By Mishayl Naek
Social media may have just discovered the namkeen twirling triple threat of Priyanka Chopra, but women in the subcontinent have been blowing minds and barriers for decades. Our home-grown high melanin count women have been slaying the gora competition in every arena, whether its style, fashion, politics and just plain attitude. Check out how desi women just power through it all while maintaining the perfect blow dry:
- Life is Battlefield: Raise your hand if you think the “can women can have it all” debate is more out of fashion than your tights. Your regular Beyonce level schedule includes Yoga bootcamp, free babysitting for your 101 nieces and nephews, attending Astrophysics tuitions, humanitarian work with the NGO your BFF started and learning how to cook like a Masterchef. This is before you even turn 20. After college you’re just expected to run a Fortune 500 Company, look like a supermodel and never miss school pickup and drop off. South Asian women invented ‘Having it All’ and got a chapair if we whined about it.
- EVERYBody is a Wonderland: In Hollywood the glam sphere seems to belong to celebs and uber rich It-Girls. In the sub-continent you are just born fabulous and continue to improve every decade. We literally enter the world with the perfect blowout, have geek chic awkward years and peak in our 40s. Somewhere after 35, post multiple babies and business start-ups, we start going Benjamin Button (with a little help from Dr. Murad), and look like the high school prom queen next to our age appropriate foreign counterparts.
- The Great Matriarch: All power to Hilary and her first woman as US President campaign, but here in the subcontinent, a woman in serious power isn’t a new concept. It’s easy to forget our accomplishments under the media blanket of Islamic subordination, but we have incredible female powerhouses, especially in the political sphere like Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan, Indira Gandhi in India and Sheikh Hasina in Bangladesh. The Matriarch is central to every household so every child grows up with their Nani/Dadi ruling the roost with an iron fist while force-feeding you parathas. So the patriarchy knows if you really need to take care of things, you better call in a woman. You may have to sweat the small stuff, like sneaking and smoking, but if you actually want to #runtheworld, you have an army of aunties supporting you.
- Sisterhood of the Travelling Shalwar: Yes we will bitch about how you didn’t invite us to your pre-party, but if anyone else steps on you we will annihilate them. Taylor Swift may have discovered #squadgoals now, but we’ve known them from birth. We will take down the man that glances you inappropriately at a mehdni, completely destroy the girl who attempts to cut you out and always defend your reputation to every aunty in town. We will attend every birthday, dinner, dance practice, wedding function, baby shower, play date, girl trip, kids wedding, Silver anniversary till we finally buy burial plots next to each other because here it’s #friendslikefamily.
- Wills of Steel: Ladies you haven’t faced anything until you’ve had a silent battle of the wills to wear sleeveless with your Ammi and living under the constant surveillance of desi aunties would break even Kim Kardashian. Nothing gets you ready for breaking glass ceilings or preconceived notions than being a single, young woman in South Asia. We may play the geisha at tea time, but are stone cold warriors underneath.