Anti-Aunty ft. the Five Human Senses

The prominent overseers of the flourishing patriarchal norms in South Asia are the older women. These elders usually operate within a community. Be it a group of friends or relatives, their love and passion for trying to control their female children and other young girls (or should I call them victims?) can often get out of hand. One would expect that very community to be used as a means of female solidarity, but instead they use their policing gaze to bring other women down. From body shaming, to slut shaming, to asking really personal questions, to indulging in colorism, these elders know every way to make the lives of young females around them a living hell!

But why do they do this? Well, usually the older women are exercising the repression they faced growing up. They were told to succumb to the patriarchy in their youth, and it was instilled in the generations before them that this behavior is okay. So for them, a young woman claiming agency and defying the status quo becomes an act of defiance.

In order to battle this misogynistic atmosphere, young women have taken to the internet and connected with others who share their experiences. Courtesy of the desi side of the internet, toxic aunty behavior has managed to become a meme. My generation’s rebellion against patriarchal pressure has resulted in more awareness and fewer aunties trying to tell us how girls should be living their lives.

Following the examples set by my sisters all over the internet, I made my own contribution to this “anti-aunty movement." If the aunties around me are passionate about policing girls' actions then my passion lies in calling them out on it. And anything I’m passionate about goes into my art journal!

Anti-Aunty ft. the Five Human Senses is a series of art journal entries that show how aunties  violate the privacy of young girls in order to satisfy their nosiness and proceed to use information against girls, resulting in them becoming the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.

By Arwa Halai