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The ‘perfect bride’ that a misogynist society seeks is seen in almost every matrimonial ad. This mindset is a cancer our society needs to get rid of.
‘Alliance invited for our only son (29/5’8″), well-settled, working in a MNC from a fair, slim, beautiful, educated, smart homely girl. Please contact__________’
A typical matrimonial classified advertisement that you will find in our newspapers. Looks like a ‘normal’ matrimonial ad. Except when you look closely through the fine print that is never written in the ads but always spelt and meant in the majority of marriage alliances in the country.
Well, the fine print goes like this –
The girl should be educated but not more than the boy. The girl can be successful and intelligent, but not more than the boy.
The girl should be smart (should be able to socialize with husband’s friends during parties) but also homely (should remain like a cow inside home, taking orders, cooking, washing without any expectation of any gratitude or thankfulness from any member of the family).
The girl’s family must be submissive and bow down their heads in reverence to the boy’s family, respond positively to their even unrealistic demands, and at all times consider themselves fortunate that their daughter has found a place in the boys’ life and house.
Hence most people in India want a boy, but if ‘unfortunately’ they have a girl then she should be tailor made –
She should be of average height. If the girl shows sign of becoming tall then her parents are scared for finding a taller boy then their girl would not be easy. Indian boys are all of average height, after all. In this case, however there is no support of any cream to reduce girl’s height. Prayers are only recourse.
Girls are educated but only enough to be marriage eligible. In some communities, where boys take up family business early in their life and are not educated beyond high school, the girls are pulled out of school when they in standard 5th or 6th. Else, they will not find a suitable match!
How much education a girl attains is secondary, whether she knows all ‘home science’ is more significant.
A Indian girl marries not only the boy but literally the entire boys’ family, hence she is taught to be submissive, not answer back to her husband or in-laws even when they are wrong and learn to ‘ADJUST’.
Basically, a girl should become a perfect bride one day. The formula for Perfect Bride is –
Perfect Indian Bride = Beauty Queen + Master Chef + Housekeeper + Nanny + Teacher + Caretaker + ….
I am not suggesting making individuals devoid of personal choice when it comes to choosing a life-partner but that –
Will things change in future? Some hope comes from few brave-hearts who fight the system despite societal pressures.
Take the case of Shahul Hameed, a dishwasher in Chennai, and his wife Bahira Begum who encouraged their daughter Fatima to clear JEE and and are now fighting society and financial constraints to make sure their daughter becomes an engineer.
These heroes need to be celebrated and they are leading a difficult change, a future where girls will cease to be treated as an ‘object’ and they too will have the power to choose and live with dignity.
Image source: a still from the film Kalank
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