As an Indian woman, it goes without saying that we have had so many barriers to our freedom because of several factors. I am not here to say that women from other races don’t go through this, but today I am writing this from an intersectional point of view. One of the most important parts of reaching equality as a society is acknowledging that different communities have different needs.
Intersectional feminism is so important for us because it helps to fill up the gaps we have as a community. The lack of liberation comes from several factors and deep seated cultural issues. As always, please remember that, this is an ever evolving subject and it cannot be concluded in one article.
There has been numerous times when I myself have succumbed to the conditioning of this society. I did this unknowingly and when i realised it, i questioned myself. I asked myself, how did I let it get to my mind. This just simply goes to show how important it is to question things or to have an inquisitive mind.
The conditioning that happens in our society is alarming and we have to eradicate it, slowly but surely. These are mindsets that no longer work for the world that we live in. Frankly, I wonder how did it even ever work to begin with!
- A pretty woman is fair skinned
I cannot even begin to describe the number of times I have heard this, even in my own family. Pati, I love you but this is an offensive mindset that has to be out. For decades, Indian families have destroyed and shattered the confidence of many young Indian girls for their beautiful skin colour.
The unnecessary comparison in colours made the gap bigger and today, we are claiming our power back. No one is saying that fair is ugly. Any and every skin colour is beautiful because people are so much more than their appearance. The next time someone passes you a skin whitening cream, tell them this,
“ I am not sorry for my skin colour. I am sorry for your mentality”
- A good wife is more important than being an empowered individual
A moment of silence to all the Indian women out there who are dumbing themselves down or missing out on career opportunities because of their emasculated partner. Girl, I hope someday you are empowered enough to take leadership in your life. No, I am not judging your choices because I am pro choice, ALWAYS, even if it does not make sense to me.
I feel rather disappointed to see the potential go down. Not a criminal thing to do, but it is self sabotaging and it is criminal in my vocabulary. Ladies, if you want to genuinely do that, please go on to do so because it shows that you are empowered enough to make choices, but I hope it is not because you do not want to make your partner feel small. Like what Michelle Obama once said,
“Strong men – men who are truly role models – don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful. People who are truly strong lift others up. People who are truly powerful bring others together.”
- A woman must dress up modestly
This is another reason for us to not claim our power. Let me break this down for ya. When we feel strong enough to make a choice on the outfits we pick, it simply means that we are powerful enough to decide.
If a woman does not cover her skin, she is asking for it. I have seen this happening with my relatives. A sense of pride these Indian man have when they say shit like
“ I don’t let my sisters or girlfriend wear shorts. I am just making sure other man don’t look at them that way”
“ If you want to maintain a decent image in this society, you need to know how to dress up. Don’t expect a man to treat you like a goddess if you dress up like a slut”
These are the same people who have an unhealthy obsession with porn and definitely don’t have a healthy mindset. They will jerk off to Mia Khalifa or Sunny Leone and condemn them at the same time. Hypocrites!
Let me make this very clear!
A WOMAN CAN WEAR WHAT SHE WANTS, AND SHE IS NOT ASKING FOR IT! PERIOD.
It’s 2020, and frankly, there are so many Indian women I know who do not wear shorts because someone told them that a good Indian girl won’t wear clothes like that. Sure, a Saree isn’t revealing at all.
For more info on this topic you can read up on this article written by The Guardian on how there is no excuse for assault despite how provocative one dresses up.
- A woman should not cuss
This is a very controversial statement. Personally, I believe that cursing is a personal choice and one should always be aware of their surroundings. My issue is that society is so okay with a man cursing publicly because it is justifiable that his anger is making him do that. However, if a woman were to do it, then it becomes a huge issue. She is deemed as disrespectful and would be looked down upon. The issue at hand is the double standards. I am not supporting the fact that it is okay for a man to use profanities, however, if a man can do that and not be judged by the society, then why can’t a woman do that?
You can also read this article by The Katmmandu Post on the underlying sexism in swearing and slurs.
- A woman should know her way around the house cause its her job
This boils my blood and I cannot believe this is still happening. A friend once told me that her boss asked her this during a Zoom call,
“ How is the cooking going on?”
When I shared this with a couple of people, they could not find the problem with that question. Hence why, casual sexism is so dangerous. Her boss did not ask that same question to the males who were on that call, and why is that so? Is it because it is a woman’s job to cook and clean up after her family?
Allow me to share what happened to me recently. I had a couple of friends over at my place and one of my guy friends was washing the dishes in the sink. At this point, he is no longer a guest and is more like a long lost sibling. My father was rather upset to see him washing the dishes and felt that it was inappropriate. However, I have had so many female friends who have cleaned up before and he had no issues with that. I was so disappointed to see it happening in my own home. For those of you who are wondering what I did, I obviously called my dad out. I explained to him how traditional gender roles are dying. Remember, it is important to call out sexism when you see it or else the person would not know. This deep-rooted conditioning seeps it’s way so subtly in our day to day lives and if we do not think out of the box, we succumb to the conditioning.
Stay tuned for the upcoming article as I continue to list down other ways our Indian women are conditioned in our society. Please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org for your feedback and comments. Alternatively, you can also leave a comment on our comment section below.
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