By Amrita Lit
Many Indo-Canadian females would agree that we were not only taught to fear the men in our life but also be subservient to them. I remember noticing that no matter how strong-willed and forward thinking my mother was, she still took care of and metaphorically “bowed down” to one person, my father. No matter what, meals would be served to his liking right infront of him. It would be perfectly placed with his perfectly round roti next to his favourite side of green chillies and sliced onions – with each and every meal.
I saw it in all my extended family members homes too. Both the man and woman could come home exhausted from work – but the man parked himself infront of the television while the woman worked tiredlessly to wait on him hand and foot for the remainder of the evening.
Sure this is commonplace in most households but what differentiates the Indian culture from others is that we aren’t vouching for female empowerment and independence like the rest of the world is. We are still raising our little girls with the ideal of being a man’s perfect little daughter, sister, or wife in order to make their lives easier. The home revolves around the head of the household at all costs.
It became apparent to me how so very backwards our culture still is when I first got married. My education – what gave me my identity, suddenly wasn’t relevant anymore.
My bachelor’s degree from which I graduated with honors didn’t matter. My ability to type out a 20 page essay in less than an hour didn’t matter either. What mattered was how well I fulfilled the role of wife and daughter-in-law. I am sure this experience has been seen in many other households as well.
So why the codependence and subserviency? Why must we not believe in ourselves to be all we need. To be put first. To be all that we can be and have a fulfilled and happy life. No, the goal is to be married by your mid-twenties, and completely devoted to caring for the men in your life while still doing your equal share in contributing to the household.
Seems a bit behind the times, does it not?
Perhaps it’s time we too teach our girls that they can DO anything, BE anything, and IF they choose to be married it’ll be to someone who values their intelligence and independence and stays beside them, not in front.
Let’s stop raising followers and create some solid leaders to be the new heads of the household, because let’s face it – us women do all the work anyway, why not let us be the ones in charge once in a while?