What are the new realities that confront Bhutanese women today? What challenges do they face when their tradition-bound close-knit family life is suddenly replaced by the anonymity of an urban existence? These deceptively simple stories uncover both the complexity and irony of women’s lives in contemporary Bhutan. They show how ordinary lives, choices and experiences are both remarkable and poignant. In “I am a Small Person”, a despised woman uses her femininity as a means to control a man; the young girl in “I won’t ask Mother” suddenly feels empowered and confident when she makes a decision without consulting her mother. All the stories take place in rural settings, to which creeping urbanization brings gradual change, and tensions surface between the new and the old, or the traditional and the modern. For many rural women, being able to connect to the city and all its perceived glamour and power is a very real aspiration and one that is sensitively dealt with in stories like “Look at her Belly Button”, and “The Photograph”.
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