A Poem by Neha Maqsood: Desi Patriarchy

Neha Maqsood’s poem reflects on patriarchal standards facing women in the desi community. For TWSS Issue #17 ‘Masks’.

Desi patriarchy tells me to
take some goddamn

They exclaim,

‘honey, you’re asking for it when you
your neck with ittar’

‘you’re making him horny wearing
that low-cut blouse’.

‘you’re calling for attention as you
lace your eyelids with kajal &
stud your
ears with jhumpkas’

‘you’re making ‘boys excited’ when you
let hair tendrils flow down your

Don’t you get it, they say

it’s you.

I tell desi patriarchy
that I dress according to
waxing schedules,
job descriptions

I do this shit
for myself.

Do you even exist outside
the male gaze?’

lady 2 (3)coy (2)










Illustration by Anna Dowson.

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