|This piece involved the indian cultural development and history of indian feminism.|
Being able to define feminism does not mean excluding other races and not acknowledging intersectionality. This talks about indian feminism and the connection betweeen two cultures.
Having two culture try to find a balance between tradition and modernity challenges many things; one’s whole understanding of growing up, society’s urge for conformity, job-hunting and different perspectives on it- the list goes on. Personally, I am a mixed race- my mom being Indian and my dad being Bengali. So, trying to find a balance with both cultures AND the American culture was definitely and still is hard to do and please. Like many Indians, I also was brought up in Flushing, Queens where Madhulika S. Khandelwal who discussed in her “Defining Community and Feminism: Indian Women in New York City” (1997) bases her research and paper on. This article highlights the struggle and backstory of many immigrant families who started coming to the United States for a better life. Being a feminism in the 70’s was hard as many feminists undermined an Indian Women’s oppression and feelings (Khandelwal, 1997). This showed that for women back then, there was still some internalized racism and that was not acceptable for immigrant Indian women- to stand for another race and their issue, being the same gender, but not be able to speak and represent one’s own race (Khandelwal, 1997). It was tough for many families-leaving a decent life behind to get a better life. But it was harder than that. In this article, Khandelwal (1997) talks in depth how many struggled to find a job-educated and uneducated and a lot of women had to find a job-leaving their tradition of being a housewife- and join the workforce to be able to pay rent. Many were sponsored here by a previous relative through green card (Khandelwal, 1997).
This is super relevant to me because my grandma was sponsored here, alone, and she sponsored my aunt and uncle and my mom here to the united states when they were all barely teenagers. I understand how hard the jobs were the way my mom has told me events and stories about my grandpa working 3 jobs and my mom getting her first job while all three lived in a studio, all three were attending high school and college and my grandma was a teacher. It was hard for them in the 80’s/90’s growing up in a different social environment but it made some more appreciated and some more exhausted.
Everyone is a hussler, honestly. I choose this piece because I did grow up in the neighborhood where old women were cashiers at the Indian supermarkets, or when I needed something fixed, someone would sew it up for me in the Indian clothing shops-which seemed to now be for holidays and marriages, not everyday clothing wear like back home- which brings in being modern. Currently, I am a college student who is an Indian and has trouble telling others my issues since it’s usually not as relevant as other females from different minorities who feel more empowered about their injustice, it’s like my problems are minor compared to others.
And yet, the cultural aspect never died, but in some places, it does not exist. That non-existence is the reason it’s related to another fantastic work, The Bridge. Both in the Bridge and this piece of writing enlighten us about minority women and their everyday struggles and backstories that involve distinct overview of being in a mixed society where cultures clash and having many unnoticed and silent oppressions-all while trying to not lose one’s identity. This connection exists because it still has not died out- it is not extinct- which is a problem. There are still so many women of many backgrounds that are struggling and trying to stand up for one’s culture but not getting any light because there is, still sadly, internalized racism.
How is one supposed to be modern, be well cultured in one’s family, traditions, religion, be educated to compete with others for jobs or positions, be able to speak one’s mind when there is an injustice when people of the same gender are pulling ranks above one another for the SAME reason? Everyone has a backstory, the way they were brought up, the way their parents made a living and how it translated into their own childhood, and even present day, Indian immigrant women are still being able to get higher education to have a say, being able to call people out and take a stand for themselves-we’re learned that it is not a male dominated society if one income is not enough to survive in this world (and other factors)- so instead of just chilling at home, we, females of all, learned to master both being modern and being traditional and true to one’s self.
What I’m trying to say is that no one is more or less equal than anyone.
And still with that being said, there’s issues with understanding it.
(The video of Unboxing White Feminism)
Khandelawal, M., S. (1997). Defining community and feminism: Indian women in new york city. Race, Gender & Class, 4, (3), 95-111.