Friday, March 17, 2006

The subcons views

Keefieboy stated in a comment on my previous post.
He said:
"And I know that sub-continentals view and deal with these kinds of incidents very differently than do westerners."

I am not challenging what he has said, because he is right one hundred percent.
But I feel I should clarify it a bit from my understanding of the statement as I have interpreted it, and not necessarily as he may have said it.

It is not that we as subcons love or care for our children any less.
It is simply because we are taught from a very early age about a woman and her modesty being the most valuable of her assets.
I know times are changing, and we our absorbing a tremendous amount of western culture and todays parents will still allow their daughters a lot more leeway then shall we say our mothers allowed us.
I will not comment on the illiterate, ignorant variety of our subcons because frankly speaking they are an embarrasment to us as well.
I will give my family as an example which is considered by DESI standards one of the MODERN families.

My grandfather was a lawyer, and as such his priority back then was always education be it male or female child. The women in my family are all highly educated and also working mothers.
This is my mothers generation. Even back then they were allowed to see movies,go out/drive etc. they are all convent educated and have attended chaperoned dances. All said and done.
My grandfather was so modern in his thought that he allowed his 3 daughters to choose their own life partners.

Now we move forward 50 years or so to my generation.
I know MTV and other western influences have all infilterated into our lives, and we cannot lock up our daughters in some Ivory tower untill the time we find them their husbands.
The clothes that the young girls wear, the makeup, the music the language they speak, is all very diiferent. there are many families who allow their daughters to date, to wear skimpy clothing, to stay out all night and not ask where they have been.
But just because we choose to send our children to a good school(ENGLISH) to provide them with a good education(ENGLISH) that does not mean that to KEEP UP WITH JONES'S we need to forget what is essentially also our heritage, background, values, or culture.
We do not need to wrap her from head to foot to keep her decently dressed. A saree was always looked upon as a revealing and sensual garment. But there are women who wear sarees and do not display their flesh.
How often I have been to the SOUTH INDIAN hangouts (LULU, KM Trading, Sunrise Supermarket) and seen these corpulent women wearing such tiny blouses that their fat is pouring out of their blouses.
Its not a pretty sight you will agree. What is the need to display such unsightly flesh? A blouse doesnt have to be till your chin nor to your wrists to be at least decent.
Having said that, thongs,push up bras, skintight jeans, jeans cut so low that they leave nothing to the imagination, blouses with spaghetti straps, cleavage and I really dont need to go on about the FASHIONABLE clothing available in every single shop.
All of them are endorsing nothing but skin display. Obviously if they did not sell, the shops would not need to be re stocking. therefore they are being bought and they are being worn.
But tell me honestly do you really as a person find these clothes suitable?
From my point of view, I have nothing against my daughter wearing western clothes and as she grows tomorrow into being a yong woman will not restrict her to mainly shalwar/kameez or insist on hijaab/abaya/burkha.
But yes, I will expect that she dress decently. So that her father does not have to avert his eyes in shame when she enters the room. If a man has no shame in his eyes how can he learn to respect another WOMAN who is not his mother/wife/sister or daughter?

I do not think my thinking is old fashioned and I am sure there are many other mothers who do think like me. likewise they are many mothers who will call me old fashioned and think I am a prude.
My daughter's best friend bought her a halter neck as a present. She said to me, "Mama, I know BABA doesnt like these clothes but can I just try it out to see how it looks, when Baba goes to office".
I do not want to sound dominating and opressing. But she is 10 years old and she understands that her Dad will get upset. I let her try it out but after a while she herself tired of it, decided it wasn't such a big deal and she changed her clothes.

Now as a subcon coming from such a MODERN background, my husband comes from a more conservative background. But even he realises that he has to give her a certain amount of freedom.
So coming back to the point of us viewing things differently , yes there are some of us who seem to believe that certain clothes, certain lifestyles, are not acceptable.


This is the subcons view. We do not love our children-female children any less, we also respect their modesty and honour. Some of us till believe in virginity, and try if we can to defuse a situation rather than it take a head and that includes many arguments with a spouse where we choose to keep quiet, not because we are weak, or scared, but because we begin to comprehend that theres no point speaking a language that the other does not understand.
Instead we will wait for the time when we have done our groundwork, laid our foundation over the years and then in a very subtle way take our stand and get our way.This I have learned over the years is a far more effective strategy (as practised by our mothers/grandmothers) than our more aggressive IN YOUR FACE attitude.
Life really is not as perfect, orderly, correct nor a DOSTOEVSKY novel where the good will win over evil in the end. Life has some nasty truths which in case your are not frickking PARIS HILTON, then you have repercussions to follow through.

What does this have to do with a child molester? It is an explanation of eastern vs western views.I am not saying Sam's mom has done the right thing but on having reflected on where she is coming from and her position, I can begin to understand her immediate need to defend her daughter's name. I can understand her fear that she can be squashed if she stands up to the BIG GUYS, that her husband can lose his job and as a result the whole family can be destroyed. I can understand her fears though I am angry with her response.
From this whole thing I have learned a very valuable lesson. God forbid I be put in her shoes, as I know I will kill the man and go to jail before I think things out rationally. But thats just me.
There is a very famous Cherokee saying: DO NOT JUDGE A MAN TILL YOU HAVE WALKED A MILE IN HIS MOCCASINS.




13 comments:

  1. Kaya I have read your post. I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said (despite being a western woman)and I have had to rethink a lot of things that have somehow drifted into my life.
    But surely apparel alone cannot contribute to unwanted solicitation?

