Tag: culture

Bitter Truth

Bitter Truth

By: Anonymous In this world, there are many counties where gender discrimination still exists. It is also one of the major issues in this world[1]. Due to this, women have been facing much violence. Studies showed that globally approximately 35% of women report they were […]

Who Gets to Define Tamil Culture?

Who Gets to Define Tamil Culture?

By: Pallavi S. If you’d asked me that question a few years ago I wouldn’t have known how to answer. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot since the controversy with the Jodi magazine cover. I’ve been thinking about it a lot for what […]

That’s Not My Name

That’s Not My Name

By: Majureka R

BIO: Majureka R is a first generation Tamil Sri Lankan Canadian who has lived in Toronto her whole life. She is currently obtaining her Social Service Worker – Immigrant and Refugee diploma. She hopes to learn more about the Tamil Sri Lankan women diaspora within Canada. During her spare time, she enjoys reading, drawing, watching movies and sharing memes with her friends. 

 

During my adolescent years I never realized the importance of a name. I just saw names as something that followed us around to distinguish ourselves from a crowd. Everytime I told a person my name, they always repeated themselves while struggling to grasp the certain syllables and articulate the letters. I instantly continue with a reply of “I know, it’s hard to say I’m sorry about that”. I was always seen apologizing for their mistakes, which is absurd. I didn’t notice that every time an interaction like this happened that I had a moment of my confidence being lowered. There were many times when I questioned why I was given this name. I would wonder why couldn’t I have been given a much simpler name, a name that rolls off the tongue.

 

There have been many horrible experiences of how my name is butchered of its cultural significance. But one instance that comes to mind was when I was starting university and I told myself that I was going introduce myself with the actual pronunciation rather than catering to everyone’s lack of effort. I was taking a politics course and my T.A (a white man mastering in Philosophy) was doing the attendance and reached my name and looked up to see only 3 brown students that were sitting in the classroom. I spoke up and told him how to say it. I thought that this guy may actually be able to say my name because of the many other philosopher names that are not Americanized in their pronunciation that he would have learned about like Rene Descartés, Epicurus or Friedrich Nietzsche. However, I was wrong, we went back and forth with me pronouncing and him trying to say it. Eventually he was slightly annoyed and let out a sigh and said, “isn’t there an easier way to say it? Like can I just shorten it to the first 3 letters?”. I was so taken back but looked directly at him and sternly told him “No, that’s not my name”. He awkwardly tried again and moved on to the next student.

 

I realized after this incident that this is basically how it plays out for many people. Men, women and children immigrating or fleeing their home countries to a western country and are forced to play in the hands of power by shortening or changing their true names to fit in to this new world. My parents left Illankai (Sri Lanka), a place where their family, culture, and ancestral surroundings exist to come to the Western world and start a new life with better opportunities. Thus I was born and they gave me a Tamil name that holds so much power, beauty and life that can’t be found in Canada, but here I was complaining how I wished to be named Allison. I realized how much of my identity truly lies within my name and I’ve accepted that and just learned the art of navigating my name through specific groups/individuals. My name is not something to be abbreviated as a little nickname like you’re calling for a pet. My name is a reflection of myself, my culture, my history, my ancestry and my overall well-being.

 

 

 

 

My Life, My Future

My Life, My Future

By: Divya S Do you want to get married? Do you want to marry someone of your choosing or do you want an arranged marriage? Do you know what your future will look  like? Do you know what career you will have? Do you know […]

I Don’t Know How to Date

I Don’t Know How to Date

By: Reenita V This month can be filled with hearts, balloons, romantic gestures, and other things that make your heart pitter patter or gag. Nonetheless , a new year and month of Hallmark romance upon us, it seems almost a guarantee that at some point […]

Let’s be Friends?

Let’s be Friends?

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”.