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Wife Jokes Aren’t Funny; It’s Not Far From Here To Marital Rapes & Violence That Can Kill Wives

Why is it that only such extreme incidents can give people reason to believe that marriage can be very very very dangerous for women? Why do we not see the everyday normalised misogyny and abuse that we take for granted?

Trigger warning: This speaks of gender based violence, gaslighting, marital rape, and extreme form of domestic violence, and may be triggering for survivors.

Yesterday I and a couple of friends got thrown out from a social media group because we protested the sharing of misogynistic “wife jokes” that everyone but us found funny. Yes, not just the men, but also the women there, who supported the men in the group.

How can’t they see that these “jokes” lead to other, more severe forms of gender based violence that we take for granted unless someone dies?

We all remember the beginning of Covid with varying degrees of fear, anxiety, sadness, horror etc. We lost a lot of people. We saw the lack of humanity fully exposed again and again as we saw the migrant labourers walk back, and our treatment of our domestic workers.

And while some parts of feminist media raised concerns over how the forced lockdown made the lives of victims/survivors of domestic abuse even more miserable and dangerous, it wasn’t covered as extensively as it should have been.

No one asked themselves why we treat our domestic workers in that way. And that is why no one cares that a humongous number of govt schools will be shut down and privatised. Why? Because it ensures our children also have generations of domestic workers to dehumanise.

The same way, none of us ever asks how we contribute to the rape culture. Why domestic abuse keeps on increasing with no solution and remedies in sight.

Until it becomes as horrific as this

There were two small ‘stories’ that still wake me up at night. I don’t know why our brain picks and chooses some incidents over the other but mine did, and I will share them here since this happenes to my piece.

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A husband in Gujarat (India) beat his wife so hard that her spine was damaged severely. I did not follow the news later, and while i am no doctor, I do have an idea of how her life could be just now, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Oh he had a ‘reason’ for his actions, though. She ‘defeated him’ in a game of Ludo.

Around the same time a husband in Pakistan axed his wife because he asked for tea and she refused to make it.

Why is it that only such extreme incidents can give people reason to believe that marriage can be very very very dangerous for women? That they don’t walk away with a heartache and incel jokes/songs to soothe them, but are carried out on stretchers to ICUs or to morgues? Why do we not see the everyday normalised misogyny and abuse that we take for granted?

Marital rape is legal and thriving in both countries since not only the courts but even our majoritarian religions give gentle and not so gentle nods to such behaviour.

Unless we stand up against these ‘jokes’ and other ‘normal’ things like this

Yet two of my friends and i were thrown out of a group meant for ‘funny’ memes because we protested against one wife joke after the other.

What are these wife jokes? That “wives ruin the fun and frolic of men by getting married to them.” Or “oh she can do this only hahahaha”!

Who got us thrown out? Those who benefit from patriarchy, of course, which includes other women who laugh when wives are being made fun of, because this “allows” to exist in an institution that breaks all their dreams, dehumanises them, hurts them, and very often brutalises and kills them.

Because “can’t women have some relaxation” with these jokes?

Who benefits the MOST from the above situation? Men! Men who when called out for this behaviour cower behind a wife, a daughter, and their many women fans.

WHEN will we realise this, and stand behind those who protest, without calling them ‘femininazis’ or worse?

Image source: a still from the film English Vinglish

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About the Author

Nandini Arora

Nandini Arora is a writer who mostly writes for Hindi GEC shows. She has written a novel and is working on her second. She loves reading books and sharing baby pics most of all, and read more...

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