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Our culture deems a woman the perfect wife when she forgets her own needs while suppressing her hunger as a sign of love for her husband!
Throughout my childhood, I saw my mother eat her meals after my father had arrived back from work. My father used to work at the airport, so his hours were quite erratic, to be honest.
Sometimes he would arrive at one or two in the morning after the flights of his airlines had departed. This was quite normal for him. During this time, I noticed how my mother would wait for him and wouldn’t have her dinner till he arrived back home.
If I asked her why she didn’t eat on time, she would say, ‘How can I eat when he’s been working outside all day? I’ll eat once he’s back. Don’t worry, I’ll be fine.’ Unfortunately, in my young eyes, what I saw was my mother self-torturing in order to be the ‘good and ideal’ wife and daughter-in-law!
I think in any marriage, it is nice to spend quality time together or to have a meal together, especially since we all lead such busy lives. However, our culture proudly (and disgustingly – to me) promotes that a woman is only a dedicated and loving wife if she sacrifices her hunger and needs.
Our culture deems her a perfect wife is she forgets her own needs while suppressing her hunger since the man of the house hasn’t arrived yet and he needs to eat first. Not just this, the man must be the served the best of whatever has been cooked while the woman is expected to eat the cold leftovers after the man is done eating.
It is quite shameful that a woman who has worked twice as hard as the man is expected to conform and suppress her appetite to please the society. The women are usually the ones who are solely responsible for taking care of the children and the house while managing their fulltime jobs too. Despite all this, it is the woman who doesn’t even get to eat hot food because she has to wait and eat only after everyone in the family has been fed.
It is, honestly, no wonder that women even today feel harassed, abused and disrespected, no matter where they are or how educated they are. We have normalised it. And by ‘it,’ I mean the disrespect and the negligence we have towards the women in our families.
Our grandmothers and aunts were conditioned to make such a lifestyle and such sacrifices to be a normal thing. They normalised women not eating before their husbands came home from work. And they also normalised women eating last, after everyone, especially the male members of the family were fed. So when women do this, we assume that it shows her love for the family. Now I think this is an absolutely nonsensical idea!
It is high time we started giving priority to our own health. This basically means we end these orthodox trends and eat on time. We need to make sure that we eat nutritious food and not the leftovers so we can be healthy and create a healthy workforce. This will also help us be healthy mothers who can nurture and develop good eating habits in their children.
We need to normalise that it is acceptable to eat when one feels hungry and that there is a right time to eat! Yes, we love and respect the men in the family but that love shouldn’t be conditional and based on self-sacrifice and torture.
We need to remember that healthy women can not only develop a good home environment but also contribute to the world in more positive ways!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Raazi
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