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.
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.