Ten more ways to be better wives and daughters in law.

Question 1: Why are misogynists so eager to tell women how to be better daughters in law and wives?

Answer: Because Patriarchy can’t survive a day without men’s wives and daughters in law sacrificing their lives, dreams, freedom and happiness to feed it.

Question 2: How does Patriarchy define Equality, Positive Attitude, Respect, Advice, Sensitivity and Communication?

The answer lies in this link (from The Times of India) shared by Sandhya .

10 ways to be a better daughter-in-law

The nagging, meddling mother-in-law is often the cause of worry and the central idea that can help better the situation is to have a positive attitude and to show respect to the older

Quotes from the article in blockquotes.

Positive Attitude

“The older woman is probably just trying her best to fit into her role as a mom-in-law.”

IHM: The problem here is not a lack of Positive Attitude, but Patriarchy, which demands that women fit into ‘roles’ of daughters, wives and mothers of sons/mothers of daughters; depending (emotionally and otherwise) on their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons.

Advising people to change to fit into Patriarchal roles doesn’t seem to have worked till now, and never will. Who is made happy by these Rules and Roles? People, including mothers of Indian Budhape ka Sahara, need lives of their own, freedom to pursue their own happiness and freedom to have and to live their own aspirations, self reliance, including financial self reliance (i.e. equal share in whatever they and the father in law have made together).

Obedient, sensitive and respectful daughters in law who give up their lives, peace of mind, personal freedom, happiness etc for their family for patriarchy are likely to grow older with similar expectations from their daughters in law. They are also more likely to see sex-selection as a traditionally and culturally accepted method for ensuring mothers-of-sons are rewarded with obedient daughters in law, while mothers-of-paraya dhan have to pamper their Sons in law. Why not everybody be themselves and didn’t try to fit into patriarchal roles.

Equality

“Try to treat your mother-in-law and your mother equally. For example if you give your mother a birthday gift, then give your mother-in-law a gift for her birthday too. If you have children, then visit your mother and your mother-in-law with similar frequency.”

IHM: If equality means exact same rules for everybody then what makes us make different rules for Indian sons in law?

From what I understand,

1.The daughter in law’s parents send gifts for her in laws.

2. The daughter in law’s parents in law have a say in when the grand children are born.

3. The daughter in laws parents pay for the expenses when her in laws’ grandchildren are born,

4. The grandchildren carry the in laws family names,

5. In patriarchal Joint Families the grand children live with the in laws, where generally Indian daughters’ parents can’t come and stay with her.

Sensitivity

The fact that the lady has spent a significant part of her life raising her son may make her a little sensitive when another person becomes the centre of attraction of her son’s life.

IHM: But don’t all mothers spend a significant part of their lives raising their children? Aren’t daughters raised by mothers?

As mentioned in the point above, the problem is not ‘Sensitivity’ the problem is Patriarchy.

Respect

Treat your mother-in-law with respect. Consider her older and wiser. She may have been through a lot of hardships in her life.

IHM: This is what I meant in the first point. So it is to be accepted, in fact expected that more than 50% of Indian women ‘must have been through a lot of hardships’? And we should to continue to preach the Rules that have made this possible – rules like ‘Consider her older and wiser’. If older was automatically wiser, why did we reach this point?

Those who lead content, happy, fulfilled, independent lives and mothers who enjoyed motherhood and had children because they truly wanted to have them – women who may not have faced any hardships – they don’t deserve Respect? Why do women have to have suffered to be Respected? Maybe there is a problem with the way we define respect? Display of respect to those in power, in Indian culture.

Women who do not give birth to male children, do not need this Respect from their Sons in law?

Expectations

Though most daughters-in-law are welcomed into the family with open arms, do not get disheartened if it does not happen. Give them time to know you better.

IHM: This would be easy if she has a life of her own (can’t stress that enough). Friends of her own, her own family, a career and some time spent away from those who are not welcoming her with open arms can make ‘giving them time’ easier.

Friends and acquaintances, most Indian daughters in law are discouraged from staying in touch with, are a support system that make the ‘hardships in her life’ easier to deal with.

Be attentive 

If she prefers to sit around being waited on hand and foot, then enlist your husband to help prepare meals and clean up.

