There’s a scene in the finale of Bridgerton’s second season that features its newest cast members, Kate and Edwina Sharma (Simone Ashley and Charitha Chandran), as they explore what it means to know—and choose—yourself.
“I am done with playing a part. I want to know myself truly and to know who you are, too. Because I am not sure I like the young ladies we have both been playing,” says Edwina. “Whatever action you now wish to take, I only hope it is because you are being truthful to yourself—and not because of anyone else.”
For , a South Asian viewer—and, she imagines, so many other South Asian women watching as well—there’s an unspoken significance to the interaction, so apparent it’s like a third character in the room.
It feels like, in that scene, two South Asian women (even in Regency-era England) are finally beginning to confront all the barriers that exist between them and their abilities to choose themselves: The cultural pressures, the passive stereotypes, and all the ways they internalized both.
Because thanks to those factors, South Asian women don’t always have the luxury of redefining or pursuing their own paths to happiness…at least not without struggling under the tremendous weight of expectations placed on us.