Let’s Confront The Misogyny In Indian Marriages And Call Out Destructive Traditions!

Dowry is still prevalent despite being a crime as per law. What can we, as a society, do to stop this cruel and misogynistic tradition?

The recent news about a doctor’s death due to her boyfriend’s refusal to marry her has been very depressing news to me, as well as to many of you.

Why didn’t he want to marry her?

That’s because he or his family demanded a very big amount of dowry to marry her.

All the people who are reading this post know what dowry is. Even though it is a crime to demand dowry, this has been a mandatory practice in this culture. Many of you have been married or have attended multiple marriage functions, and you might even say, “I or my family never demanded dowry”.

Ok, I agree with that point but this has been a part of tradition for so long that in today’s scenario, they don’t demand it but they expect it.

Dowry is illegal but still common

Let us take a scenario. In a regular arranged marriage, they search for a bride or groom with many criteria (but never whether they both like each other) like a good family, good job, same caste, religion, and wealthy.

Let’s talk about the wealth part which is a big criterion. If the groom is wealthy, they look for a wealthy bride and the dowry will be given as per their wealth. This is a huge prestige issue for the family these days. The family doesn’t demand it but if the girl’s family doesn’t give something, the treatment of the girl will be bad in the guy’s home.

These things still happen even today, but since it is an arranged marriage, in most cases both families are wealthy and they would give dowry. In love marriages, however, where the girl’s family is slightly poor or of a different caste, the guy’s family demands more dowry, particularly if the guy’s family is wealthier than the girl’s family or if the guy is in a good job.

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These are the cases where these deaths often happen, the guy’s family refuses to marry her if the demands are not met, and the family treats the girl very poorly in their house after the marriage if dowry demands are not met. We have seen a lot of cases like this over the years, where women are being killed by the man’s family for not meeting their dowry demands.

Now, let us come to the point of why these things still happen

These are all a part of the tradition in marriages across India, particularly in the Hindu culture. Many educated people still follow these highly misogynistic practices saying that they just want to appease their family members or it’s just part of our culture.

When you follow these cultures/traditions, which you might think are not harmful to society or anybody -and sure it might not harm you or your family in a way that you think, but you are silently being a part of a cruel tradition that kills many around the country.

Let’s look at the numbers

20 women die every day due to these dowry demands (source NCRB). This is a huge number! When we uphold these traditions saying that our culture is very old or very beautiful or very rich, these are the consequences.

If you think these kinds of things don’t happen in your family, then you’re in a privileged position. Use that privilege to question these traditions which are highly obsolete in today’s world.

Being in a relationship with someone is a beautiful thing, and marrying them and living together is the perfect thing. But marriage in our country is something not happening in that way, it is not about people coming together by knowing about their potential partner but instead, it’s two families coming together by matching caste, religion, and money.

Stand up to your family if they demand dowry from the girl’s parents. Even if they don’t demand and playfully say, “Do what you want, we don’t have any expectations,” we should stop them saying it is wrong. Don’t sit there silently, since you are not buying something nor they aren’t selling something.

All marriage traditions are outright misogynistic and highly oppressive to women

The girl’s family is giving money or a car or gold to the guy to marry her. How do you explain this?

She has to leave everything from her house, her regular life, live in the guy’s house, and has to look after his parents. What sort of culture is this and why are people not thinking about this? You call this the best tradition, and we are proud of this? We should be ashamed that we are part of such a misogynistic culture and even in this era we, as a society, are still actively participating in it.

Such practices are prevalent in the films too

Amid all these recent movies that are coming up, glorifying the idea of the ‘alpha male’ is a guy sitting on the internet saying there is romance in beating, kissing, or using cuss words against women.

Has this man never heard of the word consent before? Even if she is your wife or girlfriend, consent and respect for her boundaries are more important-that is real love. It is high time that we as a society change our mindset and avoid these misogynistic behaviours and traditions. Stand up against family members who support this or cut the relationship with them, even if they happen to be your parents.

Wrong is wrong whomever it may be and you don’t owe anything to anybody.

So let us start standing up to our oppressive, misogynistic family members or friends, and treat everyone equally and respectfully.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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About the Author

Praneash V

A Research Scholar, ardent book lover, and amateur writer who wants to write about the injustice in society in the name of religion and tradition and wants to break all the stereotypes. read more...

12 Posts | 22,936 Views

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