As a daughter of South Asian descent, I’ve grown up knowing the world around me is a very different space from the world around men. My duties and responsibilities at home, the image my family present of me to the outside world, and expectations of who I am and who I’ll go on to be would have all been entirely different if I was born a boy. From a young age, I’ve constantly been reminded of what I can and can’t wear, what I can and can’t say, how to act and in front of whom to act in that way. South Asian women are silenced by their families and the outside world, it seems as though nothing is changing because “What will people say?”
When I went to university, the first time I was entirely surrounded by people so far from my own culture. I learnt to display my feminism and activism outwardly, without shame, without the eye-rolling of ‘being a feminist’ within my own house. Except then, I wasn’t told I was being disrespectful to our culture, I was told that putting ‘feminist’ in my tinder bio was the biggest turn-off because for a swipe all that men want is to see, rather than hear anything I’d have to say. We change to appease men in the smallest ways, every single day.
Words by Meghna Amin