I am a member of 4-5 women's groups on Facebook, each pertaining to a different subject – Money Management, Home Management, Entrepreneurship, Art and so on…
I see at least 3 posts every day which depict a woman’s battles against a patriarchal system, and its impact on other parts of her life. They feel comfortable about sharing their problems in a women-only group, which is laudable. It doesn’t matter that the group is created for a different purpose. More on that later…
Let’s talk about fiction. The storyline of a television show runs around the lives of women police officers and the good social impact they create with their work. The acts are laudable, and each story ends with a salute to the officers. I love watching it.
But then…. One plot centers around a baby being deposited at the police officer’s doorstep with a claim that the baby is fathered by her husband outside wedlock. Her husband supposedly stays abroad or is on a merchant ship, and not contactable to verify or deny the truth. How they crack the truth and falsehood in the claim follows, but what stopped me in my tracks is the scene where the brave police officer blames herself for the episode. She says,
“It was bound to happen. If not this girl, it would have been some other girl. Whenever he needed me, I was not around. I was on duty, solving one case or another…”
She is conscientious enough to accept that the baby is her husband’s responsibility (till proved otherwise), and she will bring up the child.
Fictional characters are born out of real life experience. Why do we take on so much guilt? Why do we hold ourselves responsible for the errant behavior or inadequacy of someone else?
And if society holds us responsible for keeping the entire family on track, why are we not given decision-making powers in equal measure?
We admire the few successful and well-established ones, but fail to see their struggle behind reaching there.
Back to the Facebook groups….
I notice a common thread peculiar to the Indian situation. A woman who does not meekly accept the diktats of the husband and his parents is shunned by the husband too. The rants range from
“He ignores me” to “He is nice to the child and parents, but not me” to “his silence leaves me flustered” to stories of mental and emotional abuse.
The women are upset about being financially exploited by the family, lack of decision-making rights, orthodox lifestyles and lack of support if they work long hours. All of which sound perfectly plausible rants.
But the writing on the wall is clear,
“Fall in line or face the consequences.”
What pains me even more is a bunch of women who tend to blame the victim, and advise her on ways to keep the family together.
ARE YOU SEEING THE FUTURE?
What about those who choose to remain single, or marry late?
There is an uncomfortable silence around their decision. We are evolved enough not to criticize it. The next generation is on that path. But we don’t know how to deal with them either.
And that is the way society will go, if women are denied equality and respect. They will choose singlehood.
We are seeing a tilt in favor of having kids by surrogacy. Child-bearing has been outsourced.
Like it or not, bold and life-changing decisions can be taken in other spheres of life too.
Somebody posted this answer to the question from a victim of emotional abuse.
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