An Indian Wife Is Expected To ‘Support’, But The Husband Gives Her ‘Permission’. Why?

Posted: September 20, 2018

Say it loud and clear, ladies, that what you need from your spouse is a partnership in making family decisions, and support in your personal decisions – not “permission”. 

While interacting with people, one thing that I often come across is, most men think they are good husbands if they have ‘given permission’ to their wives for everything they have asked for. Similarly, most women think their husbands are good if the husbands have always permitted them to do what they wanted to do.

I have often asked these men if their wives have also given them permission whenever they wanted to do something, and I get a look of bewildered astonishment. I have asked women if they too give permission to their husbands whenever they ask for it, and they look shocked, and one of them even said this is not how things happen in life.

The difference between permission and support is massive. It’s interesting to see how these two are used in accordance to the gender. A woman agreeing with her husband’s decisions is “supporting” him while a man agreeing with his wife’s decisions is “permitting” her.

Things in our society are skewed. Especially in context to gender roles and freedom.

Questions about our own identity, existence, and about the most basic rights need to be asked. By ourselves to ourselves. No one can give women ‘permission’ to live their lives their way. Women just have to realise that and BANG! Men would be ‘supporting’ instead of ‘permitting’.

We talk about equality, we talk about not limiting a woman’s identity to the gender roles assigned to her by the society but all that talk, and all these ideas go in vain if we dont know how to assert ourselves. And that includes saying words like “No” and “This is not what I want” loud and clear.

Gender inequality is enmeshed in our social fabric. A husband cooking for the wife is a good husband but a wife cooking for her husband is well, a wife! A father cleaning up the poop of the child is a good father while a mother doing the same is just a mother! A daughter in law covering her head as a mark of respect is being a daughter in law and a man wishing his in laws is all the respect they need!

When gender roles and gender bias happen, they give complete comfort to one side while giving the burden of responsibilities and respect and duties to the other. This means, one side is so comfortable that they would probably not inherently realise that something is skewed in this balance. Thus, expecting the other gender to support is again confirming to the stereotype of looking for approval and permissions. The only way to do it is, doing things not because someone agrees with it or someone supports it or someone is okay with it, but because this is how we look at ourselves and this is how things are going to be!

Image source: a still from the movie Toilet- Ek Prem Katha

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