So why do some men compare and compete with other men?

I feel Patriarchy puts women in situations where they feel they are competitors. And then this comparison might become a habit 😦

It’s not easy for most people to support or encourage a rival, how would you feel in this mother’s place? The daughter in law is also given a standard to work for.Β  πŸ™„

If married men lived with their in laws as a rule, how would the relationship between a man and his father in law have been?

When men and women, or two men, are in competition with each other,Β the feeling is not too different. From sexual harassment, slut-shaming, spreading false stories about (perceived or real) rivals, men and women seem to try everything to put rivals down.

Jealousies and one-upmanship are sometimes seen as machismo. Watch ‘Hayward 5000’ ads on You Tube for examples.

If men are judged by something they have no control over, one can expect reactions like this… Women might react with similar jealousy.

And why don’t all women value female-friendships, which often provide sensitive, solid, reliable, support systems for them?

Traditionally women were encouraged to see their home and family as their world.

Friendships outside of the family were (and are still) seen as a frivolous waste of time (for women). Even today marriage can end women’s friendships.

The only women they could interact with were those who might see them as rivals for the attention of the more powerful family members (often male).

Female bonding, where a woman can choose who she bonds with, is a new, amazing and empowering concept.

‘Sex and the City’ and ‘Ladies’ Special’ (on Sony TV) areΒ  examples of female-bonding.

I wish I could find some videos – advertisements, songs or trailers on women-bonding. Please do share if you find any.


78 thoughts on “So why do some men compare and compete with other men?

  1. First video: If I am a mother in law, I might not feel happy! The son should keep his mouth shut even if what he said was true!!

    Second: I loved this movie…Steve Martin was at his best! ‘I am no longer the man in her life’ hahaha…I know some fathers of this type! They never like the sons in law! Jealousy in a different form!

    Third one: Smart fellow! You are right, here, IHM!

    Fourth: Classic, really…human nature shown at its best?! Very good ad!

    Fifth: Yes, men and women are the same in this nature!

    Sixth: Yes, very rarely women maintain their friendship esp. after their children are grown up! Until the children are in school, some sort of friendship can be maintained.

    I have watched some episodes of ‘Ladies’ special’. Very strong storyline!

    Waiting to read more comments here! Very good analysis, IHM!

    Me – In the first one, even the daughter in law is put in an unfortunate position, she has been told that she has to complete with the mil. Unfair to both I feel 😦


  2. Hi IHM, I don’t get why ‘Patriarchy puts women in situations where they feel they are competitors’.
    How does patriarchy determine how women behave with other women? Shouldn’t it actually allow women to understand the repression in a male dominated society, and help them bond better?

    Me – Patriarchy expects women to see the men in their lives as their world and so they becomes emotionally (and otherwise) dependent on them, making sure they get this man’s attention becomes very important. Do take a look at the first video, that’s a perfect example of how Patriarchy works against women – how it makes them strive for the attentions, appreciation and praise from a family member.
    I have blogged about this here,


  3. Agree with Ritu, IHM. First Wives is one kickass movie πŸ™‚

    It’s also true that we get to hear too little about female friendships or bonding and too much about “women are women’s worst enemies” etc. As you’ve rightly pointed out, women undermine other women not because they are evil but because they are competing for power in a very narrowly defined world. Since you’ve asked for links, I thought you and your readers may like this article on female bonding:

    Me – Thanks for the link Apu and now I must google First Wives!


    • I’m not so sure Apu. I see many instances in the professional world of women undermining other women. For instance, a female boss may prefer to pick male subordinates for choice assignments rather than giving female subordinates a chance to play for the big league. These choices are ostensibly based on ability and competence but are frequently a product of unconscious prejudice. Female managers show less empathy for new mothers than do male managers. In the professional world at least, women are not competing for a particular man’s attentions, yet you see a lot of female-on-female nastiness. There are, of course exceptions; this is solely my experience and I may have witnessed only anomalous behavior and may be generalising based on that. πŸ™‚


  4. Oh my….that Ruchi ad sucks…. 😦 Even if there is no competition at home between the two ladies, ads like these and esp those stupid serials can create a havoc in the relationship.

    me – I hated that ad from the first time I saw it…

    Marriage can end friendships – ONLY for WOMEN – so true…..

