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Sexist jokes about married men having lost their freedom abound on social media and with friends. Isn’t it married women who lose their freedom, though?
You know what is common between a newly married groom and a man married for 30 year? Some time or other you will find them giving voice to that same old joke with their friends, colleagues and so on, “I lost my freedom when I got married.”
Most of us treat it as a joke and we laugh. But I am sure in the heart of most of the married women there is a niggling pain. The strange part is that most men really in some degree or other believe that in some way or other they have had to give up their freedom because of their wives.
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Okay, I accept there is a change in their life style. They can’t stay out with their bachelor buddies as much as they want to. (Some do continue with their old life and still crib, but I am talking about the so called good husbands.) Their weekends maybe now involve watching movies, shopping sprees, clubbing with wives. And believe me the husbands do find time for their buddies much more than their wives can manage.
But do the husbands complain about the hot lunch they are taking to office now, the organized house-hold, and a certain bliss in the bedroom? Guys do not seem to complain about these changes.
And believe me these are the good husbands, who love and care for their wives. And yet the joke remains at parties, dinner tables, one to one conversations. And do you really want to know why it hurts? Because they are the “good husbands.”
Women leave their home, their parents, their friends, their very way of life when they get married. In some cases, it even affects her wardrobe, the food she has to eat after the marriage at her in-laws place. The hundreds of instructions poured on their heads from the mother-in-law, to the neighbouring aunty, to the house maid.
I know, I know! Many men out there will say there are cases where the bride moves in not with her in-laws but only with her husband. But dear sir, with no offence it is still “she who is moving” and not you!
A husband makes place for only one new person in his life, on the other hand a wife almost wipes out everyone. At the least, everyone from her pre-marriage days has to go a bit blurry from now on. In most cases, her husband’s friends are her friends now. And her friends accept it readily, “Oh! She is married now, of course she is busy.” They don’t even get angry!
Lets just change the scenario for once – husband misses one booze party in months, “Oh! Ever since he is married, his wife is holding his strings!”
Why do we have to deal with this hypocrisy? It is true things are changing, husbands and wives are friends now. Partners in crime, they come up with excuses to skip put on boring parties whichever side it may belong to. They are in it together.
And yet the joke remains. Is it a matter of masculinity that you have to say that you lost your freedom because of your wife? After a full fledged party thrown by the husband organized by the wife for his friends, some male voice speaks out, “Oh I lost all my freedom since I got married.” And everyone bursts out laughing.
Yes, you are right, if it is a joke and I know it then why is it pinching me so much? Because if you prick someone with even a small needle at the same place again and again believe me it will bleed.
All I want to say is, why are we women scared to voice the same opinion in front of everyone? We do it only with our closest girl friends or in fights with our husbands. But why not accept it and speak it loud? Are we scared it will be taken too seriously? Is that the irony of the situation?
I have a very loving husband and yet I want to voice my opinion, “Yes, I lost my freedom after I got married.”
Image source: Indian couple in conflict by Shutterstock.
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I understand what you are saying however for me marriage led to quite the opposite. After marriage I had far more freedom to make decisions and choices as an adult, in addition to no more of the dreaded curfews. However since motherhood, both freedom and time are not entirely mine anymore. I sacrifice these voluntarily and willingly and not out of force. I do admit that occasionally I do feel a twang of envy when i see my single friends not really being tied up in knots, over decisions relating to time and freedom. My husband and child seem very grateful for my sacrifices and so it all seems worthwhile. But it is true, in a patriarchy there are more social expectations and restrictions on women rather than men, both before and after marriage which does seem unfair.
I appreciate your comment and understand it. My point was not about literally losing your freedom, but the jokes that men keep on repeating that “life has changed and they lost their freedom after marriage”, when actually women leave a lot of things behind when they get married. It is their life which actually changes people wise, place wise. After marriage life changes for both men and women, but the acknowledgement of this fact seems to be true as per society only for men.
loved the article ….it covers many women sentiments .The other part is men’s how as if how scared they are of their wives in group speciallt office colleagues ….this article definitely needs lot of RT
The article is honest and good one but the speaking loud against patriarchal rules are not so easy and I have experienced this on daily basis. I am an outspoken woman but after marriage whenever I voiced my issues related with this gender biased roles, my family, friends and neighbors always turned hostile to me.
I was happy in marriage and my husband is far better than others but the people around me took all these things as I don’t give the freedom and space to my husband and dominate him all the time. This is absolutely not true but sometimes it seems real to me too because everyone around me echoes the same comments and don’t mention to forget my good luck as my husband looks docile and sweet in front of others.
But the patriarchy is very much present in our relationship and it provides a great shelter to men to ignore the voices of females. I feel this is why the things change 100 percent for women while men face this as minor changes. And the things change for women according to their class and society. A lower middle class woman find it more difficult to speak against patriarchy in comparison to a higher middle class woman. Freedom of women are lying in the institutions of family, community and religion then only the state comes this is how our fate would be decided by others not by us.
Its what I say a Jugulbandi between Indian Culture, nature of Tradition, Society Aesthetics, Elderly expectations etc etc many long listers. I have few of the point listed to my dear Wife that will not be considered loose in anyhow cases; and just like you mentioned I have given her every freedom which relate to her pre-marriage life so I would say its an understand and the long listing that I have mentioned few of them above is the main cause where we deliberately or unintentionally run our minds which create jokes and unwanted understanding. Everything can be solved with love and understanding. Accept it as it is or change till you accept it 🙂 … Like your article… hope that you would come up with beautiful feature where our new Indian women could be happy and passionate about married life :). Let there be a change — hoping to see your article on Arranged marriage vs Love marriage vs person in live-in-relationship 🙂 … Thank you …be happy and be healthy always
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