IHM: Why does a healthy adult expect to be ‘waited on hand and foot’? Because when she was going through many hardships in her young life, giving up her happiness and personal freedom, she was told that’s the way it has always been, that’s a woman’s destiny and she was promised she could expect the same from her male child’s spouse. Why ask the daughter in law to continue the patriarchal tradition of sacrifice, unhappiness and misogyny?

If waiting hand and foot is really considered necessary the son could do that and of course he could request the wife to help if and when she can.

Information
Try to keep mother-in-law informed; call and let her know about important events. Keep her in the loop...

IHM: If there is communication, information is automatically shared; if there is a wish to keep some information private, that should be respected. Sometimes information is withheld to resist interference, control or ‘remote control’.

Advice
Your mother-in-law has years of experience. … She is only trying to be helpful.

IHM: Whose advice do people avoid taking? How often is advice given as a command? Who would you never ask for advice?

What makes some of us insist upon giving unasked for and unwelcome advice, so much that we are hurt if our advice is not sought or followed? What makes us believe that our advice is needed? Does loving someone mean we should ‘improve’ them?

Children

Allow your mother-in-law to take care of your children. For them their grandchildren are more important than their own kids sometimes. If she wants to, let her spoil them a little.

IHM: All mothers in law may not wish to take care of their grand children and that’s fine too. I think it would help if we talked more about  parents raising their own children and letting the children parent their children.

Continuing to ask the Indian daughters in law to ‘Please Adjust’ reinforces the traditional belief that it’s okay for in laws (or ladke wale) to have unreasonable expectations from their daughters in law.

Communication

Try and talk out things with the family. If something that someone said hurt you, do not keep it bottled up inside you. Discuss with your husband and your mother-in-law any slights or snubs and how it makes you feel.

IHM: Communication sounds like a good advice. One should also be clear about what is non-negotiable.

66 thoughts on “Ten more ways to be better wives and daughters in law.

  1. The argument that annoys me the most is “Consider her older and wiser. She may have been through a lot of hardships in her life.” This seems to be the general attitude about everything in India (also Nepal–my country of origin). Just because someone is old does NOT mean they’re smarter. Just because someone has been through hardships doesn’t mean they get a free pass to be jerks.

    They’re just encouraging people to continue the cycle: take verbal abuse because the abuser is old, experienced, and therefore has earned the right to be an abuser. Then, some decades down the line, you can rinse, wash, and repeat. Granted you have a male heir.

    There was an older lady in my work place who was loud and vicious at times. To give you an example: a coworker was having an argument with his wife on his cell phone way outside the office building. She happened to pass by him on her way in. She came into the office screaming (yes, literally screaming) that he was using awful language on the phone. Now, whatever the argument was, he was having it way outside the building. She pretty much announced it to the entire office. He came back and apologized to her! When I asked him why didn’t he tell her that her behavior was rude and out of line, he replied that ‘she’s old and deserves respect.’ Mind boggled.

  2. This is a fairly solid rebuttal to an article that I found hard to agree with, even in part. A few other quick thoughts that came to mind:

    1. There are no canned solutions to the ‘MIL problem’ (for want of a better phrase). Different things work for different people. If you feel you simply cannot be comfortable doing certain things, then that’s that. Sensitivity can help you see the other person’s viewpoint, and perhaps decrease the level of resentment; it does not mean you must give up your boundaries, or feel compelled to bow to the MIL’s (or anyone else’s) position.

    2. The meaning of ‘respect’ needs to be clear. One form of respect comprises of basic human decency and a general cognizance of another person’s space. Such respect must be extended to all individuals by default, regardless of age, unless they provide you with a strong reason not to do so.

    The second form of respect involves due deference to another person, on account of their superior knowledge and/or experience regarding the situation at hand. Such deference cannot be automatic. It should be granted only when the said experience is relevant, and when it enables the experienced person to make pertinent suggestions and take appropriate actions. Mere age cannot be a justification for this kind of respect. Older certainly does not equal wiser in all situations.

    3. Trite as this sounds, it is immensely important to lay out non-negotiables before the whole process of getting married begins (in the Indian context, it is a process). It is much harder to find solutions for these issues after the formalities have already been completed. Not only is it harder to back out once you are married, but in fact the stress of trying to make a fragile young marriage work in the backdrop of demanding relatives and unreasonable expectations can make even very strong couples fold completely. For women, especially, it is very important to retain a sense of independence, and not succumb to the pressure that is often brought to bear by the in-laws to turn them into ‘tailor-made’ DILs, kowtowing to their every demand.

