Getting back to the era of Ramayana, we all have seen Sita’s mother giving her the lesson of taking care of her in-laws and her husband. Not only she was asked to take care of her in-laws, but she was also asked to treat them as her own parents, to be there in that house till her last breath.
Isn’t it amazing how our society still raises their daughter with a similar set of values?
When a woman gets married in India, she is asked to take proper care of her in-laws and husband. She is asked to give utmost priority to their needs. But nobody asks her if she wants to live with her in-laws or not.
Isn’t it her choice to live her married life on her own terms?
Is she being selfish?
Is she asking for too much from society?
Why should she be shameful of her choices?
Why are men celebrated for not living with his in-laws, while women are shamed?
In today’s society while we raise our daughters to be equal to our sons, isn’t it hypocritical to blame our daughters for asking a life of their choice?
We live in a patriarchal society where no matter how educated or career-oriented women are, they are the ones expected to handle all the household chores. A newly married woman is expected to adjust at her in-law’s house as fast as she could and to gel up with the norms of the new house.
Even though in-laws do not want a typical bahu, like Tulsi or Parvati anymore, but the expectations from a financially independent woman remains the same – to manage not only a career but also household responsibilities.
The realization of being treated like domestic help at home, even after having a successful career as that of their husband, leave many young women shattered.
Keeping up with their parent’s patriarchal thinking, many men don’t even entertain the thought of providing equal rights to their wives in front of their parents. But, the same men are much more progressive and supportive in their absence of parents.
It is not a co-incidence how many wives have an issue with their husbands treating them differently in front of their parents vis-a-vis behind closed doors. This is the main reason why many women don’t want to live with their in-laws.
But what irks an educated and independent woman the most? It is when she is not allowed to speak her mind in front of her in-laws. She is not allowed to speak up in family matters because she is still perceived as an outsider. And, what leaves her heartbroken is how like her mother and grandmother, she is also expected to sit quietly and to follow the instructions.
To live a life of dignity and equality, she is left with no other choice but to live separately. Hardly, she understands the reason why society labels her selfish to demand a life of equality. Rather than understanding how society made her life complicated, she is called home-breaker.
It is so common to hear the elderly ladies saying,
“Abhi abhi to aai hai aur bete ko maa-baap se alag kar diya.”
But who cares what she goes through – the stress, the rejection, the heartbreak when she is overburdened with house chores without dignity and respect.
Even though we live in the 21st century, women are still shamed or forced into compromising. It is time the society leaves this stereotypical thinking and questions itself – Why can’t our daughters live a life of their choice just like our sons?