We live in exciting times when women are shattering the social norms at home and at work. But, no one could deny that the pace at which we are progressing towards women’s development, could have been much faster and better if women come in support of other women.
Our regressive society’s unfair treatment was never just about men. It is about everyone who promotes a social system where women are treated as second class citizens. And, more often than not, it is women who become the torchbearer of patriarchal society and shames and abuses women, who are bashing social norms for the betterment of women community.
These women, knowingly or sometimes unknowingly, become the champion of a regressive society, that stops women from achieving their true potential. And, one such person is my mother-in-law.
Through this letter, I don’t want to shame my mother-in-law; but rather I want to let others know how being unsupportive mothers-in-law they are not just failing their daughters-in-law but also the whole women community.
Dear (Unsupportive) Mother-in-law,
From being a loving and caring mother to my husband to being a loving grandmother to my kids to being a great chef, there are many things that I adore about you. But, have you ever wondered that there is a much deeper identity that you carried, even before you became a daughter, wife, mother, or grandmother? What about being a woman?
And, I am not writing this letter to you just as a daughter but also as a woman!
I want to let you know every time you shamed me or insulted me for standing for myself, you didn’t only fail me but also many other women, who are striving hard to take a stand against regressive society!
Rather than supporting me to be financially independent, when you asked me to quit my career for the sake of kids, you not only failed just me. You failed the women community, who are striving hard to empower each other!
When you shamed me for working till late and criticized me for not being a good wife or a mother, you sided with the patriarchal society that holds only women to be the primary caretaker!
Every time when you asked your son not to help in the kitchen or in household work, because ‘kitchen toh aurat hi sambhalti hai‘, you made sure that men never become an equal partner in women’s marriage!
When you told your granddaughter to stop raising her voice against what she believes in because ‘Sharam toh ladki ka gehna hai‘, you stood tall in promoting the regressive thoughts about how women are supposed to suffer in silence.
Every time you criticized me for not being a ‘sanskaari bahu‘ with your friends and relatives, I wonder how you were not only failing me but also every woman, who is trying to live life on her own terms.
Sometimes, I wish you realize how by shaming me or your granddaughter for fighting for equal rights as that of the men in the family, you are betraying your own kind.
I hope this chain of pulling other women down will break with women like me – who would neither stop their daughter nor would never shame their daughter-in-law for demanding the respect and equality that men in the family get!
Though I still pray that one fine day, you would realize that you were not just a daughter, wife, or mother! But you were a woman, who was supposed to stand with her; rather against her!
Daughter-in-law, who is fighting not just for herself but for every woman!