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5 Ways In Which Women Aid Patriarchy And Need To Stop Doing It

Posted: March 30, 2021

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Women everywhere are coming together to form a sisterhood in order to smash patriarchy. Yet, some continue to aid patriarchy; this needs to change.

International Women’s day is over. We put up posts talking about how awesome it is to be a woman, and what are the changes we’d like to see going forward. We shared stories of many strong and successful women. Some unheard stories surfaced. All women were celebrated. And, god knows we deserve it.

I won’t ask why women are celebrated only for a day. Such a day exists, great! We can talk about the issues women face on this day, and strive for the rest of 364 days to make the world a better place for women. It is a long journey. It will take a long time to achieve equality.

We need to smash the deep rooted patriarchy in every way possible. We, the women, must hold hands, form a circle, and shatter patriarchy inside it. Many women are coming together to do this – though there are many conditioned by the same patriarchy to believe they need to support it to be associated with the power that this gives them, and hence put down other women.

Knowingly or not, such women become flag bearers of patriarchy, and take it forward.

I hadn’t known gender bias till I got married

I come from a family of two daughters. I was the younger one. My parents did not feel the need to treat us differently, considering we weren’t boys. They gave us the best of everything. We weren’t stopped from doing anything for the reason that we were girls. I lived my life the way I wanted to. I earned well, met wonderful people. Then I got married.

Till my husband and I moved to a place of our own, I had the worst two years of my life, and it dawned on me then, that there are drawbacks to being a woman.

Considering that I had lived a rather privileged life till my marriage, I hadn’t given much thought to patriarchy and feminism. There was no need to do it because I hadn’t faced gender bias. I was bold, brave, and always voiced my opinions. No one had silenced me. I mattered.

Of course, I knew patriarchy exists. It simply hadn’t affected me. When it did, it was the worst shock possible. It was then that I realised women, more than men, aid patriarchy. They fuel it, keep the fire burning. They truly are convinced that it is how the world should be.

Here are 5 ways in which women aid patriarchy.

‘Being a woman is a curse’

Gosh! The number of times I have heard this in two years is probably more than the number of times I have heard my own name. Everything became a huge deal – be it cooking, managing the household or menstruation.

I always believed that you should do something because you want to, not because you have to. If you want to crib about it, then don’t do it. If you feel you ‘have’ to do it because you’re a woman, then fight for it.

I saw the women, at my in-laws place, toil in silence. They end up cursing themselves for being born a woman. And, yet, they subject the same to every woman around them. They say sentences beginning with, “As a woman you should do this or that.” I wanted to scream out loud and run away every time I was told so.

The harassment that I felt during my period made me feel that, after all, I shouldn’t have been born a woman. I could not forgive those people for making me feel that way.

If I ever have children, I hope that I have a daughter. I will show her how to love being a woman, not the other way around.

‘Men will be men’

Simply taking the pandemic in account, I heard many friends endlessly about how difficult a period it was for them. They had to manage the household, children, family, along with office work. Most men in the house didn’t lift a finger, be it to cook or clean.

Owing to my partner, I didn’t have to use the phrase, men will be men.  Most women, especially mothers, think that men are not supposed to do the housework. Patriarchy is so deeply ingrained that this notion is reproduced in every generation.

Yet, none of these women are happy about the situation. I wonder, if they are unhappy, then why don’t they do anything about it? If they didn’t succeed upon trying, how could they pass it to the next generation? How did they not take a stand? Who says men cannot be accountable for household work?

Moreover, as women, we should cover our body and keep our mouth shut. Lest we trigger men or entice them. Because, ‘men will be men.’ Many women, even today, believe that crimes against women will decrease if women dress and behave ‘properly.’ Yet again, men are not held accountable. Why?

Man = Money, Woman = Domesticity

My husband and I have jobs. When we return after a tiring day, he is asked about his day while I am asked to prepare coffee. When we were getting a new house, and the kitchen was ready, it was said that “my department is ready.”

Thankfully enough, my partner voiced his opinions against such stereotypes every time. We invested in the house equally. Yet, it is supposed that the kitchen belongs to me, and the entire house belongs to the man. Utter nonsense!

Women definitely need to stop associating themselves only with the kitchen. And whether they do or don’t, they should not push it down the throat of other women. If someone thinks it’s her duty, then so be it. It’s her choice. It doesn’t mean, it should be every woman’s choice.

Another thing that bothers me is that sometimes working women use their husband’s credit cards. I don’t understand this at all. I know that the pool is called ‘our money’, but I don’t think equality is supposed to work like this.

A man doesn’t have to tend to your wants. It is not the duty of the husband to buy things for you, if you earn your own. It is not your duty to cook for him. Earning money or preparing a meal should not involve gender roles.

‘Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi’

‘I went through it, you should too.’ This seems to be the mantra of most women. Mothers subject their daughters, and mothers-in-law subject their daughters-in-law to this. I always believed, if I go through something bad, I shall try my best to ensure that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

Some women align with my principle here. Some others pass on their pain with a vengeance, deriving a sense of power. Honestly, it’s quite sad. I have listened to many tales of harassment while being subjected to the same.

Such women have a problem when their daughters turn out to be strong independent women, or when their sons respect their partners or women, in general. If a woman is living the life they did not get to live, they don’t like it. Because, why should she?

‘Joru ka gulam’

‘He’s afraid of his wife. He doesn’t have a say in his house. His wife controls him with an iron fist.’

Patriarchy puts men on a pedestal, and no one should question their decisions. But, when they say something that doesn’t align itself with the very concept, they are being ‘influenced by a woman’. Most likely, the partner.

I find it really funny when women say this. I wonder, if they are saying such things, then they might be trying to do the same. And, most likely, failing at it.

Men are humans, with fully functional brains. They are more than breadwinners. They are smart enough to do their own thinking. Let’s hold them accountable for that.

Let’s not give men a free pass and ready weapon by falling in with patriarchal ideals

It is in human nature to err. It is human nature to analyze a situation, and make a decision based on that. Another annoying notion is that men think with their brains while women do it with their hearts. The last I knew, humans think and act based on their cognitive capacity, and emotional understanding. And, this isn’t gender specific.

As a feminist, I believe, it is crucial for women to stand up for each other, and stand by each other. If we put up a united front, we can go into this battle stronger. Somewhere men have begun to let go of patriarchy. They are now aware that they cannot take women for granted. It’s a good sign.

But, simultaneously, we also have women who drag themselves back, and everyone with them. All of it constantly justified by, this is how it’s ‘supposed’ to be.

So tell me, do you think women don’t aid patriarchy?

First published here.

Image source: a still from the film 2 States

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