    Me – Yes Uma, and so unfair!

    Loved watching Sex and the City…. πŸ™‚

    Me – I think a lot of women loved Sex and the City for obvious reasons!


  5. Yes IHM even I agree, I sometimes wonder why all my friends have drifted apart post marriage. I tried keeping touch with many but well all that is left is the customary birthday wishes and irregular e-mails or chats and ofcourse FB . Infact they all reminisce about the past and the amount of fun we had, but honestly if I did not take efforts to stay in touch then I think these on and off mails too would be lost. Even I am married now but never felt the shortage of time to catch up with my girlie gang, it infact is a detox routine for me.

    Me – Yes it is, isn’t it! Everybody needs such ‘detox routine’ but it’s such a luxury for most women… 😦

    I recently saw this ad for some biscuit which showed women bonding, will post a link if I can find it. As for movies I really like ‘The Women’, ‘Calendar Girls’, ‘Connie & Carla’, ‘Sisterhood of travelling pants’, ‘First Wives Club’ & ‘Monalisa Smile’

    Me – Thank you Pratibha πŸ™‚


  6. Could it be because women have to fight for what little appreciation comes their way? Especially in their marital home?

    Me – Yes, and isn’t it natural to see other women as rivals then?


  7. Yes…..very often the friendships of women outside the family are considered somewhat like a crime… a waste of time at the least…. This explains many of the insecurities women have .

    Still… a feeling of self respect and self assurance is such a basic thing to have … for women . That will solve so many problems around them…around all of us.

    How would you explain the behavior of a woman , who adjusts my dupatta , because she finds my cleavage too revealing even if there is no male around for ‘her discomfort’ ? This has happened with me and the thought of that incident still rages me.. that woman was an educated working woman .

    Me – Prudery I think Sangeeta. I have been one so I can understand, the genuine belief that showing your cleavage is wrong and maybe you need to be reminded of your carelessness or mistake. Who teaches us this? Everybody. Movies, media, religion, society, elders, friends… So I understand if somebody does this, maybe all we need to do is remind them, that we are more than our cleavage and midriffs. The woman may not understand it immediately but sometime in future she might.


    • If mothers fail to indoctrinate the modesty code in you then it is duty of every right minded woman to do so. πŸ™‚ DG can recall she came from a base town to capital city and she went around in those men like salwar Kameez (those worn by pathan men) other women really had hard time getting use to it. Even my best friend tried to correct me few times. Personally DG believes these women were uncomfortable with their own bodies and secondly, DG’s ease further made them uncomfortable because they could not be what she was and that is comfortable in her own skin. πŸ™‚

      Just last year DG’s mom was saying something about post menopausal body and modesty, DG had to put her foot down and do some straight talking. It is just body, containing body began in childhood, heightened in teens and then adulthood and on and on… can we for once be our self and just not our body. Guess it did the magic. Now we are fine with anyone and everyone in their bodies… πŸ™‚

      If someone does that to DG, she would further pull it down and say, “oh, you really have roving eyes, for a change how about looking at my face or my feet?” πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

      Desi Girl


    • “How would you explain the behavior of a woman , who adjusts my dupatta , because she finds my cleavage too revealing even if there is no male around for β€˜her discomfort’ ?”

      Happened with me too and I still haven’t got over my rage.


  8. Well, I think female bonding is picking up, if it wasn”t there earlier.
    Though in India it is still an field of select few for whatever reasons, I have seen female travellers all over the world bonding together and travelling/living together for months. I don’t think it’s an easy task to be with one on 24X7 basis.

    BTW, your blog is awesome. πŸ™‚

    me – Thank you πŸ™‚
    And about female bonding, maybe bonding where no gender biases exist are the best, but women would benefit so much if they did not see each other as enemies/rivals/competitors…


  9. I physically cringed while watching that fair and lovely ad. But I digress.

    It may seem strange that women fight other women like this. After all, one might assume that “women” are a monolithic group who are the underdog and the oppressed. So two women in the system should behave like kindred spirits sharing the same bonds and being kind to each other right?

    Well, that’s obviously not true!

