Someone posted something on that endless source of schadenfreude, r/AITA (Am I the Asshole?), that made the rounds yesterday. Most of the responses I saw to the situation rubbed me entirely the wrong way. I immediately saw the situation as one arising from arranged marriage culture, likely Desi, and few to no responses seemed to take that into consideration.
I know, big surprise. Reddit, known for harboring mostly white people and coddling the worst of white men, doesn’t understand Desi arranged marriage culture. At the same time, the responses I saw on Twitter and Facebook were no better, even those from non-Desis who claimed to understand arranged marriages.
It turns out that I 100% called it. The AITA OP revealed herself to be Indian several updates in. If you’re not from an Indian or similar culture, you’re probably missing a great deal of context and understanding, and therefore misinterpreting a great deal about the post. I don’t care how many Desis you claim to know and love.
While this is just one post on the Internet, the way people interpreted it reveals a lot about the difference in mindset between typical Western dating/love marriage culture and Desi arranged marriage culture. While I wouldn’t say OP is some kind of angel, she’s not exactly the mustache-twirling villain Reddit and others decided she is.
Continue reading “Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think”
Content Notices: discussion of coerced marriages and child marriages; mild fatphobia in paragraph eight
While arranged marriages tend to either be wholly defended or reviled by those outside of cultures that currently engage in it, the way in which it is practiced varies quite bit. Arranged marriages don’t all work one way or follow one script. This ought to be unsurprising for a practice that ranges through many time periods, cultures, religions, sensibilities, and geographic regions.
A variety in terms of what arranged marriages can look like as well as their differing outcomes can be found within a just single person’s perspective and experience: mine. My family has been part of the Subcontinental Diaspora for multiple generations now, so I have relatives on every continent except for South America (and Antarctica, if you count that as a continent). Combine that with how the generation preceding mine consists of large families where the first child was born when the parents are teens and the last was born right before Mom hit menopause, and you get a family where, within just three generations, marriage practices vary greatly. Continue reading “Perspectives on Marriage, Re: The Arranged Kind”
Once they know about my religious and family background, people generally want to know how my family relationships are now. They’re not so bad these days, thank you. After 8 years, even such a dramatic revelation as apostasy loses its ability to shock and agitate. Filial love can, in some situations, overcome anger and pain.
More difficult to overcome than my family members’s distaste for apostasy are their feelings about bodies.
Continue reading “The Double Lives of Brown Girls’ Closets”
Note: Mehndi is another term for henna. I use the words interchangeably here.
“i love indian food!”
THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU SAID IN 4TH GRADE WHEN YOU MADE FUN OF ME FOR BRINGING DAL CHAWAL FOR LUNCH
Who was the first person to climb Mount Everest? No Googling — what’s the name that comes to mind? Hold onto your answer for later. For now, let’s move from mountains to music. My love/hate relationship with Madonna can adequately explain exactly how and why I came to feel the way I feel about cultural appropriation.
Continue reading “Madonna, Mount Everest, & Mehndi: On Cultural Appropriation”
My ancestors hardly took a straight and narrow path ending with an arrival to America.
Continue reading “Why I Don’t Go Back to Where I Came From”