Despite for kitchen and cleaning purposes whereas the

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 felt that it
prescribes the relative
lower status of women, as opposed 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.