My life behind a purdah

7f5fasia society logo wide My life behind a purdah

My first sense as a young girl of sexual menace came from my Indian grandfather. Let me be clear: He never even remotely sexually threatened or molested me. But he made sure I knew that the world in which I, a girl, was growing up was innately perilous to women.Screaming reproaches at my dress or my uppity talk, he made it clear that the only way to protect myself from the ever-present danger of men was by conducting and dressing myself with impeccable modesty, by making myself as invisible as possible. He also made me understand that, in the way of a wolf pup, my survival in the world of the alpha male depended on avoiding eye contact or any other sign of a pretense to equal status.My grandfather was a conservative patriarch who ruled over a household overflowing with women and children: My grandmother, my two then unmarried aunts, my uncle’s wife and their three children. Every one of these individuals literally jumped at his command, fearful of his quick and unpredictable temper. The fear he wanted me to feel — the best way he knew to protect my vulnerable young female self — was confused in my mind with the fear I felt of him, his temper, and his unchallengeable authority.Continue Reading…

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My life behind a purdah


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