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Under The Shiny ‘Progressive’ Cover, Patriarchy Still Remains The Same

Posted: February 26, 2020
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With its shiny new cover, patriarchy still lingers in the society. It just comes in the garb of ‘progressiveness,’ and makes you wonder if all your efforts were in vain.

Gone are the days when we would put the TV on mute during a commercial break. Because commercials are every where now. Halfway through your song, every now and then during a video and half the time on TV. The way they are made has changed drastically too. Progressiveness(?) has crept in here.

In one of the many path-breaking ads, the bahu initially wears a short dress to attend a family gathering. And her husband asks her if she would be “dressed like that.” So, she then puts on pants, a coat and wraps around a scarf. Her shocked in-laws ask her if she would go “dressed like that” and ask her to be herself.

In another viral advertisement, the message is to stand by tough moms. They do so with the help of a tough patriarch FIL who shushes the women of the house, even when you have a husband who has zero respect for you.

Is it as progressive as it seems?

Well, all this appears really progressive. This one  and many others with the same intention. I don’t have a problem with in-laws being loving and progressive. But is this our idea of an ideal society now?

If the answer is yes, it’s disappointing. Because this is how it all started. This will just be round two of patriarchy. It will turn around again, after all the efforts and agony.

Even today we come across dowry deaths and female infanticide in our country. The root of all evil is the belief that the boy child is superior simply because he stays with his parents. And the girl is still considered paraya dhan. That is exactly why we go to lengths to have a boy child. They are the insurance, you see!

The system didn’t begin with bad intentions

The system was started with good intentions. Women didn’t earn. And property was divided between sons and the daughters’ share was given during marriage. The daughter-in-law was supposed to be treated like a daughter, our own daughters were to be kept at a distance.

But we have progressed on that too. We can not have as many children, but cannot afford to have just girls either. So we took shortcuts and started killing the girls in other ways. It all boils down to the same thing- have a son. He will take care of you.

Why can’t we accept both equally?

Does it have to hold true in this time and age? Is it a one way road where the girl leaves her parents and the boy is privileged to live with his parents?

Should the girl feel lucky that her in-laws are sweet? And if they are not, try to win over them with wit, charm and patience like every TV serial heroine? Should all the girls stop doing whatever they do and just pray that her in-laws’ would be sweet to her?

Progressiveness is not in the DIL or MIL or both wearing short skirts, the DIL drinking alongside her FIL or things like that. Progressiveness is accepting that both sets of parents need love and care. And that girls are actually equal to boys.

Picture credits: Still from Hindi TV series Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai

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A mom who loves childhood, A woman who hopes for equality and a curious soul

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