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This man’s rant about his wife not conforming to his beliefs left me fuming. Let me tell you exactly why it is problematic and infuriating!
During my usual lunch-time Twitter scroll, I often come across some great content. However, today’s scroll had me cringing my heart out. In case you haven’t seen it yet, there’s a post from a confessions page where a man-child is cribbing about his wife and her ‘attitude’ issues.
This 29-year old seems to be married for a month and has far too many issues with his ‘working wife.’ In a long rant that he posted on a confessions page on Facebook, he’s displaying his internalised misogyny where he says his wife ‘removes’ her thaali (a gold chain worn by married women) and metti (toe rings) and that she doesn’t even wear kumkum on her forehead!
I mean look at the audacity the woman has to actually do what she wants! While wearing these ornaments post marriage is usually a choice women have, they are quite often forced to wear them. And the refusal to wear it brings out the inner misogynists like our man-child here.
But that’s not all. He says that the couple is living away from his family and wondered if they should relocate so that ‘she can be advised’ by his mom and dad about respecting the culture. If you think he’s regressive like that, he isn’t! He’s actually pretty progressive since he wanted a ‘working woman’ as his wife but not someone ‘who doesn’t respect our culture.’
He further says that his wife doesn’t even follow the Tuesday and Friday vegetarian rules. Meaning: she eats meat even on days when she isn’t ‘supposed to.’ But that’s not all this ‘evil’ woman does. She’s also incredibly lazy and doesn’t do certain poojas that her MIL asks her to do.
How dare she have religious beliefs of her own, right? The man claims that she lies to her MIL about the poojas and due to that he also ‘has to back up those lies.’ Because whoever heard of supporting your wife in choosing not to follow certain rituals!
And for him, culture and rituals basically mean following everything pretty much exactly as his mom did. He actually claims that his mother was the best wife to his father and his ‘wife is not matching (my) mom.’ (Doesn’t that remind you of Akshay from Indian Matchmaking?)
And since she doesn’t behave like his mother did he’s left wondering if his wife is the ‘right match’ for him. But that’s not all, he’s also worried that his wife might raise their (potential) daughter as a feminist with her own mind, opinion and ideas! And all this after they didn’t even ask for dowry!
Whew! Where do I begin unpacking this man and his problematic behaviour?
Let’s start by him wanting to passively dominate his wife and turn her into his mother. Women are constantly compared by their husbands to their MILs. Whether it is her cooking skills to how she ‘chooses’ to work to how she raises her kids, everything is apparently wrong.
I believe it is because, in our patriarchal set-up, they are conditioned to only find faults in their wives while placing their moms on a pedestal. They genuinely seem to believe that no matter who the wife is, she will never be as good as their mother.
For starters, this affects both women. The mothers are often left with high standards to achieve while the wives start believing that they will never be good enough. And so continues the cycle.
Moving on, everything he has said points towards this regressive mentality that people have about how women ‘ought to behave.’ She MUST do pooja, she MUST wear a saree, she MUST wear her thaali and metti.
If he had these expectations of her, why didn’t he talk about them before they were married? I am sure she would’ve strongly opposed them and he would’ve tormented some other woman. Or was it because he thought he’d be able to change her? We may never know that but that is something we need to address too.
The belief that women and their ideas can be changed or ‘tamed’ after marriage. Remember Two States where Krish promises his mother that he will make sure that Ananya keeps her ‘toes in line’ once they’re married? I am sure a lot of men believe the same and our man-child may have believed the same.
Let me say it once and for all, women do NOT need to be ‘tamed.’ They are humans with their own beliefs and likes and dislikes and opinions, just let them be! There! I said it! Women are humans too!
All their lives, women are expected to fit into certain moulds that society has set for them, they are expected to stay within the societal boundaries. And any woman who dares to step out of these is labelled as ‘too progressive,’ ‘too modern’ and the like.
They are also expected to adjust throughout their lives. As kids, often girls have to ‘adjust’ for their brothers. At school and in colleges, their clothes are carefully monitored and they are made to make changes to their appearance so as not to ‘provoke the boys.’ As if that’s not enough, at work too, they are ones who are asked to ‘adjust’ for promotions or for certain projects.
And don’t even get me started on marriages and the adjustments that it brings with them. Right from the start, women are the ones making little compromises, some times voluntarily, some times because they are forced to.
Whether they want a court marriage or a grand wedding, whether they wish to change their name or not, whether they want kids or not, they rarely get enough choice. And if some woman chooses to do things on her own, we have her husband ranting away to glory on Facebook, Twitter and to his friends.
It’s 2021, can we please stop being such regressive misogynists? Let’s try to give women the rights they deserve so we raise a generation of men who don’t put their mothers on a pedestal and respect their wives for their choices!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2
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Reader, writer and currently an Associate Editor at Women's Web, I survive on coffee
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