From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

Thumbelina’s comment in response to Ananya aka Shravan Kumar.

I would like to know if you disagree.

“While feminists will argue for their spouse’s right to wipe their baby’s butt, they’ll also fight ( very non-submissively, and non-manipulatively) for their right to live with the person they love, even if HE or SHE is perceived by Society to be their professional/social inferior.

You seem to think that every woman has the need to feel their partner is their superior in some way, and will lose “respect” for them if they don’t.

Luckily, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Most women love their men for the person they are, not for reasons like they’re older, earn more money, or that they are at higher positions at work. We (I’m speaking for the “modern, Indian woman” here) do not treat them like kings (read, we don’t wait on them hand and foot, or treat their word like gospel truth, or defer to their opinions), we treat them as lovers and best friends, we fight with them over big things and small, we cry on their shoulders (or chests, for the more vertically challenged –don’t look at me– of us), we hug them when they’re low, we pull their legs relentlessly because, hey, they do the same, we tell them off when they’re being jerks, because, hey, they do the same.

There is no hypocrisy in the relationship, no thinking one thing and saying another, no bitterness, no feeling of missing out. And yes, if we grow apart, if things change as they sometimes do, we walk out, with hearts broken maybe, but with our dignity intact. and no, our lives aren’t over then.

I suspect your sarcasm hides some real bitter feelings towards women who have the courage to do what they want, and excel at it. You seem successful professionally, and seem happy with your personal life, why this antipathy towards the “feminists”?”

73 thoughts on “From the modern, Indian woman to Shravan Kumar.

  1. Absolutely agree. I think anyone who has such a strong reaction to anything is trying to resolve something related for themselves. Most negative reactions to ‘feminists’ (which is about women being people too – nothing more and absolutely nothing less!) is rooted in fear of change. And losing comfort or the comfort of a rut that people have settled into.

    The kind of relationship Thumbelina mentions is a happy marriage and I know people of all generations who have this. The teasing and different-ness of expressing feelings is a lot more in the past 15 or so years.

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  2. “Why this antipathy towards the feminists?”

    She (Ananya) obviously feels she’s had to “pay her dues” to be where she’s at today, and takes affront at other women getting there without having to do the same. Talk about misdirected bitterness/resentment!

    Women who’re not taking the same approach aren’t the ones who made you do it. It was you who did it and your spouse/ILs who obviously supported you on that path. Don’t take it out on random unsuspecting women.

    And please, decide once and for all if you’re Ananya or Shravan Kumar so I can do a better job of getting appropriately enraged. I’m so confused right now! :-S

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  3. IHM,

    The person posting under the name Ananya is actually Shravan Kumar??

    Me – They appear to be the same person, in fact I am quite sure they are.

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  4. I agree..

    I think Ananya just resents the women who have the freedom she could never enjoy and the guts to stand up for themselves (which she never did). It is also a result of deep social indoctrination and inability to combat it. I know women in shittiest of marriages who keep saying you have to marry, no other choice. Yes there is a choice , better to be single than in an unhappy marriage but our great Indian society will not let a single woman live in peace ah

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  5. why this antipathy towards the “feminists”?

    I’m guessing it’s because anyone who identifies as a feminist, not only does that mean you believe in equality but also challenging the status quo. Many people don’t like that, so that would explain the hostility towards feminism and feminists.

    At any rate, there’s always going to be those who want to hold onto the old traditions and old ways of doing things, mainly because those people usually benefit from it. But what I don’t understand why some people (such as Ananya) want to hold onto such notions that don’t benefit them. It’s something that I’ll never understand. But either way, there’s always going to be people who are against any type of social progress, sometimes it’s just better to ignore them.

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    • Reg. holding on to notions that don’t benefit them, I think it’s easier for them. Easier than acknowledging to themselves that they didn’t HAVE TO take the path they did, that they had a choice. Easier than accepting that it was all in vain. So they glorify their “sacrifice”….tell people it served a purpose. Because in their hearts, they know it wasn’t “easy”. It didn’t come naturally to them. They weren’t born “submissive” or obedient. It hurts. It SHOULD hurt any sane person to have to give up their sense of self, to have to put on a face — all so that they don’t rock the boat. While the other person who’s in the same boat with them takes this behavior for granted.

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  6. I could n’t agree more. I couldnt possibly have have married someone I didnt think was my equal in life perspective- irrespective of job n socio-economic status. I think my partner would say the same.

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  7. I think I have stopped putting logic behind what ananya/shravan kumar are saying because everything is contradicting to what he/she said previously. Quoting ananya’s comment from last post:
    “There are millions of couples, and to each, their.
    Let’s agree to disagree.”
    These words do not seems from the same person who wrote about his/her SIL’s life choices and how he/she feels she should be behaving with her husband. Or even if they are from the same person, the person clearly has a split personality!

    Anyways, I loved thumbelina’s description of the relationship. And while my relationship with my husband is along the same lines as described by thumbelina, I do realise that just because it works for us, might not work for others. I mean, there cant be a one right way to live. As long as you do not impose your way of living/thoughts on others, I think any way is the right way. As long as you are happy, your partner are happy (in the true sense) it hardly matters “how” you are living your marriage. The key lies in not judging you co-sister based on her life choices😉

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  8. Ananya is actually Sravan Kumar? Why the need for this charade? Did SK think that the cringe inducing thoughts coming from Ananya would be more acceptable on this forum simply because it was being said from one woman to another? Does he truly believe that we feminists object to anything said by a man simply because he’s male? How narrow!

    Also, random thought – if i remember correctly SK’s nephew’s supposed to be 9 yrs old. Regarding the bum cleaning comment – why isnt he potty trained yet?