    Ultimately it comes down to human nature. Women aren’t different from men in that they can seek to exploit power whenever they get it. Tyrannical women rulers have been every bit as brutal as their male counterparts. Given power, a woman is capable of exercising it as ruthlessly as any man.

    Me – I agree.

    Many were shocked when the abuses at Guantanamo bay revealed that lots of sexual abuses, tortures and humiliations were carried out by women soldiers. As if women somehow are exempt from all the baser instincts of humanity.

    We have to stop looking at this in terms of men/women. That’s a false classification. It’s all about power. And that is something which humans respond to pretty uniformly regardless of gender.

    Me – Absolutely agree Bhagwad!!!


    • @Bhagwad,
      The Guantanamo Bay incident was staged emsaculation of the “other.” It was just Lynndie England not other women. It was to humiliate the “other.” She did not do so on her own she was part of the emsculation propaganda that went out of hand once it came out. Women across the globe are used as weapon of war just as rape is.

      Yes, women are capable of using brute force just like men if given a chance but research aslo shows when women are provided with resources and role models they do power differently. When the micro credit loans were given to women the return rates were 100%. But men felt emasculated and they started bothering women hence to mantain their masculinity men were included in the micro credit schemes the end result was same as always, non payments and fights.

      Like wise, women sarpanchs have done more constructive work in the communities (building schools, drinking water and health care etc) than their male counter parts who spent time in fighting and wasting public funds in self aggrandizement projects like constructing memorial gates.

      These two panchayats had male sarpanches earlier why didn’t they do anything about the open defecation??

      We still have to talk about power in terms of gender because we are not yet at the level of equals. Let us create level playing field and then we will talk about gender neutral nature of power. Power is a loaded concept as it is contextual and relative. Check out the link below.

      Desi Girl


      • The examples you’ve given can be explained by the fact that the women were conscious of being in a special position and wanted to do their best. They didn’t take either their loans or their position as sarpanches for granted.

        Because it’s tough for women to rise to positions of power, only the best or most conscientious do so. They’re out to prove a point. They’re hardly a random sample of womanhood in general.

        If we find a woman who has inherited her power with no chance of it being taken away and not conscious of her privilege, the rate of abuse will be on par with that of men.


      • Incidentally DG, Lynndie England was involved in Abu Ghraib and not Guantanamo Bay. Also, your statement that she was the only woman there is wrong. There were others including Sabrina Harman and Megan Ambuhl.

        Saying that these women were not responsible for their actions is pretty lame. It’s just as easy to say that wartime rape is also “not personal” and ordered to break the spirit of “the other.” As adults and conscientious humans, they were responsible for everything they did.

        It’s blatantly two faced to say that when men commit a heinous crime, they’re monsters but when women do the same they must have been forced into it somehow and it wasn’t their fault.

        Look, I’m all for women’s empowerment. But you don’t have to idealize women in order to do it. The bare facts make the case themselves!


    • It is not at all hard for women to get into power at this rate, the way politicians file nominations of their female kin. Lalu brought Rabri into politics in same spirit but there was a difference in Lalu and Rabri CMship and that was while Lalu was out of office making speeches, Rabari sat in office and signed files and got some work done.

      Yes, it is difficult for women to rise up and prove themselves so they are good at what they do. Men get it served on platter so they squander it away. BUT the same story does not apply to male dalit sarpanchs they too have to prove it to the upper castes that they can get some work done. It’s only certain men that are privileged not all men are created equal so are not women.

      About women inheriting power and absolute power like you know who… In absence of positive role models do exactly what their predecessors have done.

      We can stretch this to any extremes we want but the bottom line will remain gender can not be subtracted from the equation of power when it is collectively experienced. A mother-in-law may have more power and control over the lives of bahus and younger men or even her husband but she is still oppressed in the world outside the home. The dimensions of power are differentional, contextual and relative.

      This is it from DG.

      Desi Girl


      • @DG

        The word “power” is itself gender neutral. There’s no evidence that women have a “better nature” than men given the same upbringing and opportunities.

        In fact, it’s a well known fact in psychology that oppressed people have no trouble at all when given a chance to oppress others. Hence even a lower caste person will look down on someone who is of a “lower” caste. Even when slavery was present, we have ample examples of distinctions between themselves with “house slaves” looking down on “worker slaves” and so on and so forth.

