The ‘good’ woman, according to ancient Tamil literature, has four characteristics — Achcham, Madam, Naanam, and Payirppu. Loosely translated, Achcham means fear; Naanam means coyness; Madam is modesty bordering on ignorance — even if a woman knows something, she is supposed to pretend otherwise. And finally, Payirppu, which roughly translates to chastity.
This patriarchal notion of who is a good woman has been, for long, romanticised by popular culture. Tamil cinema, in specific, has a long history of enshrining patriarchy. Almost every leading star has, at some point or the other, delivered a sermon on how a woman should behave dress or be.
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