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Questions you always wanted to ask, and recommendations you can't get enough of. A nutritious slice from a Stree's life, delivered straight to your inbox!

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In India, when it comes to knowing the basics of safe abortion options – we come up blank. Except, the dhoom-tana-dhoom-tana sound of horror made familiar to us by K-serials and Hindi films of all genres.

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2021 has been unique in its capacity for turning the world on its head - we're all dealing with grief and exhaustion in our own way. So, I thought maybe it's time to do something different this year. Maybe, it's time to do an inventory of joy.

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The concept of pageants in 2021 repels me, but the curse of critical thinking means that I cannot ignore how they are often an opportunity for many young women from small towns to be someone, to establish their identity.

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In some teenagehoods, your dream to become a singer or form a girl band in school (inspired by watching your favorite Disney shows) could be shot down in a second; the bullet being an adult saying, “focus on your studies.”

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Being bisexual in a monosexist and queer-negative society is hard, but there’s also beauty in its subversiveness. It allows you to examine power relations in ways that other people may not.

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Glowing up can mean different things — from getting your hair dyed to a wardrobe makeover — but a fair chunk of that discourse is centered on weight loss. The glow-up transformation reels is evidence of that.

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Taylor Swift’s reputation (pun included) may see its ups and downs, but the artist has stood her ground. Despite everything that the media and life has put her through, she has not moved away from the limelight.

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Just like in a movie, it's not unrealistic to believe you're the protagonist of your life — you are, and you always will be. But what is unrealistic is expecting to be the main character of everyone else's life too.

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I have always felt uncomfortable at family functions. Even after making my non-binary queer identity explicit, grown-ups still talk about me being "a nice boy's wife" and give uncomfortable expressions if I correct them. 

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From a young age, we’ve been brought up with the idea that we need to be demure. Modest. Silent. Maybe even silenced? But what is it about taking up space that both petrifies us and excites us?

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I don’t look like the fashion week models – but if I’m forced to aim for that body type, I would drive myself up the wall for unrealistic body standards, while being miserable in my own skin.

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I wonder what it feels like to breathe without feeling like your ribcage is an arsonist, and your body a house fire, sabotaging your every dream. I found this when I was locked inside a mental health institution.

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On Instagram, people post stories of their travels, a restaurant meal, some not-so-humblebrag about how beautiful life is. If you actually paused your mindless tapping to ask what the larger narrative behind this is, you’ll find that it comes down to just one thing: success.

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Separation after seven years of marriage was unquestionably tough. I could no longer foresee a pleasant future for myself and my daughter. It was my intuitive side that came alive which told me that ‘this is not going the way you had thought it would.’

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She's got a green juice wherever she goes, and is up at 5 AM to fill out her gratitude journal. She works out before heading to her 9-to-5. She's got a picture-perfect life, with Instagram-filtered Reels to show for it. We all know 'that girl', we've all tried being 'that girl.' Chances are, we've come up short.

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“I found it extremely uncomfortable to restart therapy, without having an obvious big bad reason for it”, says Nidhi. It’s all well and good for me to tell people that therapy is great and it is for everyone, until I have to force-feed myself the same spiel I preach.

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Love has a tarnished reputation. Amid bad romances, passion, sex and the subsequent heartbreaks, we forget that love is more abstract and functional than just the hurt it harbours. It can be soft, healing, wholesome and helpful. Pankhuri writes of platonic intimacy.

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I have been waiting at the check-in line. Everyone around me is either one-half of a couple, one-fourth of a family, or one-third of a trio. "How many people are travelling with you?" I am suddenly asked. "Just one." Maanvi illustrates the perils and joys of solo travel.

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Mansi writes, “I owe my healing, the body and being I'm familiarised with, finally finding comfort in and forging a space out of, to the women in my life. I continue to be wary of the world's vile ways against us, our bodies and our solidarities.”

