Originally published: 02.01.15
|Artist : Polly-is-a-good-girl (Paulina)Source :DeviantArt|
India is obsessed with the idea of a traditional girl. Good-natured , sweet , respectful , modest , shy , obedient ( parents and then husband and in-laws ) *insert adjectives here*.
Just like every other girl , I too was raised amidst these societal norms. While we are young we are taught to be polite , respectfully dressed , sit closed legged and not speak unless spoken to. Trained like show dogs. Now that I ponder on it , and even observe some of my female family members , this regime that was practised has successfully managed to narrow thought process and individuality. We cultivate good manners and obedience only to have minions. Girls who break away from this regime as by default are labelled as ‘loose’ and IF they have parents who support their expressiveness, it’s abysmal parenting,
I am one of those girls. Everyone who knew me in my college days , would remember I had taken my rebellion much further. I dyed my hair an unnatural shade of red , wore dark intense make up everyday and got pierced in as many places as I could. I was definitely not loved for this. Again , the judgements ran free and wild. It hurt my feelings too when a large contributing part of these judgements constituted of women too. I looked like a walking – talking negative influence even if I was void of any ‘habits’
Till date that has been my biggest social experiment , also the most important transitional point in my life.
Even though Indian youth is striving for an open minded society , what cannot be ignored is the hidden number of girls whose fate is pre-decided. They get moved around like chess pieces , unable to voice their dreams and aspirations due to the fear of being seen as disobedient or worse still – disowned. An ideal Indian girl. The perfect beti (daughter) . The sanskaari bahu ( daughter-in-law). The hear- all , do-all slave.
Criticism and bitter remarks come regardless. No one sees the good deeds or the intelligence in a promiscuous party girl. Had she worn a kurta and a bindi on her forehead , may be then. Which also is strange hypocrisy because at times, a traditionally dressed girl is confused to be old-school , reclusive, nerdy , boring. Either way , both cases are subjected to the incorrect norms of society.
So where did this concept of ‘Good Girl’ come from? and why are we subjected to these false standards and unwritten rules?
The ‘Good Girl’ is as fake as barbie.
Obscure and Unnecessary Drama : Mehreen Shaikh, an Indian writer born and raised in Oman. Although I do visit my country of origin annually, I did spend a few years there studying. Not just academics but our society. Narrowing down further, I observed the relationship it had with women. I was brimming with observations and outrage. It took me a good while to tame my angst and harness it into proper valid arguments. Now I blog, where I feel free to rant about issues that I notice that most people would dismiss as minor but I know how the woman in that instance would feel. So many thoughts and so many incidents take place in a woman’s world that by no means are simple or easy to resolve. As a young feminist activist I feel the need to expand and find sites such as yours that would hopefully give me a chance.