No one could say that the modern Indian woman has an easy life. Caught between the supposed wave of independence and equality that characterises every feminist concept, and parampara or ‘tradition’, it’s a wonder how one even finds her own identity.
On r/India, this very crisis has finally been put to words by a Redditor, sodesigirl. And we feel it’s something every girl who’s ever struggled with who she is in the context of what ‘Indian tradition’ expects her to be, should read.
The self-proclaimed traditional girl from a large conservative family spells out the expectations her family and society in general have set up for her – the ones she, in her role as the ‘perfect daughter’ has begrudgingly submitted to all her life.
And she doesn’t hold back. More likely than not, some or all of these expectations will hit home for most young Indian women.
It’s not just one girl, it’s generation after generation of women who’ve been brought up in a culture of a twisted notion of modesty that is ingrained into our psyches.
And these notions of the perfect Indian daughter pretty much dictate the direction our lives take, whether we realise it or not.
And guess what fuels this web of shame? An intangible idea of honour and a societal threat to it that neither us, nor our parents, nor their parents have ever questioned.
She too is at ‘that stage’ in life when her parents have set out to look for a ‘suitable match’ for her to enter the complex mess that is matrimony with.
Sodesigirl‘s post reflects the fear of every girl that has been brought up with a twisted notion of modesty and learned to equate interaction with the opposite sex with dishonour and sin.
In her heartfelt post, she illuminates just how worthless the ideals of third-wave feminism are to a girl who’s never had any real experience with independence.
What could equality mean to a girl that has been cripplingly conditioned throughout her life to remain in her husband’s shadow after having spent her entire childhood under the wings of her well-meaning, yet catastrophically restrictive parents?
The repercussions of such conditioning ripple through every aspect of an individual’s life, regardless of whether one questions it. We’re talking about systematic programming that surpasses all education and ‘forward’ thinking.
The root of this evil lies with the invisible mould of the ‘traditional Indian woman’ that every girl must fit, that has been passed down from parent to parent.
She finishes by saying “I know I’m not alone in this situation.” And that is the biggest truth of them all. This could well be your story or that of a friend.
And while it may be generations before we begin to see this ‘tradition’ of ours claim more and more identities, in her post, this woman displayed laudable courage and critical awareness.
And isn’t that where change begins?