This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Zehra Kazmi. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Yes For Sex If The Man Wants It: The ‘Mardaangi’ That’s Feeding Society’s Son Preference

More from Zehra Kazmi

By Zehra Kazmi:

Mardaangi.
Manliness.
Masculinity.

One in three men don’t allow their partner to wear certain clothes and one in five agree with the statement, “When my wife/partner wears things to make herself look beautiful, I think she may be trying to attract other men.”

Photo Credit
Photo Credit

66 percent agree that they have more say than their partner on important decisions that affect them and only 15 percent said that “my wife expects me to ask her approval for big decisions in the home.”

60 per cent men accepted that they were violent towards their partners.

These statistics from a study titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India’ published by ICRW and UNFPA, also found that more than three-fourths of men expected their partners to agree if they wanted to have sex.

Such is the situation in India today. Ideas of control, violence and protection colour men’s attitudes towards women. Many forms of patriarchal violence are not even recognized as being so by women, because often they are accepted as a standard part of masculine behaviour in Indian society. Ideas of masculinity are linked to carrying forward the family lineage. The son is the inheritor of wealth, the bread-earner and his marriage adds one more labour to help with the housework. He is the custodian of patriarchal values. Daughters are often not preferred by fathers because the parents have to pay for their weddings, dowries and due to their eventual severing of ties from their natal homes. This leads to son preference among parents. “Son preference” a custom rooted in gender inequality views the “continuity of the male line” as a matter of particular importance.

An important aspect of exhibiting masculine strength in Indian society is exercising control over a sexual partner. This power is often in the form of control of lifestyle choices of women. Masculinity as a set of attributes, behaviours and roles, is generally associated with boys and men. Traits associated with masculinity vary depending on location and context, and are influenced by a variety of social and cultural factors. India’s increasing rate of crimes against women and commonly prevalent gender discrimination raises a lot of questions about what it is in our society that drives men to commit such acts and why some women give it their tacit approval.

The research shows that men who tend to exercise more control on their partners, also prefer having sons. Nearly half the people interviewed during the research were unaware that finding out the sex of the foetus was unlawful and criminally punishable. Half of those in the scope of the study aware of the law, believed that the most important reason behind this practice being outlawed is only so that there are enough girls available as partners for men. Gender biased sex selection within their own families is not what is so abhorrent to them, but the problem of not having enough brides for sons is what bothers them. The full recognition of girls as human beings is still absent from our society.

You must be to comment.
  1. Babar

    A society that forces a man to work and gives women an option to do so frowns upon the patriarchy, which does not even exist in reality. Most Indian households run under the matriarchy, where mothers are dominating and control their husbands, kids, and daughters-in-law. As for decision making, women are more emotional than men, and often their decisions evade logic and are based on emotion rather than reason. Furthermore, women have legal, social, economic, and political privileges and advantages, but women still play victim. The media also shows sympathy to women only, even though it is men who are at the receiving end.

    Over three times as many men die due to dowry harassment, but media shows women as victims.

    From 2005 to 2008, as many as 22,000 men have ended their lives in reverse dowry harassment after allegedly being tormented by their wives. In contrast, dowry harassment has driven 6,800 women to suicide – Times Of India

    1. Zehra Kazmi

      ”As for decision making, women are more emotional than men, and often their decisions evade logic and are based on emotion rather than reason. ”
      Really?
      I am really sorry but you make me laugh, sir. So, are you saying that the political decisions that Hilary Clinton, Benazir Bhutto or Condolezza Rice make are based on emotions?

      ”Most Indian households run under the matriarchy, where mothers are dominating and control their husbands, kids, and daughters-in-law.”
      Yes, and that is why most women give up on their jobs and careers when they get married. That is why they are forced to have sex with their husbands whenever the man demands it. If you are referring to the ”evil mother-in-law” figure, often women internalise the patriarchy they have been brought up under and carry forward the sam narrow mindset and attitudes that they have been fed. From being victims, they turn into perpetrators of that very same patriarchy.

      Yes, misuse of the anti-dowry legislation does happen but more women are pressurised into paying their in-laws dowry or else face dire consequences. As for the figures you have cited, I can’t find anything of this sort on the NCRB website.

      Please don’t be blind of the privelege that you have as a man, the same way I am not blind to privelege that I have as an upper middle class person. Do you not agree that rapes, domestic violence, sexual harassment and female foeticide are a reality? Or are these things a figment of our imagination?

    2. Babar

      So, are you saying that the political decisions that Hilary Clinton, Benazir Bhutto or Condolezza Rice make are based on emotions?

      First off, the three politicians that you have mentioned don’t represent the entire human race of females. Secondly, their decisions are not the Quranic truth, and have been criticized on numerous occasions. Benazir Bhutto did not even have her own leading style – She copied her father’s and the result is in front of you. The less I talk about Hillary Clinton, the better.

      Yes, and that is why most women give up on their jobs and careers when they get married.

      Many women willingly leave their jobs because they enjoy the peace, comfort, and security of their homes. Many women would much rather stay at home and play with their children rather than dump them with maids and babysitters for a few pennies at some workplace.

      That is why they are forced to have sex with their husbands whenever the man demands it.

      That is why men, who, being tired after a long day’s work, are under obligation to satisfy their horny wives, willingly or unwillingly.

