Recently, we stumbled over a Reddit thread where the user – shared her experience of being raised in an Indian conservative family. Her thread is just a reminder of how so many women are denied the liberty to live life on their own terms. It is heartbreaking how many families tend to control women with a set of regressive rules and often refer to their daughters as ‘family ki izzat‘.
And, one such woman took to Reddit to share her struggle.
Reddit user sodesigirl mentioned her struggle of being raised in a conservative Indian household. She opens up about the restrictions that many of us have to face – the must-to-do list so that we don’t mess up with family’s honor. While sharing her struggle she mentioned:
“I’m from a large conservative Hindu family. I was raised to be the perfect submissive daughter and I grudgingly still am. I had to do “girl” things only. Be more shy, be more religious, don’t be loud, don’t be a rebel, don’t go out in the sun or get dark, don’t go out at night, don’t wear that, don’t drink this, don’t question so much, don’t use your phone so much, and basically don’t do the things the boys in the family still get away with doing.
And god forbid you date. The restrictions are ridiculous but most of my friends face them too so it’s not just my backward family. I realized girls and boys are taught selected skills, and this whole thing falls under the pretense of “culture”. You’re basically supposed to be a beauty queen with all the skills of a housewife and also get a Masters/Doctorate on the side. Oh, after that degree, get married to the man your parents pick and forget about that so-called career (unless your husband’s family approves).
She further shares how parents who don’t allow you to talk to boys suddenly have no problem to let their daughter have sex with a strange man, who is her husband:
“In college, I got good grades. I also got attention from guys but I was terrified of it. When a guy asks me out, I would turn him down instantly (even if i was interested), just because I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. If I do step out of my comfort zone and go on a date, I feel really guilty. “Don’t do anything that will make your father ashamed. He won’t survive such dishonor” I’ve lost so many opportunities this way in the past few years. I’ve become the stuck up ice queen for most of these guys. I feel like an idiot, a spineless coward for not taking those chances. I have zero relationship experience and I’m 26! I blame my parents as much as I do myself and this stupid society we live in. I’ve reached that age where my family has started lined up guys for me to meet with. I know how this process goes, my sisters went through it too. At the end of the day, even if they say they are progressive, they (at least from my experience) still want a pretty virgin bride. I know everyone is not like this, maybe more so here on r/india but it seems like most Indians (both men and women) are this way. I see slut-shaming from women more than men these days too.”
Lastly, she shares how parents may not have hurt her intentionally but emotionally manipulated her till she gives in to their demands:
“A lot of you guys here complain that Indian girls don’t put out like western girls. Really. We weren’t raised the same way. We were raised all wrong. We never got the chance to get out of our parents’ shadows, be independent. Most Indian girls don’t ever live alone in their lives; they go straight from father’s house to their husband’s bedroom. (To fellow women here, I’m sorry for generalizing like this but god, I’m sick of the 3rd wave feminist movement in India that doesn’t do much more than repeated ‘why should boys have all the fun’ bs. Equality and independence is not only about having fun, it also come with all the ugly problems. A lot of the girls I know don’t even have fully developed personalities to start with. Everything revolves around parents, bf, hubby, social media, and anything with instant gratification. They know nothing about real-life issues because everyone’s trying to protect them. Trust me, I was one of these girls, we exist by the millions). I haven’t made any major decisions in my life 100% on my own. I haven’t taken any risks. Some of you might say “move out, be financially independent and fuck em.” Not easy. I’m not even living with them right now and I make money, but I’m kind of emotionally stunted, not prepared. I just can’t bring myself to betray their twisted ideals about my responsibilities. I’m realizing that no matter what I do, no matter how much I try to explain my actions, they won’t be happy unless I do exactly as I’m told. My parents would never ever hurt me intentionally. But they will emotionally manipulate me till I give in and the sad thing is that they won’t even know that they are doing it. They think they are protecting me and guiding me. How silly is that? And I know I’m not alone in this situation.”
It is heartbreaking how many Indian women would relate to this woman’s post of being controlled by their own family members. It is high time that our society let women decide for themselves what kind of life they want to live and let them make their own life decisions. Because in the end, it is her life!