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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Customs That Maketh a Married Woman

Quite contrary to my upbringing , I am now forced upon me the burden of the social customs that make a married woman. Marriage from a social perspective is apparently more of a series of customary proceedings rather than the union of hearts. Whether the couple involved in a marriage are satisfied or happy has become immaterial. All that matters is whether the protocol is followed. The conservative Hindu Indian society expects a married woman to adorn herself with Sindoor , bindi and mangal sutra . And if she doesn't , she is admonished and harassed for dressing like a widow. I have met many women who follow protocol and in parallel engage in adultery. But it looks like irrespective of whether a woman indulges in adultery or not , she should follow the "How Married Women Should Look" protocol. I think all those conservative sadists out there should come up with a conglomerated rule book on how women should behave and give handouts to all prospective daughter-in-laws to set expectations. There are of course other rules like

1. the lesser the education , the better for a least she wouldn't use her brain
2. irrespective of how ill/disinterested she is , a wife should always cook and feed her husband.
3. a women who is unable to conceive within few months of marriage is assumed to be infertile and should be immediately checked with a doctor. (Irrespective of whether that women is in birth control or has an infertile partner).
4. when to have children is a family decision which a woman has to merely implement.
5. a married woman who doesn't wear jewelery is a family disgrace, who should be kept hidden from public .She should never attend festivals or family get-together( maybe she brought fake gold with her.)
6. a married woman should never wear modern dress .That shows she has loose character.
7. she shouldn't have any right to expression or decision making in her personal or public life - that is purely the right of the in laws.
8. she should ,without advice, adopt the husband's family name.
9. if she has a job that could give a successful career, she should leave it irrespective of her skill/position/salary and take care of her family.
10. Trying to stand her ground implies she is inflexible and disobedient.

If the above is true, then I am sure I am not a married woman :)

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  1. Sad but true. Some or all of the points and many more are being adhered to....even by the most educated. Actually, ´educated´ is the wrong word...´literate´ fits better for the the whole lot of us.

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  3. Whether its a love marriage or an arranged marriage, husband is always a husband. Your in-laws decide what you wear and they decide what size of bindi u have to keep. They decide how much you eat and they decide when to meet ur parents whether to meet them or not. You get a better opportunity in career you cannot take it but infact you have to resign the current job to take care of your kids. Your in-laws want you to work and earn money an the same time work like dog and home and serve every one. When and how will this society change....

  4. Harika, I still remember that as a kid, when I was at a relatives place, the daughter-in-laws used to be judged for the amount of food they used to eat ! The custom/judgment was so prominent that my own grandmother had ended up eating her lunch/dinner hidden in a room. Families forcing their daughter-in-laws to adorn kilos of gold to keep up family's name (as though it is a competition) is a regular affair.