How to wow Bengali dads on Father’s Day

It is not every day when you get to remember what your father is going through to raise you as a better version of himself unless it is father’s day.

We write emotional captions on Facebook, upload cute photos with him and keep thinking it will wow him because the overwhelming response you are getting from your friends is wowing you.

But this probably doesn’t work well on Bengali Dads. Because you can’t convince him into thinking that a touchy caption on Facebook is a good enough reason to be happy on this day.  

Bengali dads have high expectations, remind you that.

So what are the ways you can actually wow your Bengali dads?

Ditch Social Media for a day and cook something for him with effort

How to wow Bengali dads on father’s day

Let’s face it when we are uploading cute pictures with him and writing captions for him which are ultimately read by our friends only and not our dads. We only care about how nicely we put our thoughts into words and how much validation we are getting even though our lives are falling apart here.

But if you really want this day to be only about your father, ditch social media and cook something for him. Let him get assurance that you are not entirely useless. That you can make things happen if you actually want to other than fixing the wifi router and occasionally, his android phone.

Buy him something nice and cute that has functional attributes

How to wow Bengali dads on father’s day

Our dads are probably never buying a new pair of shoes and a new watch for themselves even though he will buy you 3 pair of shoes and 4 sets of new clothes just because you can flex on social media. Dads will not buy their essentials and still be okay with it because dads are absolute sweethearts and all things nice.

We often overlook his needs and hardly care about if his supplies are in an inadequate amount in the house.

On this father’s day, look around for your father’s stuff.

Figure out what he needs new. It could be a shaving kit, a perfume set, a new pair of shoes, a mobile phone, or whatever he might need new.

Surprise him with it, he will probably love the gifts but I’m sure enough that he will probably feel good knowing you’ve taken the time to care about his necessities and cared to buy them with effort.

Just spend some good time with him

How to wow Bengali dads on father’s day

I know that many of us don’t get the time to sit and talk with him even for a while. We always prefer our busyness over his and we feel that it is okay for us to fall asleep because we’re tired whenever he’s home late. Ditch work for a day maybe, take him out for coffee. Or just spend some quality time with him. Talk about how he’s doing and what things he is worried about currently if he looks worried.

Sync yourself to his energy.

You’ll feel more connected to him and his feelings if you’ve been distant for a while.

Show him what you wrote in the captions, on a piece of paper

How to wow Bengali dads on father’s day

A lot of our Dads don’t actually get the whole social media culture and don’t like being on facebook for various reasons.

But they do secretly kind of dig the whole letter or card thing if their child makes it with love and effort. Don’t just post pictures with him on social media and write a caption and expect heart reacts because it’s nice.

The day is all about your father. So instead, write it all on a piece of paper and give it to him on this day. I’m pretty sure he’ll be happier to discover his child’s creativity and choice of words that deserve a thousand heart reacts.

Promise to yourself that you’ll actually work on being a better child  

How to wow Bengali dads on father’s day

This one is more of a continuous process with a long-lasting impact on fathers. Our fathers don’t want anything else but their children to be better and stand up to his expectations in every choice we make in life.

Father’s day is just one day but it should leave an impact on all of us regarding how we should appreciate our fathers’ efforts to run the family and ensure a better future for us.

So let us make better choices, better ourselves for our fathers and their expectations from us. We often tend to forget that as we’re growing up, our parents are getting old so they deserve love, care and support from us a bit more with every passing day.

So, let us become what they want us to be.

Let us give them something to be proud of so that they can feel that their efforts in raising us up are not going in vain.

Let’s dare to debate about harassment

With the recent events uprising, from a mere t-shirt logo to Nusrat’s death, the idea of the existant rape culture in our society has finally settled in and exposed more topics of discussion.

Read more: The case of Nusrat and our “rape culture”

While some are still educating themselves on the idea of sexual consent and how it can be minimized to a level where there is control over these issues, the recent uprise of survivors of harassment is taking a toll on certain communities of the society.

