Being Indian comes along with lots of ideologies and commitments. Especially in comparison to the western world I live in, a lot of them are challenged, whereas a lot of them are still maintained and taught.
For example, I grew up with many known ‘facts’ that were part of my culture. Such as:
- Always respect your elders. Also, elders have the last say.
- No talking to boys (lmao)
- No wearing makeup.
- Dressing a certain way. (less risque, more covered.)
- Work work work! The aim of getting a job.
I’m sure there are so many more, but these are the few that always stuck with me and the one’s which actively made my brain think for a sec. I guess my question is, are these ideologies still relevant?
A lot of these ideologies were brought over when our family moved over from India. There was a maintenance of keeping culture close, despite the changing western world around them. English women were told to embrace their femininity, dress how they want and wear all the new fashion items and makeup – finally for once, less for the men and more for themselves. However, from an Indian women’s perspective, they were told the latter – respect yourself! Dress sensibly, stay natural and be a role model.
Both of these thoughts have good and bad sides to them which are trying to be taught. Growing up as a third gen Indian girl, I too had the conflicting sides. My friends were being allowed to show off their femininity and makeup was especially a big thing for me growing up. Once, I was in secondary school and my friend came over. We were in year 8 and her mother let her wear a small amount of makeup. I wanted to try, so she let me try on her mascara. It was cool and the first time I applied makeup onto myself. When my mom came through the door, she went absolutely bonkers. She grabbed a makeup wipe and started rubbing at my eyes, hugely upsetting me in front of my new friend.
But, why? Why was this so frowned upon? What were the connotations that my mum had over makeup at the time? After a while, I let her get over it. I now knew that I wasn’t able to wear makeup, until I turned 16. Then, I asked my older sister if she’d teach me how to apply it for prom. I went from wearing no makeup at all, to a whole full face. My mum wasn’t particularly comfortable with it, but as I approached college, my eyeliner phase began.
A big thing that was prominent in the ideologies is that, we’re not allowed to introduce our boyfriends unless we know they are the one. But how the heck would I know that! 3 months into my first relationship, I hated lying to my mom and I had to spill everything to her. From two very old siblings, I, the youngest, was the first kid to open up to our mom about being in a relationship.
Why? Why was this a thing? Is it family pride or is it the aftermath of families that weren’t comfortable about talking about these things?
Because, the truth is, I’m western. No matter how many Indian ideologies are drilled into my head, I am western. I respect my culture and I do everything that I can to stick to it, but the system is so outdated. In my opinion, the most important part of being in a family is that these are the people you love unconditionally. Friends, lovers, come and go, but family will always be the same. I want to be in a family unit where I can open up about my issues and problems and I’m so glad, that particularly my mother, has become way more western and open, so now I actually can talk to her about anything I need.
Culture shouldn’t be maintained, it should develop, as the world develops around us.
Why do you think that these ideologies are placed how they are, and do you see it as a big issue?