No Jeans For Indian Daughters in Law.

This post was chosen as the Best Post of the Week by Reema πŸ™‚

Best Post of the Week from Reema

In response to yesterday’s post ‘Not just a pair of jeans…‘ ( Amongst BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks) a commenter made some relevant observations. I realised my reply was becoming too long, so I am publishing it here as a post. Comments in red, my response in black.

‘Jeans symbolise more than just what she wore!

Tomorrow she could ask for more?
Ask to keep her girl-child?
Education and a right to work?

You really think so? that the guy would have thought so much? Well, I quite don’t agree. Above wouldn’t have come to his mind as far as i Know.

He did not think so much. He is conditioned to believe that a woman must wear a certain kind of clothes, just like she must do many other things in a certain way – all decided by her elders and her in laws.

He also understood he had the right and responsibility to make sure she ‘behaves herself‘.

He did not think of supporting her choice. I know of men who have done this. Generally, when a man stands by his wife, nobody says anything in India.

Have you read Gone With The Wind? How Rhett Butler supported Scarlett O’Hara? So you know why he’s so popular with women : )

But this man has NO IDEA THAT THIS ADULT WHO IS HIS LIFE PARTNER also has some rights. In fact she has the same rights as he does.

How’s he so ignorant? Because he has probably grown up seeing men disrespecting women and teaching them how to behave.
Maybe he has seen violence at home, and all around him.Β  Domestic violence is taken as ‘normal’, the Police did not even register a case against him.

This is just the way they live. And we have seen the result of such thinking? The lowest girl boy ratio did not happen in one day.

What he would have probably thought is about WHAT WILL OTHER ELDERLY PEOPLE THINK (MOSTLY ELDERS IN FAMILY, NEIGHBORHOOD), IF THEY COME TO KNOW THAT MY WIFE IS NOT A SARI-CLAD WOMAN, but someone who can wear Jeans ( still considered modern it most part of India, all non-urban places i.e ). This would probably give a bad name to me and my parents as well (part of his thought probably , not my comment πŸ™‚ ).

He must have thought all this.
And he felt responsible for making her behave-herself.

She is an adult, a married woman, and she was shopping with her own parents! BUT A GIRL’S PARENTS ARE NOT ELDERS IN THIS COUNTRY!

Wearing jeans makes us modern? Why and how? What is being modern and why this terror of a girl becoming ‘modern’?
Does modern mean EMPOWERED? Maybe with a little more control over her personal life?

Modern enough to see that it was okay for him to be embarrassed about her wearing jeans but not okay for her to be ashamed of being married to a narrow minded and violent man?

He did not THINK anything. He just knew, “Keep her in control.”, “Don’t let her go out of hand!”.

Women are also forbidden from cutting their hair, they are called ‘par-kati or else they say she is sprouting wings and becoming too azad...
It’s such fears that prevent parents from letting a girl go outside the city for higher studies .. ‘What if she becomes modern? Who will marry her then?
Or even, “She will be beaten everyday if she tries to be too bold/smart/independent.”

So instead of empowering her to break free from such a system, they raise her to adjust to the system. That is why …
When they do work the money goes to husband or in laws.
When she rebels in a small way by wearing JEANS the epitome of modernity, the act is seen as a threat.

Why is a girl’s attitude towards her in laws expected to be different from a boys attitude towards his in laws?

This man beat their daughter while she was shopping with her own parents!! Look at our wonderful family values, and this social system that prevented her parents from taking that violent bully to the court!
Is it any wonder that nobody wants to have daughters in Haryana?

First, mothers are treated like second class citizens, there is no closeness with husbands (obviously, which woman will care for or feel close to a man who behaves like her personalised Sri Ram Sena) – so they find all happiness in their Sons. It becomes a cycle, he is controlled – he is taunted (amongst other things) if he shows respect or concern for his own wife.

I know of this woman whose husband carried a hot water bucket to the bathroom for her to have a bath and he was actually given a big moral lecture, he was setting a bad example, he couldn’t behave like this when his younger brother could see and might learn to behave like him!

1. If the elders – only elders from his side of the family- did not like the way she dressed , why couldn’t they speak to her?
2. He didn’t even have to support her openly, he could have just left her alone.

We have issues with a woman having any say in her own life. The jeans are just a symbol. There are many other such restrictions. She must not wish to spend too much (if any at all) time with her friends for example.

It’ s more about not letting her go out of control. About insecurities, selfish parenting, and inferiority complexes.

And trust me, the problem is not limited to a ‘Man’s bias against women’.

It isn’t a man’s bias against women, I know many, many broad minded pro-equality men. But if a girl has an idea that the man hopes to control what she wears, then she has time to react.

If a man has no hassles with a girl wearing jeans, there’s hope … maybe,

1. He does not expect her to blindly obey all the elders in his family, (and if she is lucky… ) anymore than he will obey all the elders in her family.

2. He probably comes from a family where boys are not expected to control their wives and ‘keep them on track‘.

3. He probably knows that respect for elders does not mean you obey them blindly or live by their rules or make sure that a new & equal member in the family, (also an adult) is made to do the same.

For all this he will have to be intelligent. He will have to be able to think for himself, now what can be more charming than that πŸ™‚
Please read about some very dear JKGs (Joru Ke Gulam) here πŸ™‚

It is more deep rooted. Women have been brought up to believe that women must dress, behave and live in a certain, traditional way.

Also they have few creative outlets, and many live insecure, unhappy, dissatisfied lives, ask and you will find they have suffered due to the same traditions they have been brain washed to uphold.

They are bitter and they resent the new family member being spared the repression they were subjected to.
Then of course some women might believe that since they are a boy’s mothers, they have certain special privileges.

We Indians love power even if it is ill gotten. And I have seen many boys parents demanding respect, and total obedience. It is nauseatingly oppressive (even to watch).

