Living in a country like India, (well I am not gonna blame India completely), so yes living in this world in the 21st Century and also India, patriarchy is all I have seen while growing up and even more so after as an adult, and old enough to recognize it.
I live in a country where women are supposed to know all the household chores as soon as they come out of the womb. Nobody bats an eye if a woman is going crazy, trying to juggle house and work together. But I do get to hear phrases such as, “Look at him, even though he is a boy, he helps out his mom so much”. Because obviously, he is not supposed to help out his mom at all but he is an amazing boy that he did so. But a girl does not have a choice. If she cannot cook, most likely she will remain unmarried.
A boy is asked to learn how to wash utensils because how else will he survive in the progressive world that we are going to become and how will he manage to live with a wife who won’t have such things in her house. Maybe a little better, but even now the reason is not this that he should learn to do it because it is correct, because it is his duty as well. He is just a victim who has to step up his game because girls are progressive nowadays.
Mom takes care of everybody’s needs. She is asked to cook various things because that’s what all the people in the house demand. But maybe it is ok, dad works and mom takes care of the house. But what about in the lockdown? Nobody is working anymore, but now mom is supposed to take care of everybody 24*7 (which used to be less earlier, thanks to schools and offices), and also entertain them because they are getting bored in the house.
Even if mom is not feeling well, she has to manage the work on her own. Nobody steps up, maybe her children but definitely not her husband because he is the man of the house and he is entitled to get all his needs fulfilled, whilst sitting on the chair all day long.
If a girl gets married and wants to stay with her maiden family for a couple of months, she has been blessed with a very good husband because he “let” her do this. Because obviously, now that she is married, he and his family have a right on her and they can refuse that she is not supposed to stay with her family for a long duration.
When series such as “Indian Matchmaking” use phrases like “you have to be flexible”, “compromise a little”, “girls have to adjust”, they definitely hit home because this is all I have heard while growing up. You are a woman and you have to be more understanding if you want to make a marriage work. Obviously two people have to be understanding to make something work but I, being a woman, have an added responsibility on me to stay quiet at times, to just nod my head and agree with the other person in order to save my marriage.
If a girl is short tempered, the phrase used is “she is like a man” because usually it’s men who have a short temper. Or have you wondered that a lot of short tempered women had to learn to keep the anger inside and allowed all the men to show this side, because again, men are entitled to do so?
I am not okay with this, and I know a lot of women and men are not okay with this as well. But nobody speaks up. Because we don’t really know what to do. If a girl voices out such things, she is called a feminist, by people who clearly don’t understand what this term means, and it’s said that she is being too aggressive. She is told to shut up and told that nobody, especially the family of the boy she’ll marry, will put up with such behavior.
This is not a rant about marriage, or in any way trying to undermine that guys do not have problems or are not judged by the society. I am sure that is true and many of those problems are a direct result of the patriarchal system that surrounds us. But enough with this. If remaining unmarried is how it’s gonna be, then be it. But I do not want to be a part of something that I detest so much. And I am not going to set a wrong example for the coming generations, that look at that girl, she adjusted and had a happy life, where maybe I might not have been happy at all.