I have decided to write an article about this as this is still a big topic in patriarchal societies even today. Recently I have come from a very open and expressive life which I’ve lived for eighteen years to the eastern culture. A few people are concerned about me sharing myself with the public. Growing up in apartheid South Africa, in a segregated area, in the Hindu culture there was a lot of fear. The history of Indians in India, Kenya, Uganda and South Africa around colonialism brought about a lot of fear. Women were still very much under men back then in these countries as well as in the rest of the world that self-expression is still lacking in homes and in certain cultures. I believe this is still a big issue in Asia.
I think every family will be concerned about a family member who is becoming a public figure/or is a public figure and have fears around what they are sharing out there to the public. To be honest, this scares me too but what kind of example would I be to you if I didn’t or don’t put myself out there? I am expressing myself, my views, my opinions, my ideas, my thoughts, my authenticity, my experiences, my truths, the mistakes I’ve learnt from, advising, motivating, giving awareness, value and I’ve also written a book based on a true story purely because I think it’s an untold story which has been forgotten by the world. Not only is it an untold story it’s also a story that a lot can be taken from for our current youth and families and is relative to all cultures. Pick up the two free chapters of my book The South African: True Colours from my website to get a small context of the story.
Yes, sure self-expression is something that people think about a lot consciously. They don’t want to expose their vulnerability, their truth, their fears, their pain, their hurt, their happiness etc. to just everyone. Who doesn’t want their haters to get satisfaction from what’s going on with them or hide their well-deserved happiness so that they don’t attract more haters and jealous people? See why this scares so many people? While a lot of people think about this consider how self-expression can open new doors.
Look around you, even if we come from eastern or western cultures, self-expression is happening all the time i.e. on social media, on this article right now, on advertisements, on movies, in your home, with your partner, with your family, by your children, by playing a piece of music, dancing, style, learning a language, speaking loud like most Spanish/Italians (referring to those who don’t gossip), disagreements, arguments, baking, giving speeches/talks, cooking and I can go on.
Self-expression is sharing yourself. It’s a relationship with yourself and with those around you. In western cultures, self-expression represents freedom, feelings, personality, preferences, individuality and assertiveness. In eastern cultures self-expression can be seen negatively due to tradition, culture, religion and authority.
Today women are gradually getting there but there’s still a lot of work to be done. There are a handful of women leaders compared to male. As an author of The South African: True Colours, I don’t see why BAME (Black, Asian, Minority ethnic) should exist. If you can write in English even if you’re not British, you should be given equal opportunities.
Check out this study on Culture and Self-expression on this link https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2010/06/sci-brief
We live in a society where women are judged by women and by men, yet men are not judged so much by women. It seems as though women have to work harder to get a breakthrough compared to men.
Check out these articles https://nowthisnews.com/videos/her/women-candidates-are-still-judged-much-more-harshly-than-men
T. Dench Patel