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How I Realised That Patriarchy Is Even Served At The Dinner Table

By Sourya Reddy:

maxresdefaultA few days back, I was out with my family for dinner at a relative’s house. The call for dinner was immediately met with the men being offered and taking all the seats at the dinner table (that could only seat six people). One of my distant cousins, maybe six or seven years of age, insisted that his mother sits beside him during dinner. My aunt kept refusing, saying she would eat later, and that he should eat first. It was probably the good host routine along with a mother caring for her son, and the rest of her family. But it took me a while to notice and realise that all the men, myself included, got the first servings. We got the seats at the table and the first serving. Not because we demanded it at that point, but it was just given to us as if it was the ‘obvious’ thing to do.

The females members of my family, (upon insistence from an elder relative), helped themselves to food while it was still warm, but kept standing around the table. Not because they had nowhere else to sit but because dinner was secondary for them as their primary duty at that point seemed to be serving others. They kept putting their plates down in intervals to serve anybody who needed anything while the men continued to eat, partaking in political discourse about the cesspool that our country is and how we can fix it.

This isn’t a rant to show that my family is hypocritical. On the contrary, it is to show how deeply patriarchy is entrenched in our society. I would say my family is progressive in its outlook, liberal in its standings. But the concept of a woman’s ‘place’ in this world is so deeply etched in our minds, that hardly anyone, including themselves, recognise the many ways in which it manifests. Women themselves don’t realise the hypocrisy that surrounds them.

I am a man. I am a feminist. To me, feminism is not about reversing the roles. It is more than fighting for a place in society. It’s about the creation of a society where our gender doesn’t decide the lives we are going to live. To create a society where opportunities are not compartmentalised according to gender roles. An individual, by virtue of being a human, deserves to be treated the same as any other would. Woman’s plight in society glares at us and often takes form before our very eyes. Yet, we’re utterly oblivious to it. The root of the problem is the centuries’ old way of thinking that tells a man that a woman is his and that tells a woman that it is her duty to serve the man.

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  1. Jigsaw

    When one seat is available a man always seats his female relatives and family members first in buses, metros, clinics, airports, etc. As far as sitting on the table is concerned, our friend forgot to tell us that a man provides his female relatives comfort and luxuries while he lets them use him like an ATM. A man must work like a dog all day, with surmounting tension, having to meet deadlines, put up with a crazy boss, suffer from office politics, then come home mentally and physically tired to take the car to the mechanic, rush to pay the electricity bill, go and buy groceries, attend the plumber, take wife shopping, and run endless errands.

  2. The Hulk

    Seats are reserved for women in public transport buses, metros, government, colleges, etc. It is matriarchy which prevails in India. Besides, I have never seen only men seated at the dinner table at any function or party.

  3. B

    No one questions how that dinner got on the table. Men are walking, talking wallets, who must pay the bulk even in two income households (women earn pennies anyway), pay alimony, pay child support, pay for jewellery, pay for vacations, pay for makeup and cosmetics, for pedicures and manicures, purses and sandals, beauty parlours and saloons, food and medicine, luxury and comort ….list is endless…dumb feminits not willing to talk about the ingratitude shown by women.

  4. Truth

    I took a girl to a restaurant, when the time to pay the bill came she reached in her purse ever so slowly clearly with no intention of paying even half the bill. I paid the entire amount and that was the last time I talked to her. After that incident I never entertained any girl in my life. Boys who spend time and money on girls are dogs – dhobi ke kutte na ghar ke na ghat ke. Girls see boys as ATMs, nothing more. The sooner boys realize this, the better

  5. Sanjay Mucharla

    @The Hulk

    What you are saying is pretty much like “I’ve had 3 meals a day all my life, which implies the same holds good to 1.4 billion people in our country and therefore no one dies of hunger”

  6. Kriti Mishra

    To those who think it’s only right for men to be served first, since they are so-called ATMs to women, do not forget it is these men who don’t let women work. If you take responsibility to be the sole breadwinner of the family and aren’t up to it, please stop blaming the women in your life for it and face your own failures. What’s funny is even if both partners work, men still think it only right to be served first and be waited upon. Aren’t they just precious?

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