It is many a girls nightmare, and unfortunately this and much worse nightmares keep becoming real.

How would you like to be in such a situation? With a family that doesn’t really care for you, and wants to control every part of your life? Just think.
We are human and sometimes that can make us very inhuman!

Have you never about heard such a woman from any woman?I really think, elderly women tend to be more fussy about this rule.

Oh Yes I have. But I have also seen that they are not fools. They understand when they are made to see that they cannot ask a young boy to make a young girl live like she is in a prison.
Once a husband is supportive, everybody else shuts up after a while.

I remember my mom would always wear a SARI when her Mother in-law (my grand mother ) would come home.On a normal day, she never wears sari and feels comfortable in salwar-suit.

But Salwaar kurta is not even Western. Doesn’t that make you wonder if it is all about not letting a girl try anything new or modern? Isn’t it amazing that girls are doing so well, despite the restrictive lives they are forced to live, at home and outside?

Some of my friends have this joke about going for a ‘fancy dress party ‘ when they go visiting very orthodox in laws, they are compelled to wear the kind of traditional clothes they’d never otherwise wear. All in laws are not like this, which means those who want to change, do change.

And when their husbands visit their parents they are accepted the way they are, loved, pampered, treated with respect …. why should there be this difference?

Similarly, I know my cousin brother’s wife (My Bhabhi ) would never wear jeans in front of her mother-in-law (my aunt), but would wear otherwise.

Do you think this is necessary? I am really glad she can wear it otherwise though.

In many families the rules are different for daughters and daughters in laws. I think that is the worst kind of hypocrisy I have ever seen.

I also know families where there is no such discrimination. There is genuine respect – no control and when everybody meets they actually have fun. There is no sense of forced duty in visiting your in laws …

I guess its more to do with the fact that the older generation is just not ready to see their Daughters (not sons though ) wearing jeans.

Think why aren’t they ready? Do they think Denim is expensive or they dislike the colour or they feel it is too Westernised? … does it mean she is becoming too modern? Do they fear people will think she is going out of their control?

I have seen many strong mothers (read about some on the comments) who didn’t care and the girls grew up without knowing jeans were considered ‘objectionable‘.

When I asked my mother if she did not face any such questioning, she said, “They know we are Westernised, and even your dad is cool with it, so nobody bothered.

Even if isn’t always as simple, it’s worth it. It’s so personal, I can’t imagine why what I wear should be anybody’s business but mine…

Its not anything to do with “Tomorrow she could ask for more?. Trust me, best of families who don’t mind their bahus going out and working, or have no problems with a gal-child whatsoever, will also object to her wearing jeans.

True. All families where girls wear jeans, may not be really broad minded, but in general, letting a girl- and even more, a daughter in law (!!!) dress the way she likes is a HUGE step forward for most Indian families. It symbolizes a lot more than just giving her the freedom to dress the way she likes.

So if a man says he is fine with his wife wearing jeans, at least the girl knows some thing about him.

When a man does not even ‘allow‘ his wife to choose what she wears, she should think again!
Does he think it’s okay for him to decide what she wears?
Then he might also think it’s okay that her every step is watched and monitored by his entire family and extended family

There are way more chances then that he or his family will control all the other aspects of her life.
How many kids,
when to visit her parents,
what to cook for dinner,
which refrigerator to buy,
how much to spend on their kids’ education
she could be an MBA but Sons are raised to believe that a boys parents know best. (If elders were to be respected and obeyed then shouldn’t the same rules apply to a girl’s parents?)

Is this is not hypocrisy?

I really feel, you have portrayed wrong reasons.

Wrong reasons for why that man beat his wife? Does it really matter ….? Just think. Are there any RIGHT REASONS TO BEAT A WIFE?

This family or this man with this one horrific act have summed up all (nearly) that is wrong with Haryana, and with India, and with our much glorified family values, culture and traditions, all being openly used for CONTROLLING some citizens.

The topic you have chosen is awesome, we should write about it.But you have messed up your analysis for sure.

Whether or not a girl is allowed to wear the kind of clothes she likes – a pair of jeans here – symbolises how much freedom she has. If she cannot even control what she wears, how much freedom has she got?

And any man who thinks he has a right to tell her what she should, and what she should NOT wear, is likely to wish to control other aspects of her life as well.

I guess that as the generations pass, more and more people will be ready to accept their bahus in jeans.

So the girls should keep waiting for generations to pass?
I don’t think anybody has a RIGHT to accept or not to accept!

Did this sound shocking? Does it sound rude when I say the elders have no RIGHT to accept or not to accept what their daughter in law does?

How does just age and just being from the boys family give any human so much authority over another human’s life…???

It’s up to the girls and indirectly up to their husbands – to make sure their wives are not forced to accept such cruel and stifling encroachment on their individual rights.

I guess my mom will :-).And my Dad, he sure will, he’s so much more liberal than my mom :).

πŸ™‚ And if they don’t I am confident you will, with your excellent arguing skills , be able to make them see the other point of view πŸ™‚ If you choose to.


Absolutely. I agree πŸ™‚


104 thoughts on “No Jeans For Indian Daughters in Law.

  1. i dont know what to say… women in this country go thru so much.. and u make us think things that we shld think of, and automatically dont..


  2. I had an uncle who asked me why I didn’t wear sarees to college (I wore jeans and still live in them)…My answer was,”The day you wear a dhoti to office, I’ll wear a saree to college.” He shut up…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Its a long post.. but hey I lovvve my jeans wearing freedom!. If I had any magical powers for say 10 second, I would change the minds of all such men..


  4. @How do we know Women do go through a lot, but a little support can and does make a world of difference πŸ™‚

    @Bones This always work. You take nonsense, it will continue, you tell them to shut up, they shut up.