    Being an ideal DIL may be portrayed as a worthy goal by Indian society, but IMHO, it is not worth it if it means being miserable and being pressurized into doing too many things against your will in the name of ‘adjustment’. Better to be a happy, non-ideal DIL than a perfect domestic goddess who is otherwise quite miserable.

  3. Dont you get sick of these so-called understanding people who are anything but? I’m sure lots of women must have nodded along as they read this thinking ‘oh thats all it takes?’.
    Just like those write-ups on why women should be loved because she sacrificed a lot seem to appeal to a lot of people becz they fail to see the hidden mysogyny. Anyways i giv it to the writer for effective packaging of words (it served his/her purpose anyway)

  4. The onus remains on the DIL always,to please,adjust,make amends,according to me thats the issue.The argument that she has moved to the new family is exactly why the rest of the family should make efforts to make her comfortable and see herself as a part of this new family too and not always vice-versa.
    how about some tips to be better moms of Indian men and better mothers-in-law?

    • “The argument that she has moved to the new family”
      I don’t think we need to see it as her moving to their family, even if she lives them. I have lived with housemates and landlords but that did not mean I had moved to their family. It’s the ‘moved’ I have an issue with (although you may simply have meant it in a physical moving sense, it’s often mentioned in actual relationship sense). It would mean that she is less a part of her birth family now which is absurd.

      I think it’s better to have marriage as the man and woman starting a new family (I don’t mean kids, I mean just the partners). She is at least as much a part of her birth family as her in-laws, let’s call both the second tier.. although in reality both the man and the woman should be expected to be closer to their own birth families. It’s only natural. This doesn’t work for traditional arranged marriage where an almost stranger becomes your primary family. Traditional arranged marriage doesn’t make sense to me anyway though.

      • I read a blog post about surviving as a DIL by a young woman who has resigned herself to the fact that her husband will never stand up for her. She has accepted that the onus to renegotiate and rebuild a fractured and embittered relationship with the in-laws is entirely on her. She has to bend, she has to reach out and she has to forgive, if not forget.

        http://sunayanaroy.blogspot.nl/2007/09/survival-guide-for-daughters-in-law.html

        The post was praised for its pragmatic maturity, for the writer’s willingness to take the high road and be the better person and accept that the in-laws wouldn’t come around unless she gave in.

        While I applaud the writer’s generosity of spirit and understand her desire to heal a fractured relationship with the in-laws for her son’s sake, I also wonder why the husband and in-laws did not feel a similar compelling desire to reach out, to restore harmony and rebuild burnt bridges.

        Why should the DIL always be the bigger, better person? Why is it ok for the in-laws to act like stubborn. petulant children simply because the DIL doesn’t meet with their approval?

        I am told that age brings with it an increased capacity for tolerance, for forgiveness and for accepting and receiving love. How come then, that many Indian in-laws display the emotional maturity of an adolescent?

        • //”Why should the DIL always be the bigger, better person? Why is it ok for the in-laws to act like stubborn. petulant children”//

          And the younger in years DIL is supposed to be act mature, respect and obey such “stubborn petulant children”!

      • You are right Carvaka I meant moving in totally in the physical sense as is the case most of the times.
        Also I absolutely am of the opinion that whether a couple lives with other people of the family or on their own they are an independent entity and should be respected likewise,they as adults do not need any interference form any set of parents.

  5. I think it would help if there are articles on how to know yourself, accept yourself and be assertive rather than kindly adjust. Most Indian women are already fed this adjustment crap from years. If we have articles also reinforcing this sense of obligation the conditioning only gets deeper. We need to unlearn all that which brings gives unfair power to certain people based on age. It takes years to get rid of this conditioning incase one does realise the unfairness of it. We need articles which make women stand up for themselves and not make then bow down to patriarchy. We need to have articles which help women get rid of culturally induced guilt that comes along with refusing to conform to little and big things like wearing a saree, getting domestic help for their child, MIL etc. Please leave DILs alone to be what they are. Really is that too much to ask?

  6. Ah, The TOI gives more brain-dead advice! Especially galling how all the onus is on the DIl to offer the other cheek, so to speak. Isn’t she a person with feelings? Aren’t her parents, parents who have brought up children? And I really like your point about equality, IHM. Equality is apparently a great virtue for the DIL and her family to follow, but why do we never ask the son-in-law/his family to treat everyone equally? The dangerous thing about this piece is that it reinforces misogynistic attitudes and is published in a national daily, to be read by younger women who are “socialized” into believing that this is how it should be. If we do not protest strongly enough about such trash, the article writer faces no repercussions, and TOI continues to produce similar “advice”, giving this bile “acceptability”.

