What Is HER Choice?

Posted: February 10, 2013

Here are two incidents which I heard about which made me wonder if we are really moving towards equality between men and women..for every one positive story I hear, there seem to be two not-so-positive ones.

#1

This lady had recently lost her father..not even a month had passed by. She was 8 months pregnant. and her in laws wanted her to go through the God-Bharai ceremony…She didn’t want it because she didn’t feel mentally and emotionally very great..after all she had just lost her father. But in-laws were insistent. Her husband was supporting her. He said, who on earth, would want to have a ceremony when mentally you are so upset.

In laws gave back the argument about how he was their only son and they would never have this ceremony ever again in their lives. The ceremony had got cancelled when the girl’s father expired.

She conceded. Decided its better to just go on with the ceremony than try and convince them not to go ahead with it.

Husband and she wanted a simple ceremony with only the pooja. In laws wanted to call the relatives. Another confusion and finally she agreed to that as well.

#2

She was very successful in her career when she got married. When she had a baby, she quit her job to take care of the baby, in laws and grand mother in law. Now her baby is 4 years and she wants to go back to work. But in laws are not too keen and husband is not too supportive.

First they say go back to work and once she starts searching for a job, they say, ‘no no spend some time with your child first’ 

She says, let them decide what they want me to do.

I ask ‘what do YOU want to do?’

She says ‘Does my opinion even matter? If I want to live with them in peace, I would rather just let it be.’

Many may come back to me on this post saying ‘why weren’t the ladies fighting back? Why were they agreeing to it?’

Unfortunately, both of them seem to have been brought up with a view that do as your husband’s family wants and life just gets easier.

But, does it?

R’s Mom is a working mother in Mumbai trying to balance work, home and

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Comments

12 Comments


  1. This makes me just so angry..sometimes makes me wonder whether marriage is worth all the sacrifices these ladies have made. I guess, been called a stubborn & ungrateful DIL from the start is better than being so submissive to in laws and spouse….we need to be strong from the beginning and lay down the rules and make some non-negotiable. I did that in a way…however I get so mad at certain things that are expected just because you are a DIL and have a baby and a WOMEN at the end!

  2. I think this also goes back to the initial family we are raised in. They expect us to be submissive to the father and mother just because we are women. Moving on to the next family, the trend continues. I know it is annoying and we tend to think in laws are our worst enemies but how many fathers and mothers give their daughters freedom of choice and how many actually support them when in laws are being harsh. I can say with a very few exceptions, they would ask their daughters to compromise for fear of rocking the family boat. In their minds too, they think it is the duty of the woman to put everyone else’s opinions ahead of her own. Most of our mothers are already in the same boat and the family dynamic runs on her putting her husband and children’s needs/opinions ahead of her.

  3. I think the problem lies with the great Indian tradition of family. This entire concept of a woman moving to her in-laws place (and hence into an alien environment) is outdated and regressive. It kills individuality and prevents a couple from taking marital decisions on their own.
    Even with education and so-called emancipation of women, nothing has changed except the increase in expectation from DIL who is supposed to bring in the money as well as perform her erstwhile duty of cook, maid of family.
    It has lead to even more pressured life for women. If half the nation’s population is inside kitchens, then what sort of productivity can we expect?
    No wonder, India is and will always remain a developing country with highest figures of female foeticide and suicide amongst married women.

    • yes this is so true. A women is expected to change her lifestyle completely according to the in laws. She is expected to snub the ties with her own family and give preference to the husbands family. She is supposed to bring money and perform her erstwhile duty of cook, maid of the family even if there are helpers around and even if the family is quite well to do. They never fail to expect for goodies on every damn occasion from the girls parents and even when you are sick or something they want your parents to take care of you and spend on you. But still want you to prioritise the husbands family over yours.
      Our country is very rich in terms of culture and tradition. But when such things happen I just start hating the blood sucking tradition giving the male dominance over women. Sometimes I just feel that being a girl is a crime even if you are born into a rich family. No matter how educated the families are they would still expect the daughter in law to bring dowry in the name of whatever, work in the house like a maid, serve the husband, serve the in laws and give a grandchild.

  4. the story is with every married girl…no matter whether she had love marriage or arranged one… Well, constant nagging, taunting for a small thing like getting the door shut little louder and interference literally washes off the self esteem of a girl. Well, you forget what you are, every sarcastic remark takes something away from you, you change yourself, do not remain the old cheerful self in order to avoid conflict. and gradually you stopped living for yourself and time flies out of your hand…You are left with only REGRET..why did I not raise my VOICE at the right time.
    It is better to speak up for yourself and be alone than be quite and SUBMISSIVE.

  5. I agree. Whether it is a love marriage or an arranged marriage, the daughter-in-law is always judged for all that she does or doesn’t. It reminds me of the “old man, son, and donkey” story. No matter what she does, a daughter-in law will always be questioned.

    Moreover, if the husband is supportive, he is labelled as an ungrateful son who is neglecting parents for his wife. Married couples should not try to please anyone at the cost of their relationship. Just be committed to your relationship. It might be difficult initially but it helps a great deal later in life while handling in-laws.

    • absolutely! usually the husband doesn’t support or even if he does he is labelled as a son who has changed after marriage or is just following his wife’s orders. And if a wife doesn’t support a husband she is labelled a bad wife with a bad character.

  6. I guess after a while fighting becomes pointless and makes you think that complying will atleast ensure peace @ home.

    Somewhat agree with Shauna, “Even with education and so-called emancipation of women, nothing has changed except the increase in expectation from DIL who is supposed to bring in the money as well as perform her erstwhile duty of cook, maid of family.” only I think things have changed but not enough.

  7. I strongly feel that women must put their foot down where they have to do so. Would the husband or the MIL agree to having a celebration at home if it was the FIL who had passed away? Why is the feelings of a woman/DIL always taken for granted in our society??? Why is an women expected to disown her family as soon as she gets married?? A father is a father for a girl irrespective of her marital status!

  8. It only gets worse once she decides to compromise just to ‘live in peace with them.’

    But i feel she knows it would get worse. she just doesnt want to undergo all the drama that would accompany her resistance.

  9. Once they’ve made easy choices, didn’t they give up the right to speak up or even crib???

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