It is important to realize that sexual preferences followed by harassment, has become a case which is often not given enough priority to, which leads to misinformation and rise to similar problematic behaviours.

Why the #metoo and #talkaboutit failed to beam minimization on sexual harassment

Given light to many cases of sexual assaults and non-consensual incidents from the entertainment industry to communities as important as debate events, have shed light to the people that even the safest places may bring about cases like these. The idea of understanding how sexual harassment does not only limit to non-consensual penetrative sex is necessary to be known. The idea of hiding behind curtains about cases like these forms more problems in further investigation, however, it’s important to realize that the rate of socially educated members of our society is very less in number.

Read more: Why we need to start taking Sexual Harassment accusations more seriously

Coming out and the victim-blaming culture

Facebook itself is an open platform which single-handedly gave space to both the survivors and common people to view cases and bring forth their statements about cases like these. However, as said before due to the lack of understanding of the degrees of sexual harassments, often survivors are forced to delete their confessions and stories because of fear of being misunderstood furthermore.

Often many forget the true message of what these movements hold. The idea is to shed light on the existing rape culture and everything surrounding that idea. The motive is to degrade the predators and bring justice to the cases in order to avoid scenarios like these and bring more caution to people. The cultural and social construction of women coming out in one word brings lojja in the family as the stigma in our country keeps pushing these cases in the box.

Lack of understanding

“#metoo in Bangladesh shouldn’t be just about calling people out, it should include forming and updating institutions that are equipped to dealing with these complaints. It’s equally important to understand the cases and analyze them from a logical view point given the facts are all being said to light”

Says Antara Islam, an International Relations student from Dhaka University.

The lack of responsibility from the respective institutions, groups and head of events raises a question of partial judgement. It is evident that often cases like these when addressed takes time to be judged however, only empathizing with the situation should not be the only way to address cases such as this. A diplomatic stance on serious harassment or any sort of non-consensual cases is an unprofessional approach and often problematic for the victim.

The art of consent and why it is important now than ever

Let us first understand that there is no single definition to identify and understand the concept of consent. There should be three ways to approach this which are affirmative consent, freely given consent and capacity consent. It is crucial for us to analyze and ask ourselves if the person expressed affirmative responses to the action. Further questions follow if the consent was offered from the point of free will, without being induced with fraud, violence or compulsion.

Not only that, it is important to keep age, the idea of intoxication, physical and mental disability and most importantly the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is also highly necessary to keep in regards. Consent itself is a step by step process let that fact be known because a simple ‘yes’ does not open doors to every action. As the recent allegations from many debaters who have faced harassments and became victims of non-consensual acts, it is evident that cases like these will happen despite the knowledge and full understanding of what sexual harassment is, because the idea of consent, often times becomes a blurred concept many still lack to grasp.

The time is now

The rise of confessions of cases like these on the internet shows us how important it has become for survivors to speak their truth.

Bangladesh has already been stamped a label which is hard to remove but not impossible. This is our time to address the toxic movements of non-consensual acts masked by casual approaches by the perpetrator.

For the proper safety of women, it is important to not only address the situation rather take actions for proper justice. Cases like these needs observation, legal approach and most importantly acknowledgement. It is time for us to rise to the movement, yet again.

The battle against our obsession with fair skin

It always seemed perplexing to me that in a country of 16 million people where majority of us are of a darker complexion, we have somehow come to equate beauty with fairness. Starting from young girls and boys to older men and women, this notion has been embedded into our minds and has permeated over the centuries.

The constant slurs

Every brown woman living in Bangladesh can attest to receiving an abundance of unsolicited advice and derogatory comments from strangers to family members over their complexion throughout their lifetime. Maybe it was in the form of a backhanded compliment like “You’re pretty for a dark skinned girl”; an advice from next-door aunty to try out some skin whitening creams (fair and lovely the undisputed champion); a quick natural homemade remedy from a friend that promised to instantly brighten your skin; a warning from your mother to stay indoors and avoid the sun, and the list goes on.

