why is this pissing me off so much?

I tried talking to an American friend of mine online about what happened the other night and she basically told me that I was overreacting and it seemed like maybe I was upset about more than just what I was saying. Sometimes you just need a friend (or a blog) to vent to but that response didn’t help at all. Look, minorities and women experience racism, sexism, and other types of discrimination in their every day lives. I’m coming from a place of total privilege, being so disturbed by a cultural misunderstanding in which I was perceived as lesser in status than a male. It’s not so unusual in most of the world, I guess, so excuse me while I feel outraged for a moment over it. 

I’ve grown up a complete product of second and third wave feminism… To the point where I don’t even know what I have in my American life. That’s the beauty of travel, isn’t it? It reveals much more about one’s self than it does about the other culture. I bear no grudge toward my Nepali family because their intentions were good and they spoke from a place of love for me and my daughter. At the same time I can only view a situation from my own cultural experiences, so yes, an independent woman who politely informed a host that I’d be late and that we were at a hospital and received a reply can and will be outraged that her judgment, character, and ability to be responsible for herself were questioned so severely. And yes… being mom-shamed for something that happened outside of my control is unacceptable to me, too. And also, these are people I’ve been close to for so long that I think it’s normal for me to be upset that we had such a massive understanding.

I’m not here doing field work. I’m not a Nepali person, either. Nor do I want to be. I will do my utmost best to be a good guest, helpful and respectful, in the ways I know how. But I will always live outside the norm here, I will always fall prey to misunderstandings and blunders. Is it so much to ask a friend to just listen to my frustrations? 

Anyway. I guess I’m feeling totally on my own right now. I thought talking to a fellow independent female friend would help, but instead I was just made to feel ashamed of not getting over it or being more understanding. So maybe I’m the one who is completely crazy.

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Categories: travel

6 Comments »

  1. I think I would be outraged too if it were me in your shoes, outraged that people I know and love treated me this way and that it’s cultural norm. They need to not hold you to those standards.

      • You’re welcome. Maybe your friend was in fix-it mode, which is how I often opperate too. From what you described before, I don’t think you did anything wrong. You got a helmet for M, you were with a trusted friend, police were called, you communicated with your host family, and if they had suggested a different course of action then you probably would have accepted their help etc.

  2. I’m going to come right out and say that this is the perfect example of why I don’t bother to travel outside the US often. I refuse to put myself in a position where I would be seen as “lesser.” I think the way your friends are treating you is atrocious and I’m shocked that you continued to stay with them. I would have taken my things and headed to a hotel immediately. I wouldn’t be able to swallow their cultural views and it’s just not in me to be forgiving.

    • I understand where you’re coming from, honestly. It’s not a circumstance I will put myself in again… By staying in your own place, though, you can generally avoid this. Or by staying in tourist areas where even locals understand that you don’t play by their rules.

  3. I love to travel but have also found that as a female with a male otherhalf I often am treated as lessser person. Particularly males dont like having toctalj to me or have me make decisions for us.
    I also work in a hospital where men from other cultures work in menial tasks and being directed by a female which they dont like.
    Its fine to stew over how you were treated but please dont let it ruin your holiday.x

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