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Mother, writer and daydreamer. Also chocoholic and chick-flick lover. But mainly mommy. To two boys, at that! When not escorting my Elder One (EO) to karate class, I'm trying to get in as many cuddles as possible from my Younger One (YO). And when not doing either, I'm hard-at-work trying to maintain a steady relationship with my laptop. And as for the Man I Married (MIM), well, let’s just put it this way – even though we share a bedroom, our most meaningful conversations are held over the cell-phone!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Thoughts for Women's Day

A few days ago, Sagarika tagged me to write down my thoughts for International Women's Day. According to her post, "Gender Across Borders is hosting a new event this year called "Blog for International Women's Day". It commemorates the United Nation's 2010 theme, "Equal rights, equal opportunity: Progress for all!"

I don't know how much my ramblings are going to tie in with the theme, but these thoughts have been swirling about in my head for a while now.

After DaddyDearest passed away, the issues that I have with certain aspects of my religion and of Indian societal norm, just came thundering to the fore, leaving me full of simmering rage and a sense of disquiet. I won't go into the specifics and the who-said-what's, but why is a married daughter's relationship with her parents so insignificant? Why are our rights and rituals so few? Why is our mourning period so short? Are we not allowed to grieve?

And what really gets my goat is that "it's all over", I have to start thinking about my "real family" and take care of them. My MaaJanoni, who has just lost her husband, who abhors being alone, has to learn to fend for herself; after all, her daughter "can't just throw everything aside and go running to her" whenever she needs her.

I really don't know how this post of mine transcends boundaries, but it definitely hits home where equality is concerned. Until the norms of patriarchy are overturned, we cannot be an equal society.

Most urban men these days think that marrying a non-virgin is a sign that they are not an MCP. Yet, these very same men expect you to put their family before yours, without returning the favour. Chauvinism lives on...

This Women's Day, my thought for equality is that all children, regardless of gender and marital status, be accorded equal relationship status with their parents. That they be given an equal opportunity to serve their parents as they wish to and not according to how society tells them to.


Sagarika said...

So true M4... hate the fact that everytime a married daughter visits home some or the other one rubs in that she is now a "guest" and "shoshurbari' is the real home!!! Wat abt the fact that her entire life roams about the very "guest room"... care a thought for that i seek to ask them??? Oh ya.. but these r the same set of ppl who'll advise you to be nice to ur sis-in-law.. after all her baaper baari u see .... Why was hypocrite born M4 ??? ... Thanks for blogging .. wish you tagged it as Blogging for IWD for UN to know that u blogged... nonetheless thanks!

Mystic Margarita said...

You're so right, M4. But I think one needs to be true to oneself and do what's right - in spite of what is 'expected' of them or what'society' wants them to do. Tough battle, but maybe there's hope somewhere down the line...

Passionate Goof said...

These rules were formed in an era, where people had large families and it was a close knit society. So for a woman who has 4 sons and 3 daughters, the sons provide enough support. It does not apply to the kind of life we lead today, or the kind of families we have now. I did not know married daughters have shorter official mourning period, that is really not nice.

About men expecting their wives to love their families like their own, and not reciprocating, that really really does piss me off. I have seen so so many cases, and it is just horribly distressing. And anyways I don't think as grown ups, we can in any way suddenly adopt some one else's family as our own, that can never ever happen.

Equality to me, is not having the same set of responisibilties/rights or duties. To me it is equal freedom to do what we choose to do, and that is the only thing which makes us true equals.

PS - The comment just went too long, sorry.

Anonymous said...

I started blogging seriously just after my dad passed away and many of my earlier posts (some maybe be invisible now) were on exactly the same feelings.

Afterward I spoke to my children and told them I'd like them both to perform my last rites and that they are - both- the most important people to us - no matter what any elders or pundits say.

And I also feel our expectations from a daughter to serve her spouse's family, while the son gets to care for his no parents has made daughters become the less wanted child and lead to female foeticide today.

Loved this post.

wordjunkie said...

SO true M4. As always, you say it like it is.

Renu said...

It is true, but it was so for a reason.ours is a patriarchial society,even if it wasnt,both of the children cant stay with parents, one has to go out..either son or daughter...It should be more need based, if one doesnt have son, obviously daughters will have to look after the parents, and the same if one doesnt have daughter only sons are going to take that long as our parents are being looked after by our SIl, its OK.since siblings dont has to be either son and DIl or daughter and SIL..there is no other way of doing it.

Monika said...

very very true... and its not just married daughter M4... when a person passes away the roles of daughter are just to be inside the house as if its only the son's right to grieve...

Sagarika said...

Hey Tangy Tuesday pick :) .. hope this brightens your day :)

Piper .. said...

"Most urban men these days think that marrying a non-virgin is a sign that they are not an MCP. Yet, these very same men expect you to put their family before yours, without returning the favour. Chauvinism lives on..."

I cannot agree more! M4, you know I have been going through the exact same phase as you. It bothers me at so many levels. I had in fact published a post a while back(Drunk on Power) and then decided to take it off. But that was me(and I was scared of confrontation). But like Mystic says, there has to be a time when one starts thinking and acting for one`s self - rather than go about doing what 'self-proclaimed custodians of morality' expects one to do.
Lots of hugs and prayers coming your way.

Anonymous said...

Nice post.. the only way to stop the nonsense is not give in. Just do the right thing and forget about societal norms. Giving in just perpetuates the rubbish. Speaking from experience, I dont allow anyone to dictate my ties with my family. Change has to come with every individual, we should set an example for our daughters. Equality will follow hopefully after a few generations, but its got to start now!

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

@ Sagarika: I am glad you like this post. So many questions just keep coming to us, right. And I thought I had tagged this properly? Was I supposed to inform another site about my post?

@ Mystic: It's tough being true to oneself when you are surrounded by relatives who are there to instruct you otherwise :-( I held on tight to many of my choices, but a few I just had to let go of so that things wouldn't take an ugly turn.

@ PG: I understand why some of these rules were made, but many hold no place in our society today. And women having to give up their 'baaper baari' and adopting their 'shoshur baari' as their own...don't even get me started!
And PG, you knw there is no such thing as a "too long" comment on my page.

@ IHM: You know, I performed the last rites for my father, because my brother wasn't there. I was ready to fight for that right with every breath in my uncle or male cousin was going to walk away with that right as I stood by and watched. Luckily, I didn't face any opposition as a cousin sis of mine had already broken down that wall when her mother died. See, it takes one person to start. You just need the strength of your convictions to see you through.

Mamma mia! Me a mamma? said...

@ WJ: Thank you, my friend!

@ Renu: What I object to is that daughters aren't accorded these rights. Everything is done by a male family member, regardless of whether there is a daughter in the equation or not.

@ Monika: I know! Women are not even allowed to go to the burning ghats! Thank god that wall's being broken down too!

@ Sagarika: Thank you kindly!

@ Piper: It's just that the fight can get so exhausting and alienating at times.

@ Anon: Yes, we need to stand by our convictions. And we need to support others who do so too.