Anupama writes a letter to her 18-years old daughter. Read what she has to say.
Being a girl can be the worst thing to be in a male dominated society that does not allow its women to live lives as autonomous human beings.
From the day a baby girl is born, she starts facing the inequalities of the male-dominating society till the time she dies. Right from the childhood she hears stories of a princess searching for her prince charming; why not tell her the story of a prince searching for his princess?
When she grows a little, she is expected to learn the household work and help her mother in the kitchen while a boy is never asked to help his mother ever in his entire life. Why is it shameful to ask a boy to help in the kitchen when girls are going out to earn and do all the work that boys do?
Every one of us might have heard sometime or the other by the elders of our family to learn cooking, embroidery and all the household work before marriage to get a good family or to please our future in-laws. Are they not looking for a sensible, educated, smart and supporting daughter in-law? Or they are just looking for a permanent full time maid who finishes all your household chores free of cost? Are we preparing our daughters to be a good full time maid even if they can achieve heights in different fields of their choice? In India, we teach our girls to be a good wife and daughter-in-law but, we have never prepared our sons to be a good & supporting husband.
If a girl is not getting married because of any reason, she is asked to do ‘vrat’ for getting ‘manchaha var’. Have you ever heard of a boy doing any ‘pooja’ and ‘vrat’ to get ‘manchahi vadhu’? We see our mothers doing ‘karwa chauth’ for the long life of fathers, no one ever heard of any ‘vrat’ for our mothers. You might have seen Hindu wedding cards quoting ‘saubhagyakankshini’ (who desires for fortune) for girls and ‘chiranjeevi’ (immortal living) for boys as girls are not as important to live a long life.
In our entire lifetime, we hear it for more than hundred times that one should have a son. Nobody ever cares how a girl child feels hearing these words when she doesn’t even understand the difference between both the genders. From the very beginning she starts feeling less important in her own family. She starts feeling herself as the ‘other’.
When a boy talks about his girlfriends or shares his likes about a girl, his family feels so proud of him and enjoys the conversation while on the other hand, it is a big crime for a girl to talk about boys even if they are just their friends.
You can see almost in every second home the authority of a father over the mother and other members of the family. Male dominance starts from one’s own family and become enormous when a girl goes to her in-laws after her marriage.
Throughout her life, a girl feels discriminated against. As it is well said, “a woman’s worst enemy is another woman”, starting from grandmother to your mother to your mother-in-law, all will make you feel you are a person under the authority of male members of your family; first your father, then brother and then your husband. Feminism is not biological. I know enough women who are totally patriarchal.
Marriage is a second biggest punishment for girls in India as she is expected to change herself into something her new family wants her to be. She has to transform herself from what she loves to be to what the husband’s family expects of her. She has to give away her favourite dresses, food (if there is vegetarian-non vegetarian issue), hobbies.
No offences but, customs and traditions are made (most probably by men) to torture women that too without logic. Women are asked to wear saree, cover their heads and transform their selves into some completely other creature soon after their marriage. Do we have a special body part attached to us after marriage which needs to be covered by wearing saree only? What is there on head which needs to be hidden? If there is something, all the hair stylists and makeup artists should close their business.
Why there is a lot of difference between a daughter and daughter-in-law? If you want a daughter-in-law to treat you like your parents, why can’t you treat her like your daughter? If you can see your daughter in all the modern dresses like jeans, shorts, why you can’t see your daughter-in-law in the same dresses? After all she is also human. She also has likes and dislikes; she has her own taste to everything.
If you talk about our traditions and so-called ‘sanskriti’, man should also wear ‘dhoti kurta’ or ‘kurta pajamas’. But, they are wearing all the western clothes. Have you ever heard from a woman asking any of the man to stop wearing something? Why do people change according to their convenience? Why, always, is a girl is asked to adjust without any sense? Why have we all given rights to men to rule our life according to their views? Having different views are not wrong. Everybody have their own perception but, imposing your perception on others is inhuman behaviour.
A mother-in-law always expects her ‘bahu’ to do all the house hold work even if she earn and work more than your son. Even after a tiring day at work, when she comes home, she is expected to make tea for everyone, make dinner and do other household works. Will you also treat your daughter the same way?
How can a girl feel at home in her in-laws house if she has to live according to others choice? Are you not killing an innocent soul by forcing your customs/traditions and views on her? Is it a home or prison? Even our constitution gives equal rights to everyone to live the way they want, then why not our so-called ‘apne’?
A girl may or may not speak what she wants but isn’t it your duty to make the most beautiful creature on the earth happy just by letting her live the way she wants. And come on, she is not harming any one by wearing clothes of her choice, eating food that she likes and living according to her wishes.
Please grow up guys and be more human, more open-minded. If you cannot treat this special creature on earth ‘specially’, at least treat her ‘equally’.