  7. My MIL verbally abuses me almost every day for not being the ideal DIL. Although I am always polite not because she is old but because I am nice (;), she has absolutely no control over her tongue. This has completely broken down our communication. She is expecting an apology from me whereas I am expecting her to control her temper and talk to me decently. The other day my husband,her son, was abused too for trying to reason with her. One of her words was ridiculous and childishly spoken that shocked & hurt my husband. Although he quickly realised it and moved on, she couldn’t. Next morning she wept like a child and told me him not to ‘punish her’ by his silence. What baffled me was, she was willing to apologize (out of guilt and sharp tongue) to her son when she realised she has hurt him with her words but is unwilling to do the same to DIL to whom she speaks this way everyday and knows it hurts.

    I agree with PT’s POV. Boundaries have to be set and should be dealt depending on the situation. There is no tailor made ans.

    • ” Although I am always polite not because she is old but because I am nice (;)”
      Maybe you are being too nice? Would you be polite to someone verbally abusing you if she wasn’t your MIL?

      “What baffled me was, she was willing to apologize (out of guilt and sharp tongue) to her son when she realised she has hurt him with her words but is unwilling to do the same to DIL to whom she speaks this way everyday and knows it hurts.”
      Just curious, why doesn’t she think that hurting you hurts him too? What is his role when you are being verbally abused?

      • Well said carvaka, why be nice to this MIL who is basically abusive and no respect for the DIL. Why does she deserve any niceness ? Why is it so important for a women to be nice to everyone? Her self worth and dignity is above all else, I would rather be a bad ass bitch with zero respect for those who have never reciprocated any respect or dignity toward, even if it is the mother in law herself. Tit-for-tat is the philosophy we should teach our girls when it comes to demanding respect in our lives, otherwise we will remain doormats forever. Gandhi teaching of showing your other cheek when someone hits you is bullshit, tit for tat and make the other person blind if they dare mess with you, that’s why I would teach my daughter.

        • ” I would rather be a bad ass bitch with zero respect for those who have never reciprocated any respect or dignity toward”
          Love it and totally agree! Respect needs to be earned and niceness needs to be reciprocated.

  8. Excellently put IHM.

    I didn’t realise equality was about buying people the same gift. I thought it was asserting that you be treated equally to any other man/ woman (including your partner)! Silly me.

    I also often see people saying things like ‘why can’t girls respect their parents by marrying someone of their choice?’. Patriarchal conditioning seems to render people incapable of differentiating between ‘respect’ and ‘obey’. I tell my parents that my bf and I want to get married and introduce him to them = respect. I let my parents choose who I should have sexy-times with and have babies with = creepy obedience.

    If I have a daughter, it will be my utmost effort to never let anyone tell her that she must be a good wife or DIL.. or even a wife/ DIL at all. Brain washing people to following patriarchy has killed too many women, literally and figuratively. It will be my utmost effort to never let our culture prep my daughter and sister for being a DIL or a wife. I detest how often I was ‘jokingly’ told by all and sundry while growing up about what my future ‘saas’ will think about this or that.

    • “Brain washing people to following patriarchy has killed too many women, literally and figuratively”

      This is so true. For example, all of us female bloggers and commenters, spend so much time and energy discussing, solving family problems that are culturally created and completely avoidable.

      If Indian women were allowed control over their own lives, led lives that were fullfilling, then most would not dream of becoming an MIL just to wield power and control.

      Women who become insecure, dominating and controlling MILs often have a history of suffering and an emotionally absent husband.

      Indian society instills in women a deep contempt for their own sex.

      Women are conditioned to direct all their positive emotions towards men. They are also conditioned to vent their negative emotions towards other women.

      So men are pampered, indulged and validated by women. Women are at the recieving end of another woman’s anger, insecurity and frustration.

      Instead of making men the focal point of our lives, we women need to live for ourselves, as ourselves. These MIL-DIL conflicts would decrease if we didn’t define ourselves in relation to men.

      • “Instead of making men the focal point of our lives, we women need to live for ourselves, as ourselves.” Yes please! :-)

      • I agree. Patriarchy is pure (evil) genius. Get the oppressed to fight the oppressed. Get your slaves to be your soldiers. While you look on, royally, benevolently at the poor fighting souls.