      ….often women internalise the patriarchy they have been brought up under and carry forward the sam narrow mindset and attitudes that they have been fed. From being victims, they turn into perpetrators of that very same patriarchy.

      Your excuse for women’s violence is abhorrent, and the very fact that you feel the need to provide an excuse shows what feminism and feminists truly stand for. What could be worse than having been a victim and then knowing doing the same to another human being, in the same place.

      As for the figures you have cited, I can’t find anything of this sort on the NCRB website.

      I am not sure that you have bothered looking.

      Do you not agree that rapes, domestic violence, sexual harassment and female foeticide are a reality? Or are these things a figment of our imagination?

      Do you not agree that men commit suicide twice the rate of women, men are victimized as ATMs, men rot in jail in false cases of rape, every 3 minutes a man is arrested in a fake case of dowry, fabricated allegations of domestic abuse are common, men are victims of physical and psychological abuse at the hands of wives, courts give men stricter sentences for the same crimes committed by women, juries give verdicts against men in domestic disputes, men pay alimony, half of men’s properties is usurped by women during a divorce, there is misandry in the media, sexism against men, men work all the dangerous jobs, etc.

    3. Nanda

      U sure luk like a person whose mother dominates ur father and ur wife dominates u ur sister bhabis in short ladies of the family rule on their men of the house but be grateful unlike thise others who hv committed suicide u inspite of women dominating in yr family u r safe lol): dhhhhhhh

    4. Varun

      Zehhara ji If a woman doest want to have sex with her husband then why doest she marry her> Oh I know why because she wants a beta male provider ho plays his role of provider and protector and get nothing in return and girls like these date a boy who is an alpha male or a bad boy because that what they need in their early teens and 20’s.
      and violence against men are more compare to violence against women.Men get mugged,beaten,killed and what not.Suicide rates are also higher for men.
      Facilities like Womens’s helpline and anti obscene call ,womens’ only buses all things come from tax payer’s money of which majority of tax payers are males.
      and which male privilege are you talking about?that privilege which forces men to stay in the sinking titanic while women safely leave the ship.

    5. Zehra Kazmi

      Sir, your arguments are so laughable that they do not even qualify a rebuttal. Keep living in your illusions. May Allah grant you wisdom. 🙂

      Salaam and peace.

    6. Rahul Mehra

      What so laughable , can you tell me ?
      I know when people don’t want to accept the truth then they will always reply the way u have replied to babar.

    7. isha

      “Secondly, their decisions are not the Quranic truth, and have been criticized on numerous occasions”
      “Many women willingly leave their jobs because they enjoy the peace, comfort, and security of their homes. Many women would much rather stay at home and play with their children rather than dump them with maids and babysitters for a few pennies at some workplace. ”
      HAHAHA!!!

    8. Atul Kumar Dubey

      Agree with you Zehra Kazmi, Babur just drawing a random conclusion.

  2. aradh09

    “Many women willingly leave their jobs because they enjoy the peace, comfort, and security of their homes.”
    If women were at peace and secured at their home after marriage, there won’t be these many cases of harassment, exploitation and physical abuse. No one wants to play a blame game here, rather we women would like to receive the same level of respect a man gets, when he is considered as a bread-butter earning person for their home.

    1. Babar

      You sound like only those women are abused who are not in the workforce, while missing out on the fact that abuse has nothing to do with gender or whether a person works inside or outside the home. And what does working outside the home have to do with earning respect? Are you saying that homemaking is not respectful?

    2. aradhna

      Sir, the best answer to your question will be your surrounding only. Take a note of your surrounding and assure me about the respect she gets as a homemaker when her husband expects to be treated as a king just because he is earning and his wife merely manages everything an anything related to their family and home.

    3. Fem

      I don;t know Babar. Maybe you can help me in answering your own question.

      “Are you saying that homemaking is not respectful?”

      Do you respect them? I do not see that from any of your comment on this page or anywhere on this site. So probably you are the best person to tell us why don’t you respect them and why they don’t deserve respect.

    4. Babar

      @Aradhna: I don’t look at surroundings to talk about 6.5 billion people on earth.

      @Fem: I respect homemakers. Do you?

    5. Fem

      I do Babar. Thanks for asking that question.

      I however do not believe you when you say you do respect them. Based on how you never fail to call them parasites who only like to relax at home and spend their husband’s money while ignoring the kids and perpetrating violence on all around including poor husband when he comes home after all the hard work. And this stance of your’s is for all stay at home women; going by the statements you put which clearly states – ‘Women are like this’ rather than ‘some women are like this’ .

      So why do you think you respect homemakers?

  3. peacemakers

    Zehra I am completely agree with you.
    Although I am not part of nearby society where Men do not respect or listen women still I do not deny the women oppression on big scale.I agree that there are laws which support women more than men but that is only Logical step a sensible government can take toward current situation where Men enjoy default respect ,security and resources.
    Yes there is always flip side where men get victimized but In less numbers and laws exists for handling such situation.It will be difficult for him to prove his innocence but this is price innocent pays particularly when fellow persons do not take things sensibly.
    Guys..specially Men please don’t take things personally or nobody pointing finger toward individual here. Writer just trying to project the problem women face in most part of society.

    Sensible Feminism is always welcome.

More from Zehra Kazmi

Similar Posts

By Shambhavi kumari

By Youth Ki Awaaz

By Lipi Mehta

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below