Image source: wikicommons
I love to sing, cook, travel and read. I worked as a music teacher for
Every single point you have made is reasonable and logical Natasha. On the flip side -parents of girls who look for only the salary status of the boy as a criterion for eligibility for marriage, are also making a mistake of seeking an ATM for their girls with no thought of what kind of person he will turn out to be. Education and modernity must be oriented towards opening our eyes and thoughts to see logic and reasoning in our thoughts and actions. This kind of awareness must be encouraged and start young- especially in girls. These questions (about values and traditions and the norms we are expected to abide by) must be asked and the answers we get must make sense to us, if we are to follow them. If the answers do not add up and seem like rubbish, we should not follow them. We must resist, protest, reject and wipe out unfairness and injustice to any one- be it woman, child or man. Education can play a key role here. It is only when education can cause awareness and real meaningful change, that it can be truly useful. Unfortunately the sad fact is that, on the one hand while education helps a person secure a better pay cheque or a high status spouse – at the very same time on the other hand, educated people also display alarming thought processes and reasoning, which seem hopelessly stuck in a sewer.
Yes, absolutely. But the saddest part is many girls are so used to of adjustments, compromises and dependency that they don’t even realize there is anything wrong in their life. They accept everything imposed on them which somehow supports this patriarchy.
Its so true dear….keep it up
Very well written..an eye opener for many narrow minded people !!
Thanks Sowmya 🙂
Very well written… No matter how many corporate ladders we climb … We are not considered a good Bahu unless we are able to complete all the household chores on time singlehandedly…. No matter how much tired you are after a killing day at work or driving back home after being stuck in traffic jam for 3 hours… You shouldn’t complain when ‘the elders’ of the house ask you for a cup of tea without even bothering to ask , ‘beta, how was your day” … I think it will take 100 more years for our country to change their patriarchal attitude
Yes true.. But girls only can help themselves by raising their voice against injustice.
So true!! Girls are expected to take permission for everything!! Before marriage it PARENTS/BOTHER and after marriage from inlaws!! Thy just bothered about what society would say!! If y want to work give us a grandchild I mean are we child producing device?? Why don’t we have the right to design our lives!! It’s high time we all rise up for our rights!!!
Thanks Rubica. Its high time now girls need to raise their voice against the injustice and stand strong for their self-dignity.
It is So true….
the moment girls became decision maker, even your own mother start worrying whether your relationship with your relationship with your husband will be affected , forget about society. so real dilemma is ..when we start to change , people who encourages you became doubtful.and compare to those girls who are compromising .I mean this really a pity
Very well written….nicely covered all issues in one article..
Jag bhonda lana kane mun bhonda khana is the best saying. Indian culture is best in the world. Nudity no one likes whether in clothes or like else. Jeete sabhi hain but such thoughts gives way to western style. Sanskar are the prime factors of life style. No women is attracted by other women but women is attracted by males thats why exposing of body by dresses is not liked by the society. Earning bread no matter, one need to update his mind by studying saint/sanyasis books then one can understand the value of woman/man.
Mark my words.. These so called non sensical traditions and customs are never going to change.. Nor is the thinking and mindset of people going to change..
Very true and very well written…I shared this article with my husband…
He too is the kind of husband u mentioned.
Some people are saying that women need to stand up for themselves, but when they do they are denounced by everyone. I tried this with my in laws and all that has happened to me is everyone stopped talking to me, my husband wanted to break the marriage because his mom was so hurt by my actions which is standing up from myself. If i am not cooking and cleaning then i;m a lazy bitch. If i am to work or have a job its still my full responsibility to cook and clean everything as usual not only that but give all my money to mil. How is a women to live, and i’m from new york. My mother in law has 2 daughter and one is married but for her daughter she has big dreams for her to have a job and not do house work, and here you treat someone else daughter like a maid. Even when im sick its expected of me to cook. I could die and no one would care. My in laws have not spent a penny on me ever yet expect me to do everything and not even get respect in return. Im just living my life as they want me to basically being a quite maid who never objects to anything and does everything. Rest i leave it to god.
Yes that is so true. I tried standing up and faced too much opposition and oppression from everyone!
I know its true but its india and nothing going to be change here. You said na women are the biggest enemy of woman same things are happening with me also my MIL(mother-in-law) always thold me you are my daughter not DIL, but it remain a line for me i have lost my freedom here and nothing going to be change always she told me about our tradition and culture nd told she also did these in here tym nd same thing i have to do in my tym also. Nd they taught their sons like that only and being educated he is not supporting at all. He blindly follow his mother only. for them we are educated and have only bookish knowledge nd i dont know about our tradition. Ye sab article ban kr reh jayega bs.
I just want to apologize for the language used by the Singh guy. I honestly feel the same way about in laws and Indian society. You convey your thoughts about this issue very well and please ignore people like him and their comments. I’m sure he is hurt that he is not called the most beautiful thing on earth by the public. And sure that’s that his mommy has taught him.
Amazingly Well written !
Keep writing please !
I am reading this in 2019 and it is so very relevant to my life. Whenever I tried standing for myself I have been branded overreactive and disrespectful. Indian women truly have it bad and are supposed to take it lying down from everyone and just keep mum and please everyone and not have a life of their own. It’s horrible
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