BRIDGERTON: A Long Way to Go

Bridgerton, for me, was a guilty pleasure during lockdown. A way to take a break from the seemingly endless assignments and work-related commitments.

The prospect of a circuit breaker lockdown had promoted me to ask a relative for a show recommendation, she gave Bridgerton a rave review. I had my doubts about the show.

From the little glimpses I had seen, I had chalked it up as another clichéd Netflix drama. It didn’t seem like something I would enjoy, but I indulged, nevertheless. Surprisingly, I enjoyed the show. It was full of witty humor, and there were moments where it had me on the edge of me seat laughing (and at times, crying).

As I was watching the show, it dawned on me how familiar some of the themes portrayed in the show felt. See, I grew up in a conservative, upper-class Indian family. I lived in a gated community, and I have experienced some of these relics of the Regency Era in the 21st century. When I was merely 10 years old, I accompanied my father, Grandfather, and another male relative to visit the family of a prospective suitor for my aunt. I was unaware of the implications of this visit, being 10 I was just glad for the day off school.

It dawned on me, as I watched Bridgerton, the real motivations of that day for 10-year-old me, and how serious it was.

Many of us watching this show would laugh at the absurdity of this bygone era, but for some this remains a scary reality. Arranged marriages are still prevalent in my homeland, fostered by a patriarchal society where men still get to decided fate of their daughters, sisters and at times, other female relatives.

I do not stand for this.

Back in 2019, over a dinner conversation with some family friends, I expressed my discontent with arranged marriages, it was received poorly, it was considered disrespectful of my culture and tradition. I reject this notion, for patriarchy and arranged marriages should not define any culture, they are traditions we need to outgrow as a society.

Bridgerton to me, is a show that does not celebrate, but rather mocks the ridiculousness of Marriage Mart. It serves as a reminder of how far we have come in western cultures but also a reminder to some cultures, like mine, that there is much to be done and we must fight oppression where we see it.