Growing kinship structure- this further reinforces the social

Growing up and being able to experience long and
regular visits to my country, Bangladesh, has given me a cultural context of
what practices in my culture that I wanted to abandon and what practices I
wanted to uphold. Despite living in the UK where goals and values hold
different meanings (Rogoff),
it has given me the chance to see things from different perspectives and understand
bits what makes me who I am. My recent visit to Sylhet, Bangladesh in the
summer of 2016 where I stayed for two and a half months, I paid direct
attention to the gender discourses between the Bengali women and their position
within it. My family and I had shared our stay in Sylhet between my paternal
Grandparent’s village house and my maternal Grandparent’s house in the urban
city of Sylhet. When visiting the village home I found that there were never
any females in sight besides for workers; female workers were hired for kitchen
and cleaning purposes whereas the male workers were mainly hired for farming
and fishing purposes. The position of women in Bangladesh is the direct result
of the dominant patriarchal values which is deep-rooted in the cultural pattern
which reflects the subordination of women, where women are dominated by a patrilineal
kinship structure- this further reinforces the social and economic dependence
of women upon men. I feel as though it leads to the relative low status of
women, in comparison to their male partners. During my stay in Bangladesh there
were workers who were hired to take care of my every need- who were mainly
young females. As I am used to taking care of my own personal needs in terms of
my clothing, cooking and cleaning, this was very uncomfortable for me to
experience. I knew that the only reason for this is that girls usually work in
village homes is because were taken out of school before finishing high school
and look after the family- so they may be a source of income. Many girls get
married after high school, the education system in the village prescribes that
the purpose of women’s education is to produce good mothers and wives with the
constant round of childcare to confine them in the house (Heidensohn, 1996). This shows another example of The Other, as it
represents how socialisation in the village and each role assigned to a gender
constructs our ideas of what it is to be a man or a woman- viewing the two as
direct opposites of the other without taking into account other genders. Simon
de Beauvoir argues that women are made to be the Other of man, which socially
constructs masculinity as a universal norm in which the position of women is
defined (Simon de Beauvoir, 1949). I had
experienced feelings of inclusion and exclusion at the same time. Whilst being there,
I was looked at as a ‘Londoni’, meaning someone who is from London; the
attributes of someone of this type would be assumed to be someone who is rich,
educated and much more advantaged as opposed to a Bangladeshi. Here I felt
excluded, reason being is that these assumptions made about a ‘Londoni’ already
treats me as a tourist in my own country, and paves a route to better
treatment, which is thought to make me feel better, but rather it isolated me.
As an insider, I had experienced many of the same issues that the women faced
during my visits. My insider position grants me access to a Bengali woman’s worlds;
I was settled in an inflexible third space. As Hooks (1984) has expressed, “We
looked from the outside in and from the inside out. We focused our attention on
the centre as well as on the margin.” (Hooks, 1984, p. 9). This means that someone
cannot separate the two terms because both give strength to the other. However
in my third space position, I have the chance to explore my topic from two
positions: as an outsider living on the margins and as an insider. This
experience has shaped who I am as a person because occupying an outsider and
insider position in my culture; it helps to be reflexive in that I am able to
judge a situation by taking in both perspectives.