Sarah Shaan – Reclaiming the space of oppression into a space of empowerment
Which student are you?
Name of School
Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi
Grade / Year in School
Location (City, State/Province, Country)
If you identify with an ethnicity or culture(s), which one or ones do you identify with?
I identify as an Indian Muslim Woman
What is the name of your legal guardian/parent (if under 18)?
Please provide contact information for your legal guardian/parent (if under 18)
What are your social media accounts (TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook)?
Instagram - @sarahshaann
Please select type of project you are entering
Photography with a short Essay
What is the title of your project?
Reclaiming the space of oppression into a space of empowerment
Please tell us about your submission (maximum 600 words)
The family has often been a site of subordination, inequality, and oppression of women. For ages, women have been made to marry at a young age and take care of the household affairs of their affinal homes. Cornered in a little kitchen from dusk to dawn, women are supposed to meet all the requirements of the family and feed them constantly. In such situations, it becomes necessary for women to constantly negotiate with the patriarchal nature of the household and society in general. My mother also used to be one of those women, stuck in fulfilling one responsibility after another, constantly in the kitchen. She is known for her impeccable taste in dishes amongst the friends and peers of the family. But it always bothered us that her talent was perennially ignored and confined to making food for her family. So in 2019, my mother finally decided that it is time for her to share her talent for cooking with the world! She decided to grab the opportunities that a digital world offers and started making YouTube videos for the easiest Indian recipes in town to help people learn the art of cooking, especially during the pandemic. Presently, with 1K subscribers on her channel 'Zabardast Zaika', mom is motivated to share more of her knowledge with the world, even though she has a long way to go in her YouTube career. In a world of patriarchy and responsibilities, my mother negotiated her way into being an asset to the young women around by inspiring them to mould whichever situation they are in, into a better life for themselves.
What is something you learned about patriarchy and what is something you would like to change about what you learned?
One of the most disturbing aspects of patriarchy I've encountered in my culture is the gender roles that women and men both are confined to. It is assumed that it is the job of a woman to cook for her family at all times, no matter her own choice or mental state to do so. Women are confined to the kitchen day and night and very little to no space is given to them to express themselves. I would like for these gender roles to be dismantled and for the strive toward an egalitarian society to be continued.
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