        In a worst case scenario, we’re very capable of looking down and exerting power over animals and children when there’s no one one else to oppress.

        In fact, it is this very ability to exert power over others that keeps people somewhat “happy” in an unfair system. A wife and mother may indeed have lesser privileges, but she’s happy that she can lord it over her poor daughter in law. These are the perks and many will fight tooth and nail to keep the system in place even though they’re oppressed.

        Humans being the social animals that we are take to social stratification very naturally. We view it in all social animals. Wolves have a pecking order, as do lions and fishes and gender has no correlation with this order.

        Since we humans now have the luxury of being able to imagine an egalitarian world, let’s not shackle that vision with defining gender in the equation. It might be a reality that women are oppressed and we need to fight against that. But to say that women’s nature is more “sweet” and that they’re not as prone to the excesses of power is not only flat out wrong, but destructive to the very concept of equality.


      • @Bhagwad,

        You are re-quoting DG on this one. Check this

        This is what DG has said before, this is like preaching the choir.

        Did DG once say women are sweet natured or are not capable of evil if given a chance? She used the analogy of “house slave” and “field slave” in one of her comments on gbuzz while commenting on carelesschronical’s post. All her comments on it can be read here

        Egalitarian world is not an utopia, it is always a work in progress where individually and collectively each member has to work towards it by reflecting on personal privilege. If someone believes it is an utopia and unattainable then they are willing to give up on oppressed members of their group and making better for them.

        There is nothing much left for DG to add here. Just check her comments from previous posts.

        Desi Girl


  10. For once IHM, I don’t think I agree with you (when you say that women are rivals because of patriarchy). I think competition among women happens because of economic dependence. If women were as financially independent as men normally are, then they wouldn’t care much about what the other women in the family say or do. If they are confident to meet the world on their own, and not as, then they would not need to fight and retain their place as Mr.So-on-so’s most prized possession!!!!

    Me – Pal I agree with what you are saying, I meant that Patriarchy keeps women dependent on men, it makes them see men as their prized possisession, I blogged about it here,

    Also, I would really like to see this happening some day: Roles getting reversed and men getting pregnant instead of women. This one equation will dramatically change the way our world operates today.

    Me – It is changing even now, people are realising that equality, freedom, justice for all etc are the best way to live in peace and harmony.


    • “If women were as financially independent as men normally are, then they wouldn’t care much about what the other women in the family say or do”

      I don’t agree with what you have said Pal. Many women who have a pretty good income and are self-sufficient, still care about what other women think or say and act accordingly. Actually that is the sad part of it. Financial independence does not automatically guarantee emotional independence as well. Sometimes those who are not financially independent (like yours truly who is a stay at home person and has been always) have more capability to disregard what others think or say. Personally though I cannot call myself financially independent, I am damned if I care two hoots about what anyone ‘thinks’ or says about me as long as I know what I am.


  11. I have liked charlies angels for this one fact… female action movies arent always great… but i kina liked the three of them together πŸ™‚ I havent watched sex and the city tv show… but liked the movie… even sisterhood of travelling pants was good…

    friends i know is not much related to this… but i have liked those scenes of the three gals… a lot of them are rly good… u gotta watch this – πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

    me – Awwww loved the video!! …

    lol @ father of bride video…

    yes., i think thats so true… bt may be all have same issues – the gender doesnt matter when it comes to such things… goin a lil out of context, men gossip too… they also feel offended… cant stereo type anything these days… all are like sub-sets of one thing or another… be it women or men…

    Me – I agree gender doesn’t really matter in these matters…


    • Individually gender does not matter because it is rendered invisible but collectively gender does matter. If you look at individual cases, across history we see handful of powerful women but they are not a norm and they cannot represent all women, not every son is a Shivaji but every women is expected birth and raise a Shivaji πŸ™‚ . One Indira Nooyi or Indira Gandhi cannot represent Indian womankind. The collective nature of power is a different story.