Seriously, just stop.


Artwork by Nafisa Afsara Chowdhury

The other side isn’t pretty either

Growing up, I personally didn’t hear such remarks myself because I got “lucky” by being born with a lighter complexion in a society that’s obsessed with fairness. But I did experience something else which was equally problematic. People have said things like “ki shundor forsha gayer rong” and “tomake toh foreigner lage” to me, as if those were meant to be compliments. I’m sorry but no, you have got it all wrong. I do not aspire to look like a foreigner, I do not think my lighter skin is somehow a personal victory, and neither do I think that this should be an acceptable form of flattery for any right-minded person.

The ridiculous ads

It shocks me that it is still acceptable to promote fairness products in the 21st century and reiterate the idea that a fairer skin is more desirable than the rest. These ridiculous ads will try to have you believe that if you become a couple of shades lighter, you will finally get that job you want, your family and boyfriend will love you more, all your problems will miraculously go away and you’ll live happily ever after. (Don’t we all wish it were that simple?)

Why are we so obsessed with being “fair and lovely”?

Original concept and Photo by Zainab Anwar. Artwork by Triory.

This unhealthy obsession that we have with fairness is a lot more complex than we often realize. Some may argue that this stems from the remnants of our colonial legacy in South Asia and plays out in the form of internalized colonialism, while others say that this fixation dates even further back in history, dealing with issues of class hierarchy.

It also goes without saying that our deep-rooted patriarchy that constantly objectifies women only helps to perpetuate this enslavement even further.

We also cannot deny that the mass media today contributes towards keeping such insidious ideas alive by feeding us Western beauty standards since eternity.

The damaging impact

Most of us girls grapple with loving ourselves because we were conditioned to believe in these unrealistic beauty standards that were always far from our reach. So many girls like me, around me, were constantly trying to attain this standard of beauty, all the while, rejecting their own brown skin. Leaving them dejected and bathing in self-loathe. Can we really blame them though? We live in a society that constantly tells us that our skin color is “nongra” or “moila”, so trying to feel content in our own skin was never even an option to begin with.

Here are some Bangladeshi women sharing their bitter experience of growing up with brown skin in Bangladesh:

X, a 29-year-old woman from Dhaka-

“I remember when I was a teenager, I’d try all kinds of things on my face hoping to lighten it because I was always made to feel like it wasn’t good enough. Looking back, thinking about all the harmful things that I tried in order to gain validation from this society truly scares me. What makes me even more upset is that I still find myself fighting this battle within me sometimes. Suppose, when I’m wearing a very bright colored outfit, I’ll think to myself  “Is this making me look too dark?” But it’s only now, in my late 20s that I’m turning the conversation around and asking myself, “What’s wrong with looking too dark? Absolutely nothing”. So, thankfully, after years of struggle, I’m in a much more healthy relationship with my own skin now”

Anika, a 23-year-old student from North South University-

“I’ve been fighting this brown skin prejudice since my childhood. I remember when I was in school; I didn’t get accepted as the lead role of a drama because of my “dark skin”. My visits to the parlor were always accompanied with suggestions of bleaching my skin to become “fairer”. It’s not just the people who we love dearly that perpetuate such ideals but it is also embedded within our social institutions. It’s everywhere. And it takes unimaginable strength to unlearn years of such toxic internalization and begin to treat yourself right ”

Dare to love yourself

In a world that constantly reminds us women that the color of our complexion fails to meet some false notion of beauty, just loving yourself and being proud of your skin becomes a revolutionary act for us girls. It means to dismantle these narratives that we’ve been forcefully fed for so long. It means to reclaim our brown skin in all its glory.

So, go on, tell those aunties off, bask in the sun, wear that bright colored outfit you were asked not to wear, put on that red lipstick and own it!