        First take away the woman’s identity, so she defines herself only in relation to her husband and children. (Slave created).
        Now as she gets older, give her limited powers. By now she’s so desperate she’ll be happy with any scraps you throw at her. Tell her her power is contingent on her ability to keep the younger women under control. She eagerly signs up for this job. (Slave turned into soldier).
        She takes her new job seriously, harasses her dil, impresses the king, and wins accolades. (Oppressed slave/soldier creates new slave).
        The dil fights back until her spirit is broken. Now dil gets it – the only way out is up – to get promoted to soldier. So she waits to get older.
        Cycle repeats itself.
        The kings (men) don’t have to lift a finger. They can shake their heads sadly and say things like, “Women are women’s worst enemies.” They can occasionally complain, “Don’t force me to choose between you two (salve turned soldier and newly recruited slave) – meaning “You guys work it out/fight it out/I don’t care.”

        Like I said, pure genius. Even Hitler couldn’t have conceived of a better strategy.

        • Yes!

          “First take away the woman’s identity, so she defines herself only in relation to her husband and children. (Slave created).”
          This gets my goat. This one is so in-your-face and yet some women think it’s romantic. How have they convinced us of that? Women’s names are openly changed to reflect the relationship to the man, first middle and last name (in different combinations). It reeks of slavery.

        • Hitler probably got the idea after seeing traditional Indian families in action. ;) That’s why, in the concentration camps, some prisoners were recruited as informants whose job it was to kept all the other prisoners in line. A lot like how traditional MILs “induct” and “train” the new DIL in the ways of the family.

          That was a very apt analogy Priya. The oppressed become oppressors. :(

      • //Women are conditioned to direct all their positive emotions towards men. They are also conditioned to vent their negative emotions towards other women.
        So men are pampered, indulged and validated by women. Women are at the recieving end of another woman’s anger, insecurity and frustration. //

        This!!

  9. Deal with depression, early on. Acknowledge there may be a problem that’s keeping you from feeling happy or letting others be. Get help. I feel there is a need for a cultural revolution in India. We really need to address depression.

    It is not the suffering that makes one make other people suffer. It is not knowing how to deal with your emotions that makes you act irrationally. Emotions that you feel too ashamed to talk about at a certain age. Love, s*x, romance…A MIL’s need for all three is the same as a DIL’s need. We Indians put an age bar for everything which is so wrong.
    Top that with emotional insecurity. The only love of her life, her son…is now in love with another woman – no matter how ridiculous this sounds, the thing about emotional incest is true. Uncontrolled emotions make people very irrational. These women are depressed. And they have no help.

    • I absolutely agree. Indian families have very little understanding of emotionally healthy relationships that are based not on social hierarchies, but on mutual respect, tolerance, understanding and respecting boundaries.

      I find the whole idea of respecting somebody just because they belong to husband’s family utterly, insanely ridiculous.

      • Very true. In many cases, the mil feels ‘abandoned’ when the son gets married, and continues to fight for what she ‘lost’. Almost as if the love and attachment she failed to get from her own husband has been substituted with attachment to her own son. Oedipus complex? It’s unhealthy and needs to be addressed.

        • A family friend recently told us of how her virtuous 19 year old son has promised her that his future wife will never take the mother’s place. This guy is not popular with girls, not marriageable age and doesn’t even have a girlfriend. SO much insecurity in the mother and for what? I don’t understand the conflict between the mother – wife or father – husband roles at all! Oedipus complex indeed!

  10. Very nicely put IHM!

    Does the author of the article even know what he/she is talking about? It’s generally men or women who’ve never dealt with these kind of situations, that talk like that..

    All in the name of improving the life of a DIL(!!!)..
    give-up control of your life, control of your children’s life, wait upon your in-laws hand and foot, keep them informed of all your activities and take their advice(even the bad ones) in good spirit and follow them….
    in short, live your life the way they “allow” you to.. you will be very happy… yeah, right!!!