      Desi Girl


  12. I somehow seem to make lesser female friendships, and more of male friendships. And the reason that has happened is (and the reason I prefer it this way) the more time I spend with a ‘group’ of girl friends, the more outcast I feel..Because the talks are mostly female-stereotypical.. talks about shopping, guys, how to look good, sharing recipes are personally boring to me, and I just done seem to connect with the group. Not all girls talk about these things, but most in my friend circle do. That said and done, one of by bestest friend is a girl and the reason we are such good friends is because we are both alike (and generally outcast in a bunch of girls). πŸ˜€

    me – In the end I guess it doesn’t matter whether they are men or women, good friends are good friends πŸ™‚

    On the other hand, some of my best friends are guys, and more of than not, its guys who have given me excellent emotional support and pepping up. Plus, I share a lot of common interests with them, and hence seem to connect better with a bunch of guys. So I dont think forming ‘female friendships’ necessarily mean good support systems.

    Me – I agree Neha, friendship should not be based on gender at all, but I also feel, a lot of times women form no friendships with other women, because they have either no time or opportunity or because of the way they are conditioned to see other women as rivals. That is unfortunate for women 😦


  13. In my culture I have actually encountered women who are proud they don’t get along with women. It’s something that saddens and angers me. We’re taught that women are innately catty and always in competition with each other. But still I don’t understand why a lot of women spend time tearing other women.

    me – This seriously saddens me too RenKiss… women here too are seen as manipulative, malicious gossips, shallow etc. Enjoying male companionship is seen as being straightforward… these are deep rooted stereotypes 😦 But of course friendships need not, should not be based on gender. One can also have some great female friends and some great male friends.

    I agree this isn’t something that only women do, but since we live in patriarchal societies, I can’t help but to feel there’s some type of divide and conquer thing going on. 😦 There are differences in how men and women take their aggressions out on each other. I think with men they’re more confrontational, while women are more manipulative. I chalk this up to socialization.

    Also I wanted to recommend a novel Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. It’s story to two women bonding and friendship. Sex and the City is also another great example, it’s why so many women liked it.

    Me – I am going to create a post or a page with a list of such watchable movies and readable books.


  14. Hi IHM,

    Couldn’t resist sending you this ::::

    They teach this at Stanford:

    Shared by someone who just finished taking an evening class at
    Stanford, The last lecture was on the mind-body connection-the
    relationship between stress and disease. The speaker (head of
    psychiatry at Stanford) said, among other things, that one of the best
    things that a man could do for his health is to be married to a woman
    whereas for a woman, one of the best things she could do for her
    health was to nurture her relationships with her girlfriends
    . At
    first, everyone laughed, but he was serious.

    Women connect with each other differently and provide support systems
    that help each other to deal with stress and difficult life
    experiences. Physically this quality “girlfriend time” helps us to
    create more serotonin–a neurotransmitter that helps combat depression
    and can create a general feeling of well-being. Women share feelings
    whereas men often form relationships around activities. They rarely
    sit down with a buddy and talk about how they feel about certain
    things or how their personal lives are going
    . Jobs? Yes. Sports? Yes.
    Cars? Yes. Fishing, hunting, golf? Yes. But their feelings?–rarely.
    Women do it all the time. We share from our souls with our
    sisters/mothers, and evidently that is very good for our health. He
    said that spending time with a friend is just as important to our
    general health as jogging or working out in a gym.
    There’s a tendency to think that when we are “exercising,” we are
    doing something good for our bodies, but when we are hanging out with
    friends, we are wasting our time and should be more productively
    engaged. Not true. In fact, he said that failure to create and
    maintain quality personal relationships with other human beings is as
    dangerous to our physical health as smoking!
    So, every time you hang
    out to schmooze with a gal pal, just pat yourself on the back and
    congratulate yourself for doing something good for your health! We are
    indeed very, very lucky. Sooooo let’s toast to our friendships with
    our girlfriends. It’s very good for our health.

    Me – This is amazing!! Thanks for sharing, loved it!!


  15. Also some time ago I wrote a blog on European contemporary of us.
    Actually they are getting liberated from hardcore patriarchy recently and come out to make new bonds with girl friends. Organising an afternoon with many girl friends and laughing the time out with minimal comparative discussion is very normal there.
    Here is the link I observed about European friends of mine.


