“Arreyy Bahu, how can you come so late! It is dark! What will people say? Tum “Ghar ki Izzat” ho. You can’t come home so late!”
“Bahu, you can’t go and stay with your parents for a month! What will people say? You are respect of this family. How can you stay at your parents’ place for so long after marriage?”
“Bahu, you need to talk less; you need to laugh less; You are “Ghar ki izzat”
It is heartbreaking how often society uses the excuse of family honor to shame and control women.
Isn’t it amazing how just becoming a daughter-in-law makes us so powerful that the honor of the whole family rests on our shoulders? The whole notion of women carrying family honor on their shoulders never sits right with me.
My mother was stopped from working because her in-laws told her “Bahuein Ghar Ki Izzat Hoti Hai … Ghar Mein Rahein Tabhi Achcha Lagta Hai!”
30 years later, things haven’t changed much. Still, many educated urban Indians resonate with the notion.
Many people still tend to control women with the excuse of family honor! My friend who recently got married, shared with me how she is being criticized for everything that she does. During our conversation, she told me how she is called “Ghar ki izzat”, but gets no respect at all:
“I want to work, but my in-laws are against working daughter in law. In fact, they don’t even like the way I laugh, dress or take care of myself. They always comment on my clothes, or on my smallest of the decisions. All this to tell me how I need to be careful as I carry their family honor now! But, when they keep disrespecting the very core of me, how can I ever become the respect of their family” my friend told me.
Even though many wonder why family honor is so fragile that it could be destroyed with a woman’s every small life decision. But, have you ever wondered how this whole concept of “Ghar Ki Izzat” is flawed!
In a country, where we treat our daughters-in-law as educated maids, is it even fair to call them Ghar Ki Izzat?
When as a society, we don’t show any respect to our daughters in laws’ roots, her parents, how can we label them as the respect of our family?
When we treat them so badly that we push them into mental stress, anxiety, and depression, how can we even think of calling them as Ghar Ki Izzat?
If we cannot respect our daughter-in-law’s emotions, needs, and dreams, how can they be the respect of our family?
Even in the 21st century how women being controlled in the name of Ghar Ki Izzat is just another irony that our patriarchal society is proud of. Sadly, even though many of us are being labeled as Ghar Ki Izzat, we hardly receive any respect!
Does it even make any sense to call our daughters-in-law ‘respect of family’ when we ourselves disrespect them and their life choices? So, next time please refrain from referring us as the honor of the family. We don’t want to bear the burden of shame and control that is associated with it. We are simply human beings. Just let us live like one.