  5. I don’t why I think the way I think . As in , a believer in “Women are equals” . I got no extra lesson on feminism . But , I think it should be taught in schools . As a part of Moral Science or something . How else would you educate Men about this issue ?


  6. I feel that maybe the elderly women are just after our lives to be in a certain way to protect us(as per them).

    What they seem to not understand is, after an age, you need to provide your opinion and not shove it down the woman’s throat. On seeing this authoritative attitude amongst the elderly women, the men also see and follow the same.


  7. “he has probably grown up seeing men disrespecting women and teaching them how to behave. Maybe he has seen violence at home, and all around him. We take all this as normal”.

    That is true in most cases. As you see around you can find even most educated and the ones you call liberated women saying ‘So what he just slapped me ONCE’. He is good most of the times. May be it was my mistake. This is what women think because she thinks it is normal to get slapped by the superior being called man and this man too thinks that woman should be dictated.


    • I have noticed this too and it makes me feel pity on how the society has affected their thinking process.They feel its was her mistake and it was right to get punished or slapped, even though she did the right thing.


  8. You know what after being treated as a piece of c**p I am not surprised that some women cry when they have girls. May be they do because they see the same future in their daughters too and they feel helpless.


  9. And all because of the utterance that she be allowed to do something as simple as wear Jeans!

    Really, women here, go through hell and some, just to even be a fraction of themselves! Most of us here, are the lucky ones who can, and do… and have a supportive family too. But India’s women, most of them, are still hampered by their genes, let alone wearing any pair of Jeans!

    Great Post, as always, IHM! More food for thought, and to ingest and translate into action!


  10. First of @bones… i loved what u replied…

    I have always maintained IHM… women are bigger problem for women than men…

    If the state of women in india needs to improve the first step most imp step is to educate all women and then teach them to respect themselves and all women around


  11. I agree… and you know – all this is not new…
    I even blogged about a cousin's wife a couple of months back…
    She is not allowed to cut her hair, visit the parlour, wear anything but the mandatory tilak as bhindi… her makeup consists of Fair & Lovely (she is dark skinned aparently) and Ponds Powder and home made kajal…
    She eats from the same leaf/plate her husband has used…
    She is jealous that the second DIL is more "liberal" because her husband supports her getting her eyebrows done! (Yes, something as simple as that!!)
    As you can guess – we don't associate ourselves with them…

    So, we women have bigger issues… we need to make that all important change in our respective homes first…


  12. I didn’t read this post [:(] but one thing came to my mind-Aint these “gays” having too much attention from our side :(. This is what they want, so that they come in the big league before the LS elections so that “any” party give that Chief Gay-Muthailik or whatever his name is a ticket from any part of India. Yes this is what they want. They are least bothered about the Indian Culture, gurls,gays,lesbians or anything else.
    They just want attention and they are getting it.


  13. Pixie, all this I thought existed only in the serial “Balika Vadhu”. Are you sure this is for real? I just can’t believe it!
    IHM, I remember the days when my Mama had just got married. My Mami was a pampered daughter and her engagement with my Mama had lasted exactly an year (it was an arranged marriage), so she knew her in-laws very well and vice-versa. When she got married and came to my Nani’s home, she did not give up her habit of listening to loud music (which could be heard from her room on the first floor) or sleeping after lunch till 5 pm. And my Nani was absolutely okay with it. And whenever someone (even from Mami’s family) pointed this out, Nani said, “She’s my DIL and this is our home, so we’ll decide who’ll do what.” Needless to say, Mami lost her biggest support system and biggest confidante when Nani passed away.
    Today, though, she does not listen to loud music because her elder daughter hates it. But she does sleep till 5 pm even today (with her kids sleeping too).
    As for my Mama, after 15 years of marriage and three kids, he still buys her heart-shaped chocolates in a heart-shaped box with a basket of a dozen red roses on every Valentine’s Day.


  14. My hubby never sees whether i put bindi or not,but the so called elders always point at me reminding me of not putting a bindi.
    When my dad passed away,i was very small,when my mom removed her bindi, i was arguing with the elders why they made her remove bindi?I kept my mouth shut because my mom told me not to offened the elders.But we forced our mom to wear bindi.
    Maybe my comment is not in lieu with the post,i thought of sharing my experience.


  15. @Mindspace LOl you do have magical powers, everything we say and do matters, if you hear someone make a biased remark do politely point out .. .Never allow a girl to be blamed if she is harassed … we are surrounded by biases, and maybe a pair of blue denim jeans symbolises those biases!

    @Kislay They have made some changes! In our social studies book, we had a picture of a family with everybody sitting on chairs and sofas but the daughter in law sat on the floor. I thought she was the maid. I have not seen such depictions in recent books.
    But best lessons are learnt at home…

    A JKG is a compliment to his dad, shows he has seen his dad respect his mom πŸ™‚


  16. @Aathira Also this method of protection does not work. You should see old ANPADH, (a movie)- it is more practical to teach a girl to learn to survive on her own, why make her depend on protection .. apart from the fact that nothing can beat the confidence and joy of being independent and free, there is also the fear that sometimes when she is stuck in a situation where there is no one to defend her she should be able to fend for herself.
    It’s about attitude and confidence. And knowing she is valued….


  17. whoa!!a post that quite simply surpasses the earlier one…you have made a point and how!!
    by the way just wanted to know who said the first lines?

    spent my time trying to see who said those first lines…grrr….*knuckles cracking*
    it is exactly this kind of plain blindness and idioticity that really bugs me…
    I mean either get a brain or open your eyes..coz you sure are not doing one of the two…
    anyway lol@bonesloved your earlier response as this one..and got a few pointers:D

    @IHM yes ,yes and yes…
    for everything…hell yes!!
    and yes,guys who have grown up seeing their sisters and ma in shorts and skirts and jeans dont even think about it twice…coz they have seen it…its absolutely okay with them…
    of course guys who have not seen any such and still are all for wear what you please get my applause more coz they sure deserve it…for making that huge leap on their own…:)

    loved this one…will be back with more..:)

    this ‘ladke waala’ syndrome will make ma and dad murder someone one of these days..:D


  18. @Solilo Many years ago this woman told me she did not want any daughters because it is tough in every way to raise a girl, she had two boys and many miscarriages, and I suspected sex selective ‘miscarriages’.