  11. First off, I find the article’s title offensive. Articles that ask someone to be a better daughter/son/sister/husband etc. make me suspicious. They imply that there is a set way for people to be behave, otherwise they are ‘not being nice’, hence ‘deserve’ abuse. This assumption is fundamentally wrong. People are different. You can have your own personality and still make your relationships work. A d-i-l is a human being first, she’s not a clone. She may be shy or opinionated, ambitious or laid back, organized or spontaneous, talkative or quiet. There is no prescription for how someone ‘ought to be’ as long as they practice good human values such as decency and honesty – and these values are common to all human beings, so why apply them only to d-i-ls?

    Second, the problems highlighted here are not ‘mother-in-law/daughter-in-law’ problems. They are human problems and they occur universally when we put 2 human beings together under the same roof, with no clear boundaries or unfair rules. Roommates fight, even best friends fight when the rules are unfair. Let’s assume these 2 guys agree to share an apartment. The landlord explains the rules to the younger guy: “Your older roommate can insult you. You can’t talk back because he’s older and because he moved in first. Also, you need to do all of the cooking, cleaning, etc, while he may or may not choose to help you. He might even tell you to learn to cook properly. When you go to your parent’s house, be sure to bring back lots of gifts for your roommate. You don’t want to have kids yet? Wait, check with your roommate first. He loves the idea of kids running around. Oh, and also, you might need to give up that job, it doesn’t leave you with enough time to cook plus he thinks it’s giving you some attitude. You want to go our for a coffee with your wife? Please do it discreetly, otherwise it might hurt your roommate’s feelings.”

    What would be the younger roommate’s reaction to this? He’s gonna pack his bags and leave pronto. But if the younger roommate is financially dependent and stuck in the roommate agreement,and his own parents won’t support him, he may protest/fight but can’t leave and his life will be hell.

    This is precisely what happens in joint families. If we make the son live with his in-laws, make him financially dependent and attach a stigma to his leaving, and he’s stuck with these unfair rules, then we will starts seeing articles on ’10 ways to be a better son-in-law’.

    This is why a joint family doesn’t work. Even the best of people are bound to fight, when forced to live together with zero boundaries and unfair rules.

    • Earlier today one of my mother’s friends was telling us that when her daughter got married, she told her daughter’s MIL, “My daughter is 22 years old, cannot cook and is like a blank slate. You can write what you wish on it. She’s yours now, to mould as you wish.”

      Basically, she gave her daughter’s MIL a carte blanche about how she wanted to treat her daughter.

      A son-in-law is treated as a full-fledged human being. A DIL is compared to a blank slate; is thought of as a commodity, as a transferbale asset (or liability), an emblem of family honor. In short, she is everything BUT a normal human being.

      • I remember reading once, in a comment on one of IHM’s posts, how a young woman’s father told her at the time of her wedding, you are still our much loved daughter, this is still your home, you are very much welcome here at all times–just don’t come here after fighting with your husband/ inlaws.

        How sad that that the blame for any future ‘fights’ should be heaped on her in advance, that parents should seal off the emergency exits in this manner, that the daughter should be expected to ‘adjust’ no matter what. How terrible that parents of Indian daughters should value society over the happiness and well-being of their own flesh and blood.

    • True Priya. I really get irritated when I hear people say ” women are only women’s enemy – see MIL-DIL relationship”, “one woman can’t stand other – see MIL-DIL relationship” and people make jokes and serials out of MIL – DIL relationship and husbands/sons act as if they suffer because of it and are helpless. Why don’t people talk about son-in law – MIL/FIL relationship? Is that relationship very smooth and friendly always ? Why would people talk about it, when patriarchy doesn’t demand you to be better son in laws. Girl’s parent should keep out of the couple’s relationship and treat son in law and his parents as Kings and Queens. What if this was not the norm, what if the husband went to wife’s home after marriage, where the girl’s father had come after marriage and the girl’s father had been bossed over by her mother and his MIL throughout his life and the father and his friends/relatives valued each other or made fun of each other based on one’s ability to control life of his SIL, the society expected the SIL to serve the wife’s family and FIL hands and foots and eat, walk, work, dress as per FIL’s choice, FIL always spoon fed his daughter and thinks the SIL is incapable of taking care of his precious daughter, how would the FIL-SIL relationship be ? Even without all these expectations from SIL and privileges to girl’s father, the SIL-FIL relationship is not always rosy, then just think how it would have turned if such were the norms?