  16. Sorry for pouring in instalments! But your this blog has set me thinking, as I always have tried my best to maintain frank, heart to heart relationship with many women I have come across through out my life. I truly care for them and I appreciate them from my heart for all the things they keep doing silently without paycheques, Casual leaves, Earned leaves, pensions and provident funds. Yes, even working women keep doing many things without any return benefits. With no expectations of people pausing, turning back and saying Please, Sorry or Thank you. They only know that they will be criticised. And in the life time of keeping doing stuff, they forget friends, they forget to cry out of laugh, they forget pillow fights. They forget to touch shoulders of their best friends they had once, be that a boy or a girl. To keep the friendship I actually don’t do a lot, I just praise (truly-no show off), encourage (all the time) or listen (when necessary) to them, and I get back so much more. Recently I keep writing to some of the new friends of mine as blog comments! Yes I must admit I have met with very interesting women in blogosphere and without knowing them I share a lot with them.
    I must say I have also cared and tried to keep a good friendship with many men I met through out my life. The ones who are not conformers who are at least little more understanding! And got married with one of them!

    Me – πŸ™‚ Congrats! And I love the lines above…

    Here is another movie for you list -The Women

    One book I will recommend is ‘Eat, Pray and Love’ By Elizabeth Gilbert. I haven’t watch the movie yet. Just in the beginning my Indian mentality was churned but then slowly I could reconnect with the protagonist who was in search of herself in a crazy way, we might think but then why not. That is what life is all about. This book is not about friendship but As Julia Roberts has written you can gift it to your girlfriend.
    Please do publish the list of yours once made!

    me – Yes and we can all keep adding our favorites to this list. Will try and make it today.


  17. You know I had not known that women post marriage were not allowed to keep friendship’s as I lived with my parents for several years after marriage! It was once I had MIL with me tht these “new” and weird impositions started to fall into position!I was a bit too timid to fight them then, but now am slowly getting open about it! Female bonding, I see it everywhere with others tht stand by each other, and yearn it, but did not find it in places where I had expected it to be natural! Loved to see more vids on it!


  18. I so agree with your post! As a woman myself I find it very hard to say this, but I do think this female bonding is a bit difficult for us more than the men because women on the whole seem to have more of jealousy and less of patience when it comes to other women. I have seen many men maintain excellent contacts with their friends, while as women we do stumble a bit. This is also due to a whole lot of external factors like pressure from in laws, relatives but I do think a little bit is coz of our own attitude. Maybe we always expect a tad


  19. I agree with you on the Patriarchy point – it makes women compete among themselves… I think it is changing though – atleast I do see some evidence of it these days.
    I know of a few malayalam movies thaty capture female bonding quite well, though not as the main theme.
    Recently, I read this short story collection called Secret Spaces by Aruna Chakravarthy – one of the stories (Suralakshmi Villa) captures a very unique relationship very well.


  20. ” And why don’t all women value female-friendships, which often provide sensitive, solid, reliable, support systems for them? ”

    This is so true IHM. I have very few female friends and more of male friends..remember the gender stereotype post πŸ˜‰ but the kind of support system I find in my female friends is really inexplicable. You know for those heart to heart talks they are so ideal! πŸ™‚

    Loved this post πŸ™‚


  21. It’s strange how easily we make men friends and how tough it is to strike a chord with women. Men flatter, are eager to make friends. Women take all the time to make up their minds. But a woman-woman bonding as you mentioned, is so unique.
    We understand our emotional needs. we can giggle over trivial things and we can be just our selves. Such bonds withstand the test of time.


    • I completely agree with you. I was just thinking like many others have replied above that even I find it so much easier to make friends with men. I’ve also often used the words “find it easier to approach and strike a chord” with men. Also yes, “men flatter”..

      Yes it’s true I feel that automatically when a woman and man strike up a friendly conversation the natural balance of the universe (namely our conditioning) takes over. I feel an unsaid equation of man=stronger, wiser, more dependent friend and woman=daintier, seeking validation and protection friend. Even in the most awesome friendships I have found undertones of this equation. Sure there may be those rare few otherwise. This is just my observation and experience.