    What she did not see is that being a woman, the same inconvenience and worthlessness applies to her also, Even in her own eyes, when we think we are useless who can value us? She once told me very proudly that she never buys anything for herself, and always eats after her husband and sons have eaten … And I thought obviously she feels she must do all these things…

    Or else she will not be liked ..
    Long ramblings ….


  19. @Usha Imagine to not be able to take such a small, absolutely harmless decision for your own self.

    @Monika Absolutely!! Women need to learn to respect themselves first. We don’t realise how much we harm ourselves and each other!

    @Pixie That is one big problem with joint families. There is so much to do in this world, and talented women being forced to waste their lives over decisions and permission of eye brow shaping!
    It’s criminal to do this to anyone!


  20. it was an interesting post…my mom wouldn mind if i get married to a family who let me wears salwars and jean (married girls are to wear saree !!!) and i bet she would not give the same freedom to her future daughter in law..i try n argue with her she wouldn listen to me!!!


  21. Phew, IHM.That was one long comment πŸ™‚
    Its very true…men who respect/show concern for their wives are certainly taunted by the other women in his family. Its such a shame, that women glorify men, and want other women too, to behave like a doormat. India will take a long long time to come out of this regressive culture. What with Ekta showing all the bahus in glittery saries and protecting their parivaar, we’ll never get ahead.


  22. oh i am sure i have said it before on your blog and i will say it again, a man NOT letting you wear something does not mean he is protective and loves you more, it just means he is insecure and it will just get worse!

    so please if you have a boyfriend and you feel its only because he looves you, pls dump him now! πŸ˜€

    my parents allowed me to wear shorts etc even though we lived in a chawl. i am sure people said things but they never cared. when they felt something was too inappropriate they said no. fair game. no worries. when they saw my PoV 98 times, i could see theirs the other two.

    point is how does it matter? even today, i cannot wear shorts at my in-laws house because i am the “bahu”, so i wear PJ’s and tee instead. i REFUSED to wear a gown or nightie because i hate it completely and M wont dream of forcing me to! :p

    but there has never been a funda, you cant wear this and that! simply not done! its not about clothes, its about my individuality and ability to exrrcise choices! simple.




  23. @Tarun Goel Now onward I will only him the gay guy and will not mention him … and I don’t think there is such a threat anymore , the Govt in Karnataka realised this would become a free publicity to Congress with Renuka Chowdhary’s PUB BHAARO ANDOLAN πŸ™‚

    @Surbhi We really need to see how it is possible to treat all the members in a family with respect and consideration πŸ™‚
    And we do need some space and some privacy!
    Hats off to your Nani and your Mama Surbhi πŸ™‚

    @Varunavi This bindi is another thing to blog about! I have seen a friend’s mother tell her daughter in law (who was only visiting them) to wear her bindi, her one year old was pulling it out, and she she laughed sheepishly and explained (embarrassed because I was witnessing this) but I mentioned lightly that it isn’t safe to wear a bindi with a baby because the baby might pull it out and accidentally swallow it.
    God but was I angry!!! I told my mom that was what I didn’t want my future to be like. This daughter in law was an Engineer, and no mater how much I insisted, my friend didn’t utter a word to defend her.
    But I knew nobody dare do this to my brother’s wife.


  24. @Indyeah I agree with admiring those guys more who have not grown up in a very liberal family and still appreciate the need for a girl to have some space and some freedom.
    This ladke walle syndrome is only there is we let it be. I am totally with your parents!

    @Anonymous I have seen this is common and this is the heights of blatant injustice! All in the name of ‘it’s always been done this way’! If you see this happening, you must support in whichever ways you can, take your brother in confidence. Let’s all start holding hands and making an effort to shake these shackles off each other.
    If you feel she is just taking your suppor for granted, let her, and let’s hope we all start expecting this kind of freedom, as a right πŸ™‚

    @Writerzblock I should have edited it and made it shorter … but I was getting impatient to publish it 😦
    There will always be men who will not be affected by such taunted, there always have been such men … This Ekta Kapoor is a shame on Indian women, she should invite Nirmala Venkatesh to her serials πŸ™‚


  25. @Abha a man NOT letting you wear something does not mean he is protective and loves you more, it just means he is insecure and it will just get worse!

    so please if you have a boyfriend and you feel its only because he loves you, pls dump him now! πŸ˜€
    I agree with you Abha.
    And anyway, insecure men make abusive partners.


  26. Nice reply. I am still coming to terms with how wearing something will make you less or more respectful of ‘elders’. Frankly, this elders thing is taken too far in India. Even if you are 30, an MBA and managing your own company, you are still expected to fall at the feet of your ‘elders’ and listen to them come what may. It is assumed that they know more than you, even though you might have a hundred degrees, roamed the world and are in general more aware and worldly wise.


  27. Yeah…itz not jz jeans anymore!! itz more abt ur individuality n ur outlook to life as a whole! n i wonder why does that threaten the male sex so much? fear that their flaws n weaknesses wud be out in de open?? maybe…! nice post IHM. Thanks!


  28. That sucked. I typed a comment and when i previewed it, it was gone.

    I am trying to recreate it now.

    Firstly, the use of “gay” was highly offensive. I find it difficult to understand how a group of people fighting prejudice can in the same breath be prejudiced to others.

