Dear Young Tamil Women


Last month’s article “An Open Letter to Young Tamil Men” sparked fierce debate and discussion. Below is a response from one of our readers.

Dear Young Tamil Women,

First off, I want to applaud you for opening up dialogue on a very touchy topic. You’ve clearly set some people off (from some of the comments on your article) so I do want to start by saying I was really impressed with this awesome piece. Hopefully the trolls don’t cross the line and bother you too much.

I wanted to word my response as carefully as you have worded your article.

Your amazingly well-written article tries to address this stereotype that Tamil Men have about Tamil Women. I get your sentiment 100%. The stereotype definitely holds true for some.

However, no matter how good the stereotype is, even if it holds true most of the time, it’s still a stereotype.

What you have done, perhaps not intentionally, is introduce and publicize a new stereotype about how shallow and narrow-minded Young Tamil Men are. And I really do believe this is a problem as well.

You see, a lot of Young Tamil Men have slowly moved away from this stereotype. More and more, we’ve began to socialize with people from other races and from other cultures. We’ve become a lot more open-minded. We find injustice in homophobic laws and global injustices. We’re also a hell of a lot smarter.

We’re slow, but we have been getting there – probably at the same rate “Young Tamil Women” have become more intelligent, outspoken and independent.

It’s a process. Be patient; we are slow (boom, another stereotype). It’s far too easy to put out stereotypes, especially when you’re trying to change another one.

For the record, Neelambari wasn’t just a sex symbol in Padaiyappa. She was also the female version of (what you Tamil Women refer to as) a “douchebag”. Think of a guy exuding the same amount of sex appeal and trying to control your decision and your life on who you should fall in love with (like Neelambari). Would you honestly choose this guy as your life partner?

On top of that, Padaiyappa is a movie from the late 90s. The world has changed a lot in the last 14 years. We’ve elected a divorced Tamil woman as our MP and we’re really proud of her (you know, as a Young Tamil Woman). We’re following updates on Malala Yousafzai and we want her to win the Nobel Prize. We’re starting women empowerment groups in TSA across universities in Canada to further empower women, to show the change in our thinking.

But hold on a second. We Tamil Men also hear your conversations about other girls.

“That girl is such a slew.”

Or “She’s so full of herself.”

Do these sound familiar?

You Young Tamil Women aren’t very accepting of Independent, Sexually Active females either. We know about your drama, and how girls avoid Tamil girls because of such drama.

Stereotypes work both ways. The number of guys that have the conversation you mentioned is equal to the number of girls that say the statements I’ve laid out above.

I won’t speak for all Tamil guys (and create another stereotype). But I will speak for myself and the people I know and associate myself strongly with.

We do value independence and intelligence over “Virgin Status”. We’re thinkers, dreamers, and we want someone to think and dream with us. We’ve gone out with non-Tamil girls, and are realizing that Tamil girls are becoming incredibly more independent, intelligent and ambitious. We’ve moved away from home for universities, and have gotten to join frats and varsity teams.

There are exceptions, and publicizing stereotypes aren’t going to help anybody. Address them, but leave room for exceptions. There’s a good number of us that can surprise you.

Anyway, I did enjoy reading your article. And I hope you write more on related sensitive topics as well.

Sincerely Yours,

The New Breed of Young Tamil Men

* * * * *

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect TamilCulture’s editorial policy.

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Edward Philip

Edward Philip

Edward is a Consultant at a Financial Services Consulting Firm in Toronto. But when he's not working his day Job or trying to get his start-up venture off the ground, he's usually jamming out on his violin somewhere.

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6 thoughts on “Dear Young Tamil Women

  1. Bravo. Thank you, good sir. You have so eloquently written what many of us have been dicussing. As an educated, successful entreprenuer who has never got involved in such conversations, I couldn’t agree more. I have always made sure the women I was with are intelligent, ambitious and open minded. All of them Tamil. One such fabolous lady became my business partner and later my fiance. So yes, let us not spread stereotype, rather let us understand that things have changed. It is important to maintain our culture, but what is culture if not a constant change of adaptive behaviours.
    Old breed. Open minded.

  2. Good one. Hypergamy seems to be the issue within tamil community. Status. Caste system. Haizzz… New breed, still same species.

  3. Could not have put it in a better way. Many of us may be struggling to grasp this cultural transition that our community is going through. Let us use this as a stage to understand each other and overcome not only this stereotype, but many others through this respectful dialogue. There will always be a few bad apples. And as long as the stereotype holds true for some, there is always work to be done. This must be done collectively, together as a community.

  4. No one could have walked the fine line better than you have Mr. Philip. The most elegant rebuttal possible. I had made a comment on the original post and regretted in retrospect the tinge of crassness and indiscretion in my tone. We do as mature Tamil men, celebrate the emancipation of our women and those who don’t, Will follow as you so eloquently put it. Thank you for shifting our gaze away from the stifling bonds of stereotype and toward the blowing winds of change.

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