      Also to the many of you who have replied above about falling out of touch after marriage… I completely echo that sentiment. My close group of friends, we’ve been together since KG, just graduated 4 years ago. Now the single ones manage to email once in a while. This married one also made an effort until recently when she got pregnant. Surprisingly her husband is one of those boy-friends we were all close with, college onwards.

      In the last few months, as she progressed through her pregnancy and had her gode-bharai, suddenly he’s more curt to me when we talk. Forget her, she hardly bothers calling anyone and is suddenly all about “what her in-laws” ask her to do. I can’t say how this upsets me – to think that someone can change so much in a matter of 2 months. 😦

      I would never personally belittle what she’s going through, but I thought I’d share how I experienced my best friend just vanishing “poof” and being replaced by the “ideal new mom”… God Bless her heart…

      Me – The sad thing is sometimes a woman might thus isolate herself from friends who can otherwise be a great support system, someone objective and someone with a fresh perspective… 😦


  22. Great post IHM ! You are so right about patriarchy pitting women against one another as competitors for male attention.

    The Ruchi Gold ad reminded me of another ad which I find obnoxious–the Lipton Taaza tea ad. It shows a homemaker running into a bank-manager female friend and bringing her home.When asked whether she is working,she replies apologetically that she is just a housewife. As she says this, her MIL is shown giving her a sour look..Housewife then serves her friend samosas and tea.Friend raves about the samosas,wishing aloud that the bank-canteen served such stuff too. That (and Lipton Taaza chai πŸ™‚ ) gives housewife the idea she had been waiting for–and she becomes the catering manager of her friend’s bank. And wins MIL’s approval too.

    It took me a while to figure out what I did not like about this ad. It shows great bonding between two female friends with neither trying to judge the other. It apparently encourages the idea of women working,and even tries to look extra progressive by showing the MIL as supporting the DIL’s venture. The problem is this –why was MIL so distinctly unhappy with her DIL’s housewife status? She apparently does’nt just want her DIL to make great samosas– and do all the housework so that she is free to sit all day and knit in peace–she also expects her to add to the family kitty by earning some money on the side!! She is pleased as punch when DIL begins to do just that!!
    Will try to find you the link…

    Me – I remember the ad!! I also fail to understand how it is seen as okay for girls to marry without giving any dowry, because they are ‘earning’. The concept of marriage, dowry, self reliance, providing for oneself and, working at home from dawn to dusk and still remaining dependent – all need sorting out in Indian minds. One commenter wanted to know if a woman was right to support her parents if she was not earning…


  23. Uggh! I hate the Ruchi ad. Applying the situation to my life, though I would appreciate my husband complimenting me on what I cook, I would absolutely hate it if he belittled what my MIL makes.

    In India, most men are not involved in cooking/houselhold chores. So they have absolutely no right to make comparisons. The ad sucks.

    I agree with the point that marriage means the end of friendships for women. I have seen this happen with my cousins.

    On female bonding-Many years back there was a show called Banegi apni baat. Though it was about the angst that teenagers face, the show had strong female characters in the form of a mother (Surekha Sikhri) and three daughters. The bonding shown between them was special and memorable.
    Gilmore Girls also showed the bonding between a mum and daughter, who were more like friends.


  24. I loved the movie, “The Women”! Mainly because it made me remember and miss my college friends enough to call them up (all in different parts of the world) and reminisce about the good ol’ days. So much so that we organised a grand reunion after years of not seeing each other and every one turned up . From Canada, Singapore, Ireland, Oman and various corners of India.
    Female bonding? I think we re-bonded so much better this time around!

    Me – I too recently met many very old school and college friends and kind of understood why we became friends in the first place πŸ™‚


  25. There is saying in Malayalam, demeaning one, that translates to, “Four heads can get along together, but four breasts cannot’. That is to say, four men can get along but, even just two women cannot get along with each other. This is repeated by men and surprisingly so as wisdom by the women too. Grrr…. It raises my hackles each time I hear it.
    My answer:
    ‘Centuries have gone by when more than a couple of pair of breasts have lived together in harmony, got along and survived in the many joint families. But, think for a moment what if it had been the other way around…?? Humankind would have been annihilated. I sincerely don’t think that for all the bonding men are supposed (only supposed) to have they could have survived even one generation of living in a joint family in the conditions women have, without murdering each other. And to make it clear, being in the army is in no way similar to a joint family. To live and survive in a joint family takes more out of you than being in the army.
    So it is wrong to say women don’t bond. It is just another myth perpetuated, Like someone said above, it is almost like a divide and rule policy this talk of women not bonding. When men fight, it is romanticised action, but when women fight it is called cat fight. Aren’t fights merely fights?? Why the different references??

