Intersectionality: “You are a girl”

By Sonala De Silva

Being a woman in today’s society, there are still so many expectations and restrictions placed upon myself and others. Being a woman of colour, however, just increases these. I was born in Sydney, though my parents are immigrants. With them, they brought the cultures and values of their motherland. With them, they brought ideals and expectations they hoped that their daughter and son would take on. I consider myself lucky. Even though my parents are immigrants, they did come to this country with an open mind. Coming from a South Asian background, it is safe to say that men and women have different expectations placed upon them by their families. My brother is allowed to pretty much do anything he wants, but it is not that easy for me, because I’ve been told these simple words over and over again throughout my life – “you are a girl”. Apart from gender inequality being a strong issue in my culture, the issue of mental health is also one that is strongly ignored. Mental illness is almost considered non-existent. It is something that is considered shameful, and one would be told to “act normal”, as if it is something they are able to shut off or are purposely putting on. Although these two issues relate to every human being, I strongly feel due to stigmatisation, lack of resources and cross-cultural understanding in our society, that people with ethnic parents are more affected by them in this country.