Why do Indian families like to hide their daughter’s ‘problems?’ When I was diagnosed with gall bladder stones recently, I decided to get my gall bladder removed. My parents were very supportive throughout the surgery and in fact during the recovery period too. It was all fine till the time we told our rest of the family about my operation. They were aghast that this was being spoken about in ‘public’.
Here the public was my own family. The kind of reaction I got shocked me and made me think extensively, about how far have we come when it comes to conversations around women’s health. We often prioritise, ‘hiding’ women’s problems instead of discussing it. And part of the problem lies in our expectations of who the ‘ideal women’ is. Turns out women are not supposed to have health issues and if they do, talking about them is not kosher.
My grandparents in particular were very sceptical about the news of me being operated reaching to anyone else. They made a huge issue out of it saying ‘it is a matter concerning the girl of our house no one should know about it’. This really hit where it hurts. Why was a health condition which is totally normal these days, being projected as some kind of incompetence? It’s just a surgery. So what if someone comes to know?
Why was my gender coming in the way of what aspect of my life could be talked about, and if or not one I could be open about health issues.
I realised a lot of this hush-hush and hiding has to do with potential marriage of a woman. Families don’t like to be in a position to have to share that their daughter has a ‘flaw’. That being a tiny surgery in this case for example.
Should a person in pain or suffering not share with the ones he/she finds comfort in. Why is that girls are expected to just erase any memory, life incident or physical problem on some vague ba
–sis that it makes her ‘less perfect’? One of the main reasons women have to face so many obstacles because of the unattainable standards that people have built for women to achieve.
A person responsible enough to make their own decisions, must have the right to do so. If a girl has something that concerns her, it should be up to her when it comes to talking about the issue. Besides there is no logical reason behind hiding anything, that too brushing it off with something silly like- it’s not good if this about our girl goes out of the family.
In reality we as a society need to be empathic towards anyone who is suffering and not make it a taboo. Else women will internalise health problems and hide them. It’s all in our minds, we are the ones who create situations like these, make women think that they are a secondary sex and thus to fill up the gap they need to qualify as the most unblemished person ever. But now is the time to change this, with women fighting over and winning every right that they deserve it’s about time that we talk about what “we are not supposed to talk about”.
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