significant stories we find (both good news and bad) with our audience.

While I was doing this about two months ago, I had a moment that really stopped me in my tracks, and I’m still thinking about it. I was trying to find a specific kind of meme to share on social media – you know what I mean, an image that’s got some kind of quote or statistic layered over top of it. Memes don’t take long for us to look at and they can be quite impactful, which is why they often get shared.

I had it in my mind that I’d like to find a meme on child marriage. I figured I could find an image that had an inspirational quote on it about how when we allow girls to fulfill their potential instead of marrying young, the whole of society benefits. Something like this (found subsequently). I put “India child brides” into Google’s Image search, expecting to find pages of these memes. Instead, I found pages and pages of pictures of desperate and sad-looking young girls – sometimes very young girls. They were all bejeweled and dressed in fine red wedding saris, such a disconnect from the misery on their faces. It was heartbreaking and totally unexpected. I was really seeing child marriage come to life before my eyes, and it affected me more than any amount of reading about it could do.

Selvi is the counterpoint to all of those terribly distressed girl brides. In a previous post I talked about what seeing Selvi on film feels like. It’s a powerful, visceral antidote to all the sad stories we hear and see. Selvi makes that antidote real.

- Julia Morgan was the Associate Producer on Driving with Selvi. You can follow her on twitter at @JuliaMorgan3

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