I come from a pretty traditional Chinese background with parents who wish a better future upon their children and have them work hard for it. My background is also pretty traditional when it comes to talking about life, love and romance, relationships, and sex. I’m going to start off by saying that I’m the oldest daughter in a family of four and I am older than my sister by two years.
Back in sixth grade, there was a program called “Family Life” and it’s where the teachers split themselves and the students in to two groups, male and female. In order for students to join this program, your parents had to sign a permission slip letting you be a part of it. I told my parents what the program was about and my mom thought that I was way too young to learn about periods, sex and boys.
So I went back to the teacher, told her I couldn’t join the program and when the day of the program came, I saw that I was the only one who wasn’t allowed to be a part of it. The teacher sent me to the library to work on a health workbook. When I went home, I told my mom that I was the only one sitting in the library and my mom gave in. The next day, I was sitting next to my best friend in a crowded classroom and laughing about how one of the teachers got sweaty before even talking about the subject.
Fast forward to now, I come across “The Mindy Project” which is a show by Mindy Kaling and it follows the story of an Indian-American woman, Mindy Lahiri, living in New York City and trying to find that one true love. On the outside, it looks like a regular girly romance TV show, but it isn’t. “The Mindy Project” is utterly and beautifully honest about the things my mom never taught me.
When it comes to romantic relationships, I was always waiting around for “the one”, as corny and cheesy as it sounds. I had the expectations of this guy being someone like Prince Charming from those Disney Princess movies and I never realized, up until watching “The Mindy Project”, that it’s stupid to wait. In the latest season finale of the show — spoilers ahead! —Mindy and Danny had to work through countless relationships to realize that they are right for each other. Finding a significant other is a process of trial and error through other relationships where you learn more about yourself and create standards that someone will hopefully meet.
Sex was also another elephant topic between my family. Just recently, I had to gather up the courage to tell my mom — me, a 21 year old — that I was going to make an appointment with a gynecologist because something was wrong with my menstrual cycle. Leading up to that conversation, I was worried and afraid that my mom would judge me and assume things that I didn’t do.
The only exposure I had to sex was from the media and those YA novels. Women are taught that if they have too much sex, they’re considered whores and sluts. What the hell is “too much sex” anyways? There are romance novels written where the female protagonist is waiting for the one and that the first time you lose your virginity, it is going to be special, but it isn’t.
Reading and hearing other people’s life experiences, as well as watching “The Mindy Project”, the first time you have sex isn’t going to be all that romantic. If you and your partner are both virgins, then it is going to be awkward and I think that’s what makes it special. Having sex isn’t something that should be done to get it over with or to make you fit in with your peers. It should be an intimate moment with you and your significant other that you trust. If things get weird and awkward, let it be weird and awkward.
Another point that I love about “The Mindy Project” is that Mindy Lahiri is a strong female protagonist who finds the time to search for romance as well as keep a steady job as an OBGYN. There are a lot of portrayals of women where it depicts women as the perfect housewife while the husband is the breadwinner. This rings especially true for me because I’ve had relatives ask me why I was still in college and why I haven’t found a rich guy to marry yet.
As far as I know, they could be joking or they could be serious about their questions, but I know that I don’t want to give up my education just to find some man who is going to treat me like his trophy wife. I want to be able to support myself with my own college degree, with my own job experiences, with my own money if something does (hopefully it won’t) go awry in the relationship.
"The Mindy Project" is such a wonderful show that isn’t afraid to break the standards of women today. Mindy Lahiri is most of the things men want women to be but she takes it to a whole new level. Mindy makes sure that she is in control of her own life, her own choices and her own body.