Hey Middle east feminist. I just want to ask you about the way our parents force their career opinion on girls and say hey it was ur choice when it doesnt work out.Why do we end up feeling so guilty about our sexuality?I am a 23 year old girl from india who feels this stupid guilt whenever my male friends call me at home .Why do i feel that?Why??Its so weird as the guilt creeps in somehow.I dont know how to explain it.I am from an ultra orthodox community and my parents decide almost everthing
soy mil años de tierra que gira. Answer:
I know EXACTLY what you mean!!! My parents, my father and older brother rather, determined EVERYTHING about my life. And I do mean everything. They had the final say in relation to what I wore, where I went, who I was friends with, which girls I could be friends with- girls that had male friends or boy friends were deemed “sluts” and bad influences and I had to stay away from them. They determined what I studied, how many hours. I was not allowed to speak to boys, be friends with them, and all reflections of my femininity- hint, sexuality- was to be toned down, hidden and covered. Although my family was not religious and I did not have to wear the hijab, I still wore very loose clothing and big sweaters to hide all elements of my femininity.
I think that our cultures are so traditional, conservative and concerned with issues such as family status and honour and position that they inevitably replicate the cultural and social norms. Using shame, guilt and silencing is a VERY important part of this process. You have been taught from a very early age to know shame, to recognize guilt and to feel its intensity and its impact on your life. You have seen the consequences when guilt and shame has failed in a woman and she has gone her own way. You have been suppressed into becoming a woman your community, your family and your culture desires- but not the woman that you want to be; and finding that delicate balance is INCREDIBLY difficult. In fact, in my opinion you can’t do it. You must, inevitably, choose who it is that YOU want to be- which is incredibly terrifying if your home and family situation is deeply oppressive and violent.
If you do have some leniency in your home and family life then I would try to subvert these feelings of guilt slowly. For example, tell your mum you are going to the library but instead go to a coffee shop and have your favourite drink. Or tell you family you have to be home by 11 when your uni finishes at 10 and spend that hour doing whatever it is you want, go to the mall or go to a park or go hang with friends. Do it slowly and what makes you comfortable and in a way that does not put your life and safety at risk obviously. Start slow and pay attention to your feelings. Ask yourself why you are feeling guilty or bad, and sometimes you MUST push through these negative feelings. I am 30 years old and live on my own, unmarried. But STILL I hear my fathers voice telling me to get up early, go do this, don’t do this and to this day I am still trying to discard the backward and traditional values that they forced on me. Sometimes I find I limit myself and my capacity because unconsciously listening to my fathers demands in my head. It takes time to dislodge these learned voices. It takes time and practice to learn to hear your own voice and to listen to your own intuition; but the best way to stop feeling guilty is to repeat, repeat and repeat what makes you happy until it becomes second nature. Right now shame and guilt are your second nature; work so hard to get to know yourself within the boundaries of your life and restrictions that your love and respect for yourself surpasses all other feelings and becomes the dominant voice in your mind. It IS possible to achieve this and it is a huge commitment that may take a life time to work on; but I promise you that it will be so worth it.
Also, if you need help or support you are more than welcome to send me anonymous posts and we can talk about and find strategies that work for you <3
Much love anon. Stay strong. You are worth it and you deserve happiness without guilt or shame!