How Cruel Norms In India Are Backed In The Name Of Patriarchy

Posted by Megha Sreeram in Sexism And Patriarchy, Society
February 7, 2017

Today I happened to read an answer by a very popular guy on Quora. The question was this – “If separating a man from his parents is cruelty, what about when married women have to leave their parents after marriage?

The answer begins like this – “That’s the way Indian society is set up. Married women leave their house, go to their in laws house and little by little take over the responsibility of most of the things so that in laws, who are growing old, can retire and be free from major responsibilities.

This isn’t cruelty. This is how the institution of marriage is designed for India.”… and goes on for about 580 other similar words of justification.

Let me identify the basic flaw here. The justification that ‘this is how the society is’, does not really fare well with me. Let me tell you why. Society is made up of people like us. You and me. People who make the society what it is today, may or may not be alive tomorrow, and definitely not in a hundred years time. What we witness today in the name of societal norms is just what our previous generation has been forced to follow by their parents. Have we changed at all from the set pattern? Maybe a little – but we would agree that there is definitely a long way to go.

This answer actually goes on to justify the separation of a girl after marriage as something very normal and acceptable – while the same, if done to the son, is unacceptable. The author also goes on to say that if at all the girl is a single child, then she shall take care of her parents very well, and so on. Well, patriarchy is giving us permission, you see.

Taking care of one’s parents is the duty of every son and daughter. They could be the only child or one in a dozen. Every child has the responsibility to take care of their parents irrespective of one’s own marital status. I don’t think one would require the permission of anybody else to do this – be it the husband or the in-laws.

To adopt a family as one’s own immediately after marriage, and to abandon one’s parents because one is married, is just abominable – and to ask the bride/groom to do it is even more pathetic. More than power or authority, this move reflects one’s insecurities, and a rather crass upbringing.

Many things which were once accepted in the society as a norm, have now been driven away successfully. People fail to see this transition and go on to bestow mankind with their pearls of wisdom.

It is shocking to see that even in my generation, there are people who take the names of culture and society to justify something stupid – and actually get away with it. Yes, the girl who offered her unflinching support by highlighting the concession given to the single girl child – I am looking at you!

Quora is becoming a recipient for such butt wads – and I don’t have an idea why.

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