    As for the post itself, I have lived in the same India as most of these retards, the same irrationally religious and dogmatic society. I have been witness to the same levels of chauvinism, male or religious, and yet I find that I am not as bad as them. I think it highly dependent on the atmosphere at home, no matter how society around us is. The more vocal and open your family is, the more likely you aren’t a complete douche.


  29. @Shilpa Yes I can’t understand this either! We seem to think you can only respect if you grovel.

    @Chirag πŸ™‚

    @Sashu No it’s not about jeans or salwar kurtas even, it’s about letting a girl do something even a little different or modern …


  30. As usual nice post and all angles of the argument considered well.

    To cite an example: My elder Sister is elder to me by 2 years and my younger Sister younger by almost 10. I remember when the elder one used to go to college. We had relocated from Delhi and we came to settle in Kerala in a small town where everybody knew almost everybody. The only dresses my Sister had were pants, skirts and salwars which was practically shocking to everyone in Kerala. I remember her coming back from college crying and declaring that she’s not going back to college; she was apparently teased and humilated by everyone in the college which either wore half-sarees, sarees or long skirts and blouses. After almost a week and 5-6 new “dresses” did she land up back in college. My younger sister goes to the same college, same town and wears jeans and tight tops and is forever worried about having less tops for her variety of jeans πŸ™‚ There is not a single girl who turns up in a saree or a long skirt with a blouse.

    They say that time and fashion don’t last for ever. I reckon that in a few years there will be a lot of change in our mentalities and our thoughts with the current globalization pattern. The newer generation have atleast that blessing. But to wait for it is another cursed matter πŸ™‚

    Keep Blogging!


  31. @Depressed Doormat Use of the word GAY in the comments? I don’t think the word is used n the post?

    But I do not judge people by their sexual orientation Depressed Doormat.
    The reason the word is used for Muthalik in a comment is because he who is against even generally acceptable to all moral police, heterosexual relationships is going to have a heart attack (high hopes) if he is hears he is being described as someone fighting for Gay Rights.
    :)Do you think the joke was in bad taste?


  32. Boy’s parents are always right, they can be disrespectful as well. MY FIL said few years back, we have a culture, good or bad, you will have to follow it but before I could say anything, my husband asked “I do not agree and would like to ask you Why can’t we learn the good things her culture can bring to us and why should we continue with the bad parts if we know they are bad already” FIL was offended, felt disrespectful, the same old song of whatever elders say should be taken in stride and not questioned came alive. But in the years gone by, they feel they have learned “that this girl has polluted their son’s mind and now because of her he won’t listen to us”
    jeans clad bahu, who drinks wine and speaks her mind all the time! It must be the end of glory for them. They propagate themselves as the most modern and understanding parents in law but I know how I put up with for being a person of my own. And I would bet this is the same story in many so called forward homes.
    Your post was such a good read and as always brought to light the views of many readers like mine.


  33. I remember my own MiL telling me that ‘married women don’t wear salwars’ She did not like sleeveless dresses either. It was her way of controlling me. Ahh well, they try all the tricks in the book, these control freaks.

    I still laugh to think how the other family members used to glance at each other and the pregnant pauses that followed when my husband asked me whether I wanted something or served me something from a dish (instead of the other way round!!) Well all that was quarter century ago!! But I have not forgotten anything.


  34. There is just one thing I would like to add to this. No one has the right to decide anything for an adult. Hence if a person is an adult, hen should wear what they please. Women who look for parental, husbandly, or in-law approval are not fit to be adults and parents, in-laws and husbands who try to control what they wear are bullies. Plain and simple. Put in culture or tradition or anything and call it by any name. It is the same thing.

    If a man needs to tell his wife what to wear- maybe he is not married to an adult- and a woman who feels someone else knows what is best for her, is not an adult either. It is a very weird relationship- not at all one for taking responsibility.

    As a case in point, my parents married for love and my father’s parents made life miserable for them. SO once the open hostility started once I go married- well I declared openly I would not take any of it. It is not about relationships, but about control. Indeed hostility or being overtly bossy just reveals that they do not think too much about heir own son or respect his choices either. and men who are mama’s boys, maybe they need some growing up to do.


  35. am completely with u…. more than my Papa or brother its my female relative who hem n haw abt my jean and skirts… u know wat?? the first time my mom wore a Nightie/Maxi at her village the whole women folk of the village criticized her even thou my papa was cool with that..Ha my pop is against me wearing the traditional Pavadai Thavani of TN saying its too revealing.. its the female crowd that insist anyways…

    not to mention the hair part… just becoz guys like long hair why shudnt i cut off mine to a length of my choice??



  36. :-),,WOOOOO..that was my 1st reaction..You have made my comment into a post!!..:-)..And I Quickly read your post, this sounded so much better than the last post. I actually wanted to tell you to re-write the last post, because your analysis there was too narrow. You have done a much better job here.

    After 2nd reading.

    “He did not think so much. He is conditioned to believe that a woman must wear a certain kind of clothes, just like she must do many other things in a certain way – all decided by her elders and her in laws”

    Yes, I guess its more of that than “Ask to keep her girl-child?”. Sounds better.:)

    ” Generally, when a man stands by his wife, nobody says anything in India.”.

    Yups, We never said –> he isnt a bastard. :-)..

    “Have you read Gone With The Wind”

    Nopes, I havent, have heard about it since school days. Is it fiction? I kinda read Non-fiction, but will read this one if you recommend.:)

    “But this man has NO IDEA THAT THIS ADULT WHO IS HIS LIFE PARTNER has some rights. In fact she has the same rights as he does”.

    Yups, better point than “Ask to keep her girl-child?” again.

    “Someone who is wearing jeans is considered modern? Okay. Tell me why? What is being modern and why this terror of a girl becoming ‘modern’?
    Does modern mean EMPOWERED? Maybe with a little more control over her personal life?”