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  2. I have to say something here. If you are old enough to handle yourself, you have the liberty to wear what you want, I mean who am I to comment on why you get weird looks because you dress the way you do.
    Apparel can be PROFFESIONAL(ie in the workplace)
    Attractive and stylish (for anytime wear)
    SEDUCTIVE and therefore best left to ones dinner parties, ones home, bedroom.
    One doesnt really need to display that much cleavage (in either set of cheeks) in public does one?
    I'm thinking of mostly the younger ones, trying so hard to be grown up and hip.
    They attract unwanted attention which initially may be flattering but have no idea of how to deal with it when it gets a little rough. It is then too late to BLEAT.

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  3. Amaaaazing post kaya,truely amazing!

    I agree with u totally. Sometimes when you want to wear some clothing which you know looks smashing on you and is rather revealing, there is a way of carrying oneself which makes all the difference.

    Tip on the halterneck: ask ur cute lil one to wear a plain t-shirt ( a color that compliments the halter neck) inside the halterneck. fashionable n secure ;o)

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  4. Frankly speaking, I think ur a lil over protected abut ur daughter, I'm no1 to give advice on parenting, but, your daughter needs to learn how to take care of herself, shes 10, now more likely to understand the harm that lies around her, talk to her and give her instructions on what to do when she senses danger. make her more outgoing, dont turn her into a sissy.

    I talk out of experiance, been through it - molestation ( a lil more than that infact), men following me, attacking me when alone with me in a lift, following me in my building staircase and flashing their willy at me (a common incident i share with many friends), a lot of attempts in crowds, etc.

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  5. Kaya - reading your post now makes me realise where my mother got her strict rules of dress code from.

    As she also was convent-educated in India, I'm thinking that our mothers may have attended the same school!

    She would have a fit at me if I went out of the house without a petticoat under my skirt! lol

    Still - it hasn't done me any damage longterm, and I feel that I'm a better person for having my parents take interest in me and care enough about me. (I don't wear petticoats anymore!)

    Continue to be who you are with your daughter, and she'll be better for it. She can make her own choices when she's old enough to do so, and she'll be guided by your values.

    As Harshs says, as your daughter gets older, it also pays to educate her to be worldly-wise and aware of her surroundings. I think that one of the biggest lessons that I learned was that if something happened to me that I didn't like, my parents taught and encouraged me to talk to them about it.

    As for the situation with Sam and her mother. Sure, some actions are based on culture and your upbringing. But some decisions are based on other things that have nothing to do with these, such as the loss of her husband's job.

    The biggest culprit is FUD - fear, uncertainty, doubt. These feelings transcend all cultures, races and heritage to be felt in all animals (including humans).

    As you say, it's impossible to feel what Sam's mum is feeling or to judge her for her actions (or lack of them), but if it was my daughter, I think that my response would be similar to yours.

    My only hope is that as Sam grows older, that she is not negatively influenced by this for the rest of her life. One of her biggest setbacks would be to wonder why her parents didn't do more for her in this situation, that they don't love her, and why the man was allowed to get away with what he did.

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  6. @ Harsha

    Yes I realise what you are saying, but then when you have children you will realise that each one though born of the same biological parents will eat/grow/ and have totally different personalities so much so as when they are in utero.
    My younger one is a DONT GIVE A DAMN GUNG HO KICK ASS type and I do not worry so much about her.
    My older one is more of the bookish,dreamer, type.
    She will (I kid you not)walk out of the house wearing her slippers and in more than one case put her uniform over her pyjamas and gone off to school.
    She is very intelligent(top in her class) but amazingly naive.
    We have a system in my home whereby I have always maintained that she can come to me with anything and so far she and I manage to talk about anything and everything that may arise in her mind.
    But there are things that she cannot cope with physically/emotionally as she has not reached that level of understanding.
    She is 10, and I know I lost my childhood very very early and grew up too soon. So if she wants to believe in fairies and unicorns a little longer its fine as long as she understands the BOGEY MAN is also there and he is real.

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  7. LOL @ nzm and the petticoats!
    Yes I remember those!!!But in my case they were thick cotton chemises!
    I know what you and Harsha are saying, and I agree but 10 is a very very tender age and from now till the next couple of years I have to be very very careful as she enters puberty and undergoes so many confusing changes to her body. Mind it I only have a couple of years after that I will by default become the SWORN ENEMY for another 5 years!!!!!
    Fess up! Who didnt think their mom was nasty from early teens to late teens?
    Who didnt have moments of I AM ADOPTED in this family dialogues?

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  8. My dad died when i was 4, and my mom brought us (my brother and I) singlehandedly, and I can tell you it isnt easy being a child in a single parent home. In the early years I worked and she was shunted around babysitters. I am grateful that today my husband earns enough to support us all in a good life. For this very reason I have quit my career (and I was excellent in my job)to be a fulltime mum so when they come home from school they get a mom to open the door and not a housemaid or an empty home.

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  9. You are just jealous you cant get your fat ass and lousy bod in hot clothes

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  10. LMtr-"FAT"-AO
    That right Darling.
    Which is why I got a college degree over SILICON IMPLANTS!
    So next time a man is talking to me he is looking into my eyes and not my BOOBS!
    But I guess you wouldnt know what I am talking about would you?

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  11. Go Kaya Go Kaya, Chak Deeee!

    ahh the famous chemise.. that needs a post of its own, haina?

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  12. Kaya, one of the first times I was reading your blog. Let me just compliment you on your values.

    As a male, let me just say that perhaps your daughter is best served by parents who do care about whether or not shes out at all hours with boys, or wears skimpy clothing, or sleeps around. Things are a lot of fun in your teens, but I know numerous girls now in their 20s who cant find *good* guys to marry them. Anyone can find your garden variety average gent, but the highly educated, attractive, caring, etc etc gent is surprisingly rare compared to attractive, intelligent, caring females. Sometimes luck kicks in, but often the girl who has the best reputation may luck out and get the best male. It seems you know this, and I hope your children do you proud.

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