In this 21st century, are we progressive enough to respect a woman’s rights? No!
Today we live in a relatively modern society, but to an extent either less or more, all these societies have been male dominant since the beginning. Keeping the importance of male gender intact, a set of rules were imposed on women on how they would live their lives as daughters, wives, daughter-in-laws, mothers and so on. Any change to it would receive a rejection and the person would be disregarded.
Although we are moving forward, some of these ties to the old traditions are so strong that it still affects us. An Indian society is a perfect example! In fact being traditionally and spiritually strong, women face more problems in a family, matching with the changing times. This has kept on going through generations. Women specifically in the role of a Bahu (daughter-in-law) of every generation has faced this problem and strangely are still facing it. Where, the family bonding has an importance, personal existence and well being becomes secondary. In the name of tradition she has been made to do everything one can think of....from getting up the earliest for family and not for herself to fasting for days, eating only after the entire family has eaten up, be it pregnancy or general health no or least flexibility is allowed on what to wear or what to do, when to talk, whom to talk and the list is never ending. Her appearance and whether her attire is fitting in the frame of Bahu will decide whether she will receive recognition in the family or not. Every woman has been living a life to satisfy someone else, and this has deeply impacted her own existence and emotional well-being.
A million dollar question here is, if a woman from every generation has struggled, then why this struggle is still ongoing?
Every generation questions the previous generation that why they didn’t learn from their experience and ease the life for others to come. The answer is not so simple! There are many layers to it and I will try to open some of them here:
Male domination and preservation of male ego in such families is still intact and comes in between the path to progressive thinking.
Over the time women themselves are brainwashed by living a monotonous life and become true believer of the way of life they had to follow. Hence, they expect that the woman of coming generation will have to follow the same under their roof.
The sense of passing on the suffering! “If I suffered and survived then why my Bahu can’t change or suffer?”
Double standards in the society: “my daughter can live the way she wants with us but will have to follow all that her in-laws would tell.” And like wise “our Bahu (daughter-in-law) has to live like a Bahu at all times.” Another double standard belief here is that the Bahu is expected to accept the new family and belongings, whereas, she is not allowed to move or change anything at her in-laws or live like she would live with her parents. With all these contradictions the girl coming in a family cannot mix up unless she agrees to let go her own existence and changes herself to her in-laws wish.
Blaming the older generation for being rigid, strict, orthodox, unwelcoming and disrespecting for their whole life, but, when the time comes to act as an elder they repeat the same mistakes.
At last but the most important point is whether or not your husband is supportive and brave to voice for a change?
What is the solution on this?
Change in this suffering can occur only with a change in mentality. Whether we treat Bahu as an individual who has the right to have her way of life or just as a Bahu who should forget herself and become a person that her in-laws want her to be will decide whether we are progressing in our life and society. Women will be happier when they will be treated as an individual first. Her thoughts, likes & dislikes and her way of living life will have to be respected in order to preserve her well being. Men and women of both the generations need to consciously step forward to bring this positive change in our society. It is very important for all to understand that when a woman is happy and satisfied in her new home and new life, then she can keep all her family members happy. The family has to let her be herself and let her take care of her life her way.
Guidance, experience and presence of elders is always valued in our societies but certain boundaries need to be respected in order to save the individual from being lost and deprived of respect and love that she deserves.
Respect and one's right on her/his own life is bigger than love, dominance, ego and traditions! We get one life to live and hence we should respect each other’s right of existence and way of living.
Always remember: One life! One’s right!