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Networking. Is it the skill of charming people, at its core? Or perhaps an isolated act that takes place in an isolated room with the scent of social skills? Neither, actually. A truth that took me a while to realise. Ayusha Mahajan tells us how to network with social anxiety.

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‘It is time for my bi-monthly BDSM sesh. Body-parts Duly Submitted for Mauling, a song not written by Ed Sheeran. Because guess who's not in love with the shape of me?’ This week, we feature a hairy tale by Aparajita Deb titled “Dead Baby Jokes."

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Women are hardly seen loitering around leisurely, part of an adda, or simply sipping chai at roadside eateries. The fear of harassment and constant public scrutiny robs them of safe access to public spaces- commonly avenues of leisure for men. Dipanjali illustrates how leisure becomes an uncommon luxury for women.

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Changing the narrative of the way I looked at myself helped me respect my body more than ever before. I realised that my body does a lot more than just being there, and looking conventionally pretty. Kruti writes on her experience of having an eating disorder, and her lessons on the way to recovery.

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It deeply angered me to think that they didn’t “need” me to feel okay but I needed them to feel better about myself. Until I realised- our relationship was becoming dysfunctional because I had a dysfunctional relationship with myself, Saumya writes on codependency.

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I would imagine what a scone is like, because in the 90s when I was reading them, I didn't know what they were like! I would wistfully think of midnight feasts, and English weather. It's so funny how the first heroines of our lives weren't even written for us, right?

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“Dude, I’m 🀏 this close to a burn out.” That one sentence is a brief recap of the last two years of my virtual college “life” and work “life” —  minus the life in it, of course. Hi, I'm Mansi, and as someone who just graduated college, I am here to tell you that the kids are NOT okay.

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In the past, I’ve often ignored red flags, giving people the benefit of doubt or telling myself it just happened one time so it’s fine. Do you think red flags are a sign to call things off when you spot them? Or talk about them if spotted, and see if there can be a course correction?

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“Stop being a simp!” I was scrolling on Twitter at night, as one does, when I saw this tweet. This unfamiliar adjective stumped me. “What is a simp?” I did what anyone my age does when confronted with slang that they don’t understand — I Googled it. 

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I’ve fallen into the Clubhouse spiral. I’ve hopped from room to room, explored book clubs and sci-fi conspiracies, listened to startups pitch to VCs, lurked in rooms promising gossip about the rich and famous. But the most cathartic one I’ve been a part of was one about toxic work cultures.

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Hey! I am Aastha, my pronouns are she/they, and I work as a Social Media Trainee! And I am fat. I am only nineteen years old but I hold a lifetime’s worth of trauma simply because society has been told that my body is a verbal punching bag. Of course, we could call it fatphobia.

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In my career early on, I did try to be likable. But there are two things I realised. One, that it’s exhausting. And two, there is no end to the hoops you have to jump through as a woman to appear “likable.” Because despite my best efforts, my first impression remained “intimidating.”

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Things working out “in an orderly way” or feeling somehow empowered seems unthinkable right now. But I'm taking things slowly and trying to process my grief, Kamakshi writes. If you're struggling similarly, I hope you're kind to yourself and take things one day at a time.

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During the time I was at my sickest, I did not cut myself the tiniest bit of slack, which of course delayed my recovery. Because I was driving my already sick brain into a frenzy. Sadaf talks of mental and physical wellbeing after battling a bout of Covid-19.

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A good starting point would be to ask yourself why you need a distraction and how it’s helping you. Are you using it to escape your life or are you distracting yourself to make your life better? Are your distractions making you feel worse overall or are they helping you recuperate?

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Fear, confusion, numbness, panic and anxiety, these are the top five emotions I am observing. We can’t go through this alone. More than ever, it seems that reaching out for professional help is an inevitability. A way for us to process our grief, our trauma, and our anxiety.

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Talk or write to yourself the way that you would to a best friend in your position. If you tend to be rough on yourself, this is a good way to validate and understand your feelings. Meet yourself at the halfway mark, says Nidhi. Find something tactile that feels messy and doesn’t need to be perfect.

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