    Why?I guess you know the answer to that.Its the same old Hindutva Crap may be.And yes It might be cz of “EMPOWERED“.You are right.

    “So instead of empowering her to break free from such a system, they raise her to adjust to the system.”

    Wonderful, I love this post..Its really better than the last one.

    “Then of course some believe that since they are a boy’s mothers, they have certain special privileges.”

    Hahaha..Yeah,,as funny as Indian traditions get.

    “Once a husband is supportive, everybody else shuts up after a while. “

    Yups, and it shouldnt really matter what the whole Freaking world says after that. I keep saying the same thing to my friends ( mostly female friends) who care so much about “what will the OTHERS think”..Thats Crap, right?If you and your friends are ok with your decisons,,why do you care for OTHERS..God,,This is where I guess gals get so fussy, I guess the reason is the same that you pointed out earlier
    “So instead of empowering her to break free from such a system, they raise her to adjust to the system.”

    I love this point.

    “In many families the rules are different for daughters and daughters in laws. I think that is the worst kind of hypocrisy I have ever seen.”


    You know..Strangely, About my Bhabhi not wearing Jeans in front of her mother-in-law, as far as i can analyze it, my Aunt wouldn’t have had any objections. she might have felt a little uncomfortable (probably) but wouldn’t have said a word.But I don’t know why my bhabhi would still not wear Jeans in front of her..Do you think its Respect? Somehow, It should’t be associated with Respect, but i have a strange feeling that it was also about respect.She wanted to do what she thought she was expected to do and what a good sanskarik, Sushil blah blah bahu would do.
    I guess it is the Unsaid pressure as well which plays a part.

    Similarly, I dont think my grandmother would have ever objected my mom not wearing saree.She was a very sweet lady. But my mom would still like to wear Saree in front of her..

    You know,,Its more than just meet the eyes..I should have a talk with my mom once, and I doubt if she would be able to explain me the reasons too.

    “True. All families where girls wear jeans, may not be really broad minded”

    Oops, here you got me wrong. I said the other way round..I wanted to say –> All broad minded families might not allow their daughters to wear jeans too.Like the families which allow their daughter-in-laws to work, but in Saree.

    You get the difference of what i said and what you said?There is a difference.

    “Wrong reasons for why that man beat his wife? Does it really matter ….? Just think. Are there any RIGHT REASONS TO BEAT A WIFE?”

    NOPES..WHEN DID I SAY THAT?Can I even say that? Don’t make me a sinner :-(.

    It was only about your analysis (REASONS), which was narrow, I believe.:-(.

    “And any man who thinks he has a right to tell her what she should, and what she should NOT wear, is likely to wish to control other aspects of her life as well.”

    See, Again,..Its not only MAN..Her Mother-in-law would have objected too!! It is the whole Goddamn Society (MEN and WOMEN, YES WOMEN TOO!!) responsible for this.Don’t you think mothers can control their sons?If her mother-in-law would have been supportive of her, her hubby wouldn’t have dared to do such a thing.

    “Did this sound shocking? Does it sound rude when I say the elders have no RIGHT to accept or not to accept what their daughter in law does?”

    Of course Not.Like I love my freedom, I understand everyone loves it.

    “and if they don’t I am confident you will, with your excellent arguing skills”

    Awww..Thank you so much..I love that compliment..:-)!!

    Overall, I like this post of yours. It is much better than the last one.Have to go to office now, so cannot edit the comment :-)! And thanks for "<, i, >" Its very helpful as you are seeing :-)! Catch ya later.


  37. @Chikki Thank You, I am glad you think it is fine now πŸ™‚

    @Roop I loved all your recent posts … keep writing and inspiring πŸ™‚

    @Alankrita ‘Women who look for parental, husbandly, or in-law approval are not fit to be adults and parents, in-laws and husbands who try to control what they wear are bullies. Plain and simple.’

    @The Rat We have this thinking that a girl’s life revolves around getting married… Read this, and you will know what I mean. I would love to hear your views on this.


  38. Unfortunately , as Indians, we’re told respect and authority is a product of age and not conduct. And of course is the sole mantle of anything male.

    I’m a little wary of solely blaming men for predicament we are in. A lot of the blame also lies with us women, especially those who have the means/the exposure to do something about it. Often it’s them we look towards for support, but what they lack is the will.

    Of course one of the most obvious contributors to our ignorance is our conditioning…

    In India, women are conditioned to be passive, understanding, caring, giving, family comes first, selfless, upholders of morality, etc etc (you know the drill), which is why when their freedom/integrity is at stake..instead of standing up for themselves, women tend to immediately rationalize the situation…empathize with the perpetrator (after all she must’ve done something to trigger it ..right?) and finally justify his behavior (after all that’s how he was brought up…or he’s only upholding tradition isn’t he?)

    When you grow up in an environment where your not taught to see yourself as an individual but as a daughter..wife…mother..always incidental to a man…it becomes hard to understand what freedom really is.

    For some of us ‘modern’, working women..sometimes it becomes a constant struggle to balance what you know is right for you as an individual and pursue it erstwhile constantly shaking off this nagging reminder of tradition and ‘roles’ you were brought up to fulfill. For some of the most liberal modern families- no matter what you do..what you achieve – you’re ultimate goal is to get married and finally settle down with your family. Period.

    Anyways, back to the topic on hand…once we women respect ourselves enough to acknowledge our own right to freedom (objectively and free of tradition), will we truly be able to enforce our equality with men.


  39. Tell me nothing about this…

    DIL’s in our house have absolute freedom to wear anything as long as they wear something(lol)…

    My wife turned my saree wearing mother into wearing a punjabi (not quite jeans yet) ……. In the end it was Daddy who was happier than mummy for trying it !!!


  40. @Sandhya they have learned “that this girl has polluted their son’s mind and now because of her he won’t listen to us”
    So if a Son speaks for his wife, his mind is polluted, he is a JKG!
    jeans clad bahu, who drinks wine and speaks her mind … can never be good!