  12. 10 Ways to Have Happier Families (Rebuttal to TOI’s Article)

    1. The parents-in-law on both sides need to have a life. The older couple should enjoy each other’s company, have friends, and interests of their own.
    2. The younger (newly married) couple need to find their own place to live.
    3. The younger couple can visit parents-in-law on both sides and vice versa. They can enjoy a weekend gathering or a monthly outing, have a fun time, share what’s going on, listen and empathize without interfering.
    4. Big decisions regarding kids, career, finances etc. will to be decided between husband and wife, making sure both of their needs are taken into consideration.
    5. Smaller decisions such as whether to wear jeans or salwar kameez, whether to grow a beard or not, will be decided by the individuals themselves.
    6. The younger couple can help both sets of parents financially and otherwise, depending on their ability.
    7. If the couple chooses to have kids (yes, it’s a choice), the kids will be raised as per the younger couple’s ideas on parenting.
    8. The grandparents on either side will not directly refute every rule made by the parents, and will respect and remind the children of their parent’s rules.
    9. All family members (grandparents, parents, and kids) will be respectful to each other at all times, regardless of age, gender, or financial status. Disagreements will be expressed calmly and politely with no yelling, shouting, or name calling.
    10. Love, acceptance, trust, respect, and compassion will be the foundation of all relationships within the family.

    • Awesome, I am tempted to stay single and continue eating maggi noodles+wine for dinner until such an Indian guy and his family becomes a reality. Much better than dealing with a MIL from hell given my zero cooking or other domestic skills.

      • The right guy will not only share your maggi noodles but even make the maggi noodles for you half the time. I think it’s a myth that all Indian men are like the typical ‘indian man’. They want us to believe this so we lower our expectations and keep marrying the jerks and working our ass off to please them. Not necessary. :)

        • I agree. There are decent guys out there, like the thinking, rational men on this forum, like some of the men in my family (some, not all), and some at work. Let’s have high expectations and let’s not settle. That’s the only way our society will change. One equal marriage (or relationship) at a time.

  13. I would like to point out that patriarchy REALLY breathes via its oppression of MEN!

    Let me remind you that back in the old days, staying at home was a LUXURY, because it was so much more dangerous outside. Want to kill a wild boar or a bison with a stone hammer and wooden sticks? No, thanks, I would rather raise the children in a cave.

    In the Middle Ages, would I want to be conscripted into the army and literally walk across the continent, fighting war after war until a broad spear finally plunges into my stomach and I bleed to death while being trampled by men and horses? Not really, I would rather be a domestic slave.

    In the early 20th century: who wants to advance from trenches with noses stuffed with cotton balls
    soaked in urine so you can advance through the cloud of poison gas and bullets? Not me, make a domestic slave.

    In the last few years, life outside home has become less danegrous for some people. But let us still not forget that patriarchy still forces men into the worst, most dangerous jobs. Would you rather be a housewife with a crazy MIL or a soldier on Siachen? Who wants to remove landmines in Jharkhand or face stone pelters in Kashmir? Who wants to run into the burning Taj on 26/11?
    I want to cook and clean instead.

    Oh…and if you perish, you wont even be counted. They tell you how many women died and how many children. The number of men and cockroaches who perished are not mentioned.

    Thats another face of patriarchy. Let me know if there is a single word I said that is factually false.

    • In all of human history, more women have died in childbirth than men in war and battles. The liklihood of dying in childbirth was more than the chances of a man dying on the battlefield.

      While the men were busy doing these wonderfully brave things, what do you think women were doing? Getting French manicures and watching “The Bold and The Beautiful?

      Life was nasty, brutish and short for the majority of humanity, to paraphrase Thomas Hobbes.

      Stop trying to valorise men. Life was tough for everybody, especially so for those oppressed by sex, religion, skincolour, social class and sexual orientation.

    • Conscription has never been in force in India in modern times.

      The people who ran into the burning Taj on 26/11 were all volunteers from within the Armed Forces who specifically desired to work in a Special Forces role. The soldiers at Siachen are not random men picked from the street, but rather volunteers, who well understood the risks of the job before signing up for it and are, in peacetime, free to leave if they so desire.

      Also to be noted is the fact that many women, to the extent that they are allowed to do so, do work in highly dangerous military environments, even in the Indian Army. I know, for example, that my own ex-boss’ daughter served multiple stints in Kashmir as a medical doctor for the Army before she returned to civilian practice, and there are many like her.

      As for not being counted, practically every nation in the world honors and awards its dead soldiers (male or female) in some form.

