You Will Live In This World As A Daughter

Jocelyn Allen

2017 - 2018

Jalandhar, Punjab, India; Wolverhampton, England, United Kingdom; West Bromwich, England, United Kingdom

I was commissioned as one of four female photographers (two Indian and two British) to make a project about Punjabi women in the Punjab (India) and in the Black Country (United Kingdom).

After reading in the 2011 Punjabi census that for every 1000 boys that were born - 895 girls were born, I chose to look at how it is being a daughter of the Punjab. I wanted to question the visibility of girls and women (after spending five weeks in India I found it odd that I never saw a pregnant woman and often I would walk down a road and only see male faces) and so I made a playful series of photographs that move between hiding and revealing.

The title, You Will Live In This World As A Daughter, is inspired by lyrics in the song Middle of the Night by The Soviettes - 'He said, "Now listen girl I'm your father, and you will live in this house as a daughter"'.

I spent a month in Jalandhar, in the Punjab, where I visited an all-girls college where a lot of girls play sport to allow them to continue with their education, as well as an orphanage/refuge (where the residents are primarily female) that has a crib in the outer wall for people to leave their babies. A person of note who I met is Ginni Mahi, a viral singer who speaks about equality for women.

In the Black Country amongst the women and girls I met were British Bindi who are four friends who write about how it is to be British Asian, and Rupinder Kaur, a poet who wrote a poem that talks about how some Punjabi daughters have freedom but others don’t. A family with three daughters said their grandparents cried when the third daughter was born, but they were happy to have a healthy baby. Often families will only celebrate and give out pink ladoo – a popular Indian sweet – when boys are born.

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  • Gurneet

  • Jasminder

  • Rupinder

    She wants love
    She wants to be seen
    but instead her veil hides her.
    She hides
    Then she cries
    She wants to break free
    She wants to become azaad
    She wants to flow freely like the five rivers of Panjab
    She wants to spin like the charka
    but the charka has stopped
    Her dreams have stopped.
    Panjab gave birth to Gulab Kaur
    and Amrita Pritam
    So many daughters
    yet so many are missing
    So many are dying.
    But somewhere in the same street
    a daughter of the same Panjab
    lives freely.
    She becomes a jugni
    and does whatever she wants.
    She is free from society’s rules.

  • Prabhjot

  • Jasmine

  • Balloon Sellers

  • Riya

  • Rajat

  • Asawari & Shivranjini

  • Anya

  • Aarti and Sara

  • Jaskamal

  • Vinita

  • Gloria's Hand

  • Jaspreet, India

  • Kanta

  • Ginni Mahi

  • Sarbjit

  • British Bindi

  • Jaspreet