  41. @Chikki No, I am genuinely glad you think this makes more sense … smart arguments and comments add to a discussion, and enrich it.

    @Divya I totally agree!I am also vary of blaming only men for our predicament, in fact I believe they are also victims of a biased system.

    @Hitchwriter I will not dare to tell you anything! I am proud to declare that today you have earned the the title of a CERTIFIED JKG !


  42. For all your call-to-arms for women’s rights etc, you undo all your work in one stroke – by demonstrating your homophobia!

    Calling a guy ‘gay’ is the ultimate insult you can think of. Fucking fantastic!

    Your prejudices are showing, Mrs IHM.


  43. @Smi Wake up every morning to remind yourself that this is the only life you have and you will not let anybody take away your right to live it your way πŸ™‚

    @Anonymous Read my next post, I agree the joke was in bad taste ….

    @Amit Pepper spray and also safety pins!


  44. It is weird. The women in the in-laws place are the usual perpetrators. When I was married, my poor salwar kameez was called ‘pant jaisa’! Anything which showed (???) your legs was indecent. Sarees forever. In times of 18 hour powercuts with sweat dripping down your sides– be the new bahu. I had to trip over my saree and fall down flat on the feet of my father in law for him to issue the dictat– let her wear what she is comfortable with. But the comments continue….


  45. Anshu And at some other places sari is sinful because it shows some parts of your back and neck.
    How comfortable is sari in winters? And then the maintenance? Washing, ironing even draping takes more time than a salwar kurta? It seem we forget logic when it comes to women and the traditions that they must be burdened with. And don’t the men in the family wear trousers and shirts? Most places they do. And salwar kurta is far from being a western outfits. But I believe in saam, daam, dand bhed, you made your life comfortable here. I am sure you will fight in whichever ways you can whenever required… – My best wishes, Hugs -IHM


  46. Why there is so much degradation ? The one and only one reason that you girls would think of “Man” are responsible for everything.I also have a lot of weight to believe this.BUt pardon me if I am wrong in saying this you try to keep changing your attitude and your likeliness cause some of us(male) has disrespected you.THIS IS NATURALLY NOT CORRECT.I will tell you why. There is a lot of biases and false thoughts that at least some of you is carrying along .You just don’t search for the exact source of the problem.Where is the problem , you never go for that you go for the pains and sorrow that you are facing and try to set it right by mending the outcomes in your favour .It can make you comfortable cause you see your freedom in this,but just ask from yourselves has now the original problem been solved ? Still you would find so many disgusting things happening to girls/woman all across the country.Why has not they stopped? Simply you have not struck the right chord.
    For every inequality there is inherited disrespect.This so called “inequality”(terms coined by so many feminists) is just the result of disrespect and negligence that one race( Here it is my “male” race, I absolutely agree) has been having for opposite race.I agree that we males are responsible for all the pains that you have been inflicted with.Cause we have not seen your real worth in your true self and we have not respected you for that.I agree ,we male should be damned for this crime .But now when I see the lines of solutions that you so called trying to be “feminists” are following ,it hurts me.I have never seen my opposite race as inequal to my race.And no intellectual should think in that way.They are just diverse and we believe in diversity and have a lot of respect for them.Don’t you see for this whole diverse thing we have been able to run our democracy since we are bonded with respect and trust with each each other.
    I believe male whatever they can do they can’t take place of female and also vice-versa.For me one and only one thing thing is important there is diversity and We should respect this diversity and try not to confuse this with inequality at least from now on.Equality simply can’t be there in our any imaginative land, cause we male and female both have different sets of weaknesses and strengths , and they can’t be balanced out on any machine.

    This is not just the problem of comfortable dresses you try to wear.Wear them but preserve your true self.Though its’ 100% true that I am no one to say in what way Girls should behave.But by saying this I never meant that you should become subjugated to us.You have your every right to preserve your inner innocenece from wolves around.

    Now I would like to clear some of the things now.
    Of course as I have started writing recently ,it may be possible that I may be dirty in my writing skills.
    and second one is , while writing this I haven’t directed it against any one personally .This is as equally directed to both of us i.e male and female.They need to understand each other and learn to respect each other.This is a basic respect or you can say a landline respect that we should atleast be having for our opposite race.

    And third one ,
    If I have offended anyone , than please forgive me.


  47. Loved the tea and the thank you meter. Simply delightful. And I enjoyed going through all the postings on the Indian family.
    I feel the goodness of the Indian family is highly overrated.
    One lasting memory that I carry with me is of an old lady in a bed next to mine in a hospital. She had many sons and daughters. But in the six days we were together no one came to visit her. Only her youngest daughter stayed with her throughout. And on her last day when she came to know a son-in-law was arriving, from her sick bed she organised a cold drink ,fruits and snacks for him. And when he got up to leave she thrust a wad of notes in his hands. All the time she was in pain….


  48. Pingback: To an Anonymous DIL « The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  50. This family or this man with this one horrific act have summed up all (nearly) that is wrong with Haryana, and with India, and with our much glorified family values, culture and traditions, all being openly used for CONTROLLING some citizens

    Holy cow all this for a beautiful pair of jeans? I personally knew a Haryana guy who could talk for hours about why most of them thought wearing jeans is wrong and in the same breath he would say But you look good in jeans πŸ˜₯ I wanted to slap him every time he said that but considering his size I always used my razor sharp tongue instead and wasted hours trying to make him see reason 😦 Btw this damn haryana guy is an IITian… 😯

    Me – I have seen such kinds Sakshi! Only thing that might change them is falling in love with a woman who wears jeans and tells them to go hop. Of course they might throw acid on her instead of changing their own ways 😦


  51. heyy..for the very first time droping here..nd on reading this i was totally numb..hav to say a lot on this bt trust me am short of was jus amazin write of yrs..u r drawing the real picture of a middle class indian girl in such an expressive manner..too good..i just wish ,may this message of yrs be passed to evry single person, who consider jeans as an objectionable outfit..! though times hav changed, the condition is nt the same as it used too b say few yrs back, but still majority needs to b educated in this regard. u writin skills are just outstanding..luved yr way to rlly hav an awsum blog..will surely follow..!!!