      Patriarchy does oppress men, and the ‘benevolent’ sexism (so to speak) that you tangentially touch upon, is indeed a problem. However

      a) Those are two different (even if somewhat related) issues; and

      b) Your comparisons and examples are not entirely valid, as I have endeavored to show.

    • Your understanding of human evolution is incorrect. Like really incorrect.

      Also, cockroaches can survive a nuclear holocaust. The number of cockroaches prerished due to non-natural causes = really low.

    • A few misconceptions in your comment

      1. Throughout history, an overwhelming majority of women haven’t had any choice in what they ended up doing. So there is no point in saying that women didn’t do particular kind of jobs because it was not in their hands anyway.
      2. In countries like US where women have been given better opportunities to perform all kinds of jobs, there have been plenty of women who have taken up those opportunities with both hands. There have been female firefighters, female cops, female coal miners, female mountaineers, female soldiers etc. Do all women want to perform dangerous jobs? Of course not. Most women do not want to perform dangerous jobs just like most men do not want to perform dangerous jobs. But restricting women from performing most jobs and then saying that only men do those jobs does not make much sense.
      3. If your point is that men face more dangers than women in our society due to patriarchy, then obviously you have decided to ignore female infanticide, dowry burnings, acid attacks, honor killings yada yada yada that predominantly happen to a lot of women in our society as a direct result of the patriarchy you were talking about. At least, when you are conscripted, you are given a weapon to fight your enemy…

      No one is denying that patriarchy and gender roles end up impacting men too. But it’s the very same patriarchy that is causing you to trivialize the dangers faced by most women in our country in order to glorify the dangers faced by some men in some professions.

      • Every word is true, Satish, very well said.
        This is not about men versus women. When women are ill-treated, in the long run we all (men and women) lose out.

        • I agree, it’s not Men versus Women, Patriarchy allows a few to control the lives, happiness and choices of others. For example, young men are valued and thus ‘kept in control’ (the term is used casually, all the time, like it is the most normal thing to do) by making them marry women who they must ensure serve their family obediently.

    • Alright poster, honestly I would go fight in the army or sign up to be fire fighting saving people’s lives than cook/clean/get abused by the MIL. Atleast when I die in the army, I will be a martyr, what does the abused DIL get after trolling like a slave for a lifetime with zero respect or dignity? Seriously why don’t you go cook/clean if you find it so desirable, I would rather fly a fighter jet or operate a machine gun any day.

      • And let’s not forget that these women from the middle-ages died anyway when their husbands did. Anyone remember sati? Or even the non-life that widows were/ are made to live? So we might as well die in the battle field. What have we got to lose?

        To say that slaves are better off because they don’t have choices and are thus protected from other jobs.. non-sense.

  14. gr8 post! It’s double standards when all responsibilities is nicely thrown on the women. A tale of shifting blame and playing the blame game to perfection. It’s an explotation kind of society and family remains the only field where women are exploited:)
    Vishal

  15. @Karam
    Patriarchy oppresses men by taking away their choices. 2 of my cousins – both male – have suffered due to false expectations. One of them – his parents (my aunt and uncle) really wanted him to be a doctor, because they’re both doctors. He didn’t get into medical school. Then they tried to make him an engineer. He was never strong in math so that push failed. His parents felt so ‘humiliated’. They considered him ‘useless’, a ‘shame to the family’, etc. He grew up with relatives constantly taking digs at him (some of these relatives are barely educated). He withdrew into himself, believed he was indeed useless, became a non-entity. Now (a decade later) in his 40s, he has discovered he can write very well. He got a job writing for a documentary program. He has been writing some scripts for plays as well. He just got an opportunity to write his first book. His parents still have nothing to say about it.

    Another cousin – he is 32 (yes, much younger than me, I’m 42) – doesn’t want to get married. He wants to give up his bank job and be a stock broker. His parents consider this a highly risky. profession. But they’re just devastated that he doesn’t want to get married, their only son. After 2 years of trying to convince him, they’ve given up. His dad stopped talking to him. They were always so close, son and dad. When I visited him last year, he just wasn’t his usual jovial self. 2 years of constant fighting, accusing, and blaming had crushed something in him.

  16. Pingback: Let Me Tell You Something about My Korean Parents-in-law | From Korea with Love

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  18. may be its too late to comment as after seeing the date ….. but u r gr8 ……. ITotallly wow
    I wish like evrybody would think that way …
    its just amazing to read this….

    Regards
    Fresher DIL

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