    One question: If women did not bond, how is humanity surviving??!

    Mirch Masala is another wonderful movie that showed women bonding to save one among them.


    • “It is just another myth perpetuated, Like someone said above, it is almost like a divide and rule policy this talk of women not bonding.
      When men fight, it is romanticised action, but when women fight it is called cat fight. Aren’t fights merely fights?? Why the different references??

      One question: If women did not bond, how is humanity surviving??!”

      Me – Agree very strongly!
      I also agree with another comment about how we see women’s conversations as gossip and male conversations as intellectual discussions , then there is this stereotype of men being straight forward and women being naturally manipulative – I know enough of both. But it is possible that women who do not want to be associated with gossiping would deny enjoying women’s company (that’s would as bad as saying they like gossip).


      • I agree with that. I am tired of this ‘women gossip’ another myth that is perpetuated. I have seen enough men indulge in gossip in its purest form. It is a rare man who does not enjoy gossip.

        Talking about being manipulative. when a man praises a woman when she wears a sari, tells her how he likes her when she dressed in Indian clothes unlike the so called hussies in jeans (whom he surreptitiously watches), WHAT exactly is he doing other than manipulating her to toes his line??!!! Sheesh. Manipulative skills are not the monopoly of women, it is freely used by men to get their own way. Only thing the they pretend it is love and women delude themselves it is so.

        It may be natural that women enjoy the company of men and vice versa, but we cannot deny that women also enjoy the company of their own gender as well, the same way, if not more. It is not merely men who want to meet their cronies, women like women-time too. The difference is that men get to choose who they make friends with while women have to settle for who the men and their family have chosen for them, once they are married. In such circumstances can friendship and bonding be possible?? In spite though, women have managed to bond. I’d like to see a man bond with his father-in-law and other family members of his wife, leaving all of his friends and family behind. Now THAT would be something, wouldn’t it??


  26. movies based on Women’s friendship – Fried Green Tomatoes at Whistle Stop Cafe and The Women. These are the only two I can think of.
    And It’s Complicated also shows a lovely bunch of women dining together (though the movie doesn’t revolve around it). I lovvvve the movie and the scenes where she’s with dining with her friends. Always makes me wanna throw lunches for my girlfriends! πŸ˜€

    And yeah, I’m still in touch with all the women in my life from school and college (at least the ones I wanted to stay in touch with). There were a few who had marriage problems, but even they stayed in touch in spite of horrid abusive husbands.


  27. Army Wives on TV. Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya sisterhood. Waiting to Exhale. Steel Magnolias. How to Make an American Quilt. Now and Then.

    Now, shall go back and read the comments. And comment another time.

    My best friend was hunted down after her early marriage and given some time to get out of her home world. Fortunately for me, she did (on her own) and we are also extremely fortunate to live in the same city. And now our families get along very well (they don’t really have a choice!) – her husband is a lot like me and my husband is a lot like her. We now have an explanation for why we are friends (who have never fought….touch hard wood several times) and why we picked who we picked and how we can all get along! πŸ˜€


    • I like The First Wives Club but didn’t like the male bashing or the fact that they all get together in order to get even…..even the bonding had a male centric, project type feel to it, though they went back a long ways and got together after long years because the fourth friend committed suicide.

      me – I agree, the trailer did give me this feeling…


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  31. Have you seen Miss. Congeniality II? One awesome thing about it is that there is no guy that the girl goes lives happily ever after at the end of the movie. It is a gal-pal movie, showing the bond between two FBI agent partners, Gracie and Sam. They fight, look out for each other in tough situations and understand each other. I thought it was one of its kind in that it did not need a hero/nice guy to sweep the lady off her feet and instead concentrated on two female friends πŸ™‚


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