    • Thanks Madhu. I agree although conditions are improving – the change is too slow. If all the women decide to change it with their children, they can. Boys need to raised without being treated like ‘more equal’, and girls should never be taught they are weaker. I believe in ‘the hand that rocks the cradle, can rock the world’ – mothers can make a tremendous difference.


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  58. In the first place I just hate the word”support” the women. Are we a species on the verge of extinct . Why do we need that word-support. So we agree that the fairer sex is not getting the deserved place. Sadly sad its India where Durga, kaali, saraswati and laxmi are prayed everyday by all men yet at home or outside we lay an evil’s eye on them.

    I have believed even the letters in this post. So true that as a woman we are controlled so much. Why? “ladkiyon k liye zamana kabhi nahi badalta” it has not changed , not even today. The mentality is the same. the in laws family of a girl want to be treated as gods and the girl is treated as an unpaid servant , why? because she is daughter in law? When this will change? if anyone is to ask me then my answer is NOW and it starts with ME.


  59. I support my wife completely on this, but interestingly what I find is that she prefers to wear saree when we go to my parents place, because she gets an opportunity to be in saree there. She isn’t a fighter like me and despite my support I believe she would not want to be the odd one out. This is what I realized when in a trip in recent times, apparently my Mom said that Salwar suit was OK as in my hometown most people out there have started to wear salar suits! .. And what my wife indeed took all suits. I believe for DIL with the MIL’s the story isn’t as simple, but for someone like us who dont’ normally stay with the in-laws they think that why for a few days – you want to enrage someone. But then, if you don’t who will?


    • You know if there is no expectation that she would do as she is asked to do, and she has a real choice in what she wears, then it’s fine. It becomes wrong when there is pressure for a woman to please and ensure she is liked.
      One thing is for sure, when husbands are supportive then nobody from his family can harass a woman. Women are often under pressure from the husband to keep everybody in his family/extended family happy – that is not right and it prevents any mutual respect to develop, because the in laws feel it’s their right to expect, and the wife begins with too few expectations.


  60. I forwarded the link to this blog to my two cousin sisters (father’s sister’s daughter) and askd them to fight it with their mom so that their bhabhi would wear “jeans”. Apparently only a few days back I learnt that her bhabhi is so keen to wear ‘jeans’ and all that my MIL (my father’s sis) won’t obviously be OK with it. Reminds me that..just after the marriage and I forced this same sisters to make sure that her bhabhi isn’t forced to keep “big long pallus” to satisfy the society.. well it wasn’t easy initially especially when the new bride wants to be the “best bahu” for the house..but eventually now its OK, she still does wear “pallu” when the FIL is around πŸ™‚ .. Long way to go, but every bit helps ! I believe the first step is the males to be supportive as you rightly pointed out but MOST of them DON’T !


  61. Pingback: “I have so much to tell about this one man who is “almost” a representation of every Indian middle-class husband.” | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

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  66. Shaming language is rife against men who stand by their wives rather than their parents. Where do you think the terms like “Joru ka gulam” came from? There is a slang in the Assamese language as well, which will be way too rude to post here. Married men in India are traditionally supposed to stand by their mothers because heaven is apparently, under a mother’s feet. It has strong religious and cultural sanction. Religious guilt trips and cultural shaming keeps men from developing a strong and intimate bond with their wives. Some samples:

    >>> You side with the woman who you enjoyed for a few days, over the mother who bore you for nine months and made you what you are? What an ungrateful loser!
    >>> You can’t control how your wife dresses, like a slut! What a pimp! You should wear bangles and stay home while your wife goes out with other men.
    >>> She must have done some witchcraft on him, to make him betray his mother and devote himself to her

    To relate an anecdote I heard last week while at a wedding I attended with a friend in UP. When a Jat married guy told his wife if she could ‘please’ get a glass of water, everyone sitting near him – both men and women burst out laughing. Comments like “…gulam” were muttered very audibly under their breaths. Even his wife got embarassed at the implication.

    In the Haryanvi and other Jat cultures, mothers are very powerful matriarchs. The more adult sons a mother has, the more power she weilds in her village ‘politics’. It is daughters and daughter-in-laws who are to be kept under the thumb at all time (who will become matriarchs when they bear sons and bring them up to become adult men).

    Indian cultures are extremely toxic to human growth and happiness, no matter what their religious leanings are. Whenever a major problem or socio-political issue comes to the surface, there is always an ‘external conspiracy’ to blame. If men pee on the walls, it is their right and anyone protesting against it is probably a western culture corrupted toilet salesman. How dare they suggest we give up our god given right to pee whereever we wish?


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  83. Dear Indian Home Maker,
    Thank you for this post. I could relate to everything in this post. Reading this felt like a therapy to me. I am so lucky to have a mother who herself encouraged me break all taboos in a normal middle class society. Though I was apprehensive, my mother gave me so much optimism to pursue my PhD abroad. I, by nature, come across as someone who becomes a “people pleaser” in situations where I need to be strong and raise my voice! The society plays a huge part in women empowerment. I think more women are of my type, silent victims who get angry seeing the injustice but cannot raise their voices fearing being labelled as “rude”, “harsh”, etc. We are in a society which judges women and places all the “burden” on women. May be my comments are so very ambiguous. I have a lot to write! but in any case, I just wanted to drop in a comment to thank you for this post! πŸ™‚
    Kudos to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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