By: Reya D
Have you ever been guilty of being a bad friend? Generally speaking, I have gotten into this predicament when I have put career and academic goals, my partner and immediate family before my friendship with my girls.
I wanted to use this post to talk about building and maintaining healthy friendships, especially our relationships with the important women in our lives. Time and time again, (even when I have been a bad friend) it has been my friends pulled me up when I have hit rock bottom. My girlfriends have been the ones I turn to when making a big decision in life, and more importantly, it is my friends that have kept me true to myself. I believe that healthy friendships are important to young South Asian women’s growth, both professionally and personally. Good friends are hard to find, and like a compass, they are our true north. , true good friends call us out and set us straight when we need it most. Good friendships are an integral part to building better selves.
I think one of the best reasons to build healthy girl friendships is because as women with strong healthy relationships we build each other’s self esteem and overall confidence. This is something that our South Asian society definitely needs more of. Growing up in my Indo-Caribbean community, women are consistently pitted against each other based on our intelligence, body image and marriageability. It is particular to the South Asian diasporic community when women are pressured at a certain age (20-25 years old “ideally”) to have a great education, a career, to be married, and start a family. Sometimes it feels like women are made to with one another in the race to who gets married first , or how wealthy you and your partner are and the amount of education you have earned. However, the competition between young women does not subside when women get married, it continues onto when they have children, how many they have, how big their house is, their bodies after having children, etc. The troubling issue with the societal set-up of competition among South Asian communities on young South Asian women is that this competition of body image, wealth and marrigeability overshadows women’s successes as individuals encompassing of their successes in education, work, personal growth and so on.
So, how do we, as the next generation of young South Asian women combat these societal pressures? I believe it starts with having a steady healthy girl group is ideal, partially because you can always say: “Ma, so-and-so is not getting married, she’s successful, I am happy with where I am, I will get to that when I am ready…” and end the discussion for the day. Though, unfortunately the cycle continues the next. There is a need for young South Asian women to stop competing and start building each other up, our friends are the reprieve from this parental and societal pressure to be “that ideal girl”.