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The Buzz Cut: Some Reasons Why Family Time in India Is So Fraught

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Nov 14, 2020

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Image Credit: Rajshri Productions

In The Buzz Cutwe bring you a round-up of all the weird, controversial, and wonderful stories we’ve been reading all week.


As Diwali rolls around, some will be looking forward to celebrating with their families, and some will be absolutely dreading it. This one’s for those currently trying to make excuses to get out of Diwali plans, to serve as a reminder that your family might turn out to be cooler than you thought.

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Staying with parents, especially conservative Indian ones as an adult, is a supremely difficult experience, especially for an extended period of time. Here’s everything Bollywood has taught us (and probably our parents) about parenting through the ages — maybe it’s time to rewatch, remember and ask for some redressal.

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And what if you’ve grown out of the conservative ways in which you were brought up? This essay looks at how a young man unlearnt the toxic masculinity of his family, and figured out how to stand tall and proud in front of people who didn’t accept him.

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But no matter how much progress an independent adult may make on their own, family plays a crucial role in the fight for gender equality. After all, the change toward women’s emancipation and equality starts at home.

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What about those for whom inherent parts of their identity clash with their family’s values? Here’s how some queer Indian kids navigate their home lives, existing sometimes with the support of their families, and sometimes with their ire.

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But if you’re an only child, chances are your autonomy was seldom restricted in childhood, and has probably resulted in unparalleled closeness within the family as an adult. Here’s why.

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But god forbid if you’re spending the holidays within a joint family. Contrary to the stereotypes fed to us through Sooraj Barjatya movies, joint families can be repressive spaces for women, and not particularly conducive to a happy Diwali time.

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And finally, what do we even mean by family? Is family blood? Or the bonds we make by following a heteronormative path dictated by marriage? In 2020, it may be time to spend Diwali with whomever you consider your family, beyond rigid societal conventions.

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And just as an added aside, here’s what Indian parents do when they need to have sex in joint families or in small flats. Watch out for these maneuvers.

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Written By Rajvi Desai

Rajvi Desai is The Swaddle’s Culture Editor. After graduating from NYU as a Journalism and Politics major, she covered breaking news and politics in New York City, and dabbled in design and entertainment journalism. Back in the homeland, she’s interested in tackling beauty, sports, politics and human rights in her gender-focused writing, while also co-managing The Swaddle Team’s podcast, Respectfully Disagree.

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