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    • *sarcasm* With a callous and negligent, engineer mom like Shravan Kumar’s SIL, you don’t expect him to be toilet trained even by age 9, do you?

      There is a possibility Ananya and SK know each other from offline or online and SK directed Ananya to IHM’s blog.

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  9. Excellent post, Thumbelina.

    Why this antipathy towards feminists?
    I would say, she is suffering herself. When an aggressive person is taught submission (instead of assertion) as the path to success, they become manipulative and passive aggressive. They believe that’s their only way to success. When person like a feminist uses assertion and straight-forwardness to be successful and can see through manipulators like Ananya, these manipulators feel powerless and to get their power back, they direct their anger towards them. It’s like ‘Hurt people hurt people’.

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  10. They all hate feminists don’t they?
    The other day, this typical Sravan Kumar-esque Indian male asked me ” Who will marry *you*?”
    You know… I’m a feminist, I believe in equal partnerships, I don’t believe cooking is my “duty” to my spouse and I don’t believe that I “need” to be married to *somebody* to be complete, so I don’t need to settle for someone like him (oh whom clearly, there are plenty). Clearly, he saw me as a horrible person cos of the above.

    I was so shocked by his rudeness that I didn’t even know how to respond to it! I’m amazed that people like that think they are SO right in their way of thinking and I am SO wrong and they think they have the right to be so rude to me and get away with it.
    And they do too, cos really… I don’t know how to deal with people like that other than ignore them.

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      • If I were you, I’d have laughed and said something along the lines of “definitely not someone like you, thank goodness”.

        The best way to deal with these sorts is to laugh at them. They can deal with anger and arguments, but not with ridicule😀

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    • Sanjana, I totally understand you. I used to argue for feminism with people until a friend of mine told me that the people I talk to, do not really want to have a conversation and that they just push my buttons to get me started. They had found my weakness. All they needed to do was glorify the ‘bhartiya nari’ and I would start my rant.
      I have realized that I am better off not showing all my cards to people, especially to those who don’t matter. I only help people who need help (those people who are on the border of feminism) to jump into our territory.

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      • LOL, and I thought this only happened with me! I too have learned the hard way that it is best to keep quiet in the company of certain people, because, dammit, it serves no earthly purpose crying yourself hoarse when they just won’t get it anyway. I now stick to spouting feminism only on forums such as these or in the company of like-minded friends.

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  11. Leaving apart the portions about modernity and feminism and Ananya and Shravan Kumar being the same person (or not), it struck me that the “old-fashioned, old values traditional family” seems to be a place full of strife. Someone has to be submissive, other people have authority and expectations, there are duties and responsibilities, work is highly stratified. If you follow the narrow path, it is pretty good, else there are consequences. In my feminist modernist opinion, these houses do not sound like fun places to live in. Rather like workplaces with a strict hierarchy and no flexibility. Really doe snot sound like a very attractive place to live. For anyone. Even the menfolk must tire of their “will show no emotion or love to their offspring” ways, while for the women it seems like one mass of drudgery.

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  12. At the end of day, a marriage/partnership is between two people. Whether one makes more money or has higher social status is irrelevant. In the marriage, the arrangements are between two people. How they choose to interact with each other is their choice. If the marriage is based on mutual attraction, trust and understanding, and willingness to ignore other’s opinion, I don’t think higher or lower social status or economic status matters.

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  13. Sanjana, I totally understand you. I used to argue for feminism with people until a friend of mine told me that the people I talk to, do not really want to have a conversation and that they just push my buttons to get me started. They had found my weakness. All they needed to do was glorify the ‘bhartiya nari’ and I would start my rant.
    I have realized that I am better off not showing all my cards to people, especially to those who don’t matter. I only help people who need help (those people who are on the border of feminism) to jump into our territory.

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  14. i dont think there is an ananya. shravan kumar has visualised his ideal wife and then written on her behalf.

    Me – Yes that is what I feel too. Ananya is Shravan Kumar’s idea of the woman he would like to marry, aggressive in supporting and parroting his ideals and meek and submissive infront of him.

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    • They may have a fat chance in hell of being married for love but the tragedy, GB, is that they will still find plenty of women falling over themselves to marry them in the arranged marriage market😦

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      • Scribblehappy, each of these women would be way happier being married to the kind of guys who respect and value them for what they are. Many would be marrying them because they never learnt that other options were available. And many because they dare not refuse (for sake of family and community etc).

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      • Absolutely, IHM. Which woman in her sane mind would want to marry morons such as these? The women who will arranged-marry these guys will indeed do it without knowing that other options are available and because they dare not refuse. They will spend their miserable lives believing what the society wants them to believe–that it was their lot to suffer.

        In fact, the very reason why our society loves arranged marriages is that thanks to this system jerks like Sravan Kumar find it so easy to get married.

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  15. Loved the relationship described here. It is exactly what I wanted in my marriage…but alas only got Sravan Kumars and Ananyas as husband, MIL, BIL and a spineless FIL. After moving out I once asked my counsellor- these people were never really happy with me (or not for long)in the 6 years i stayed with them…what kind of poeple/ DIL will they really be happy with? And my Counsellor replied such people are never happy with anyone for too long. I guess because their relationships are so toxic, unhealthy and fake. I remember feeling strangly glad on hearing this from my counsellor.

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    • I think such people are happy with a DIL and a wife who is self-effacing and timid to the point of suffering from avoidant personality disorder.😉

      Such families are very complex.

      One of the reasons why I thought Ananya was a real person was because my ex-husband’s family would have loved a DIL like Ananya.

      Well-educated, financially independent, submissive and eager to please and “win over” every member of the family with her K-serial-like devotion to ‘pati’ and ‘sasural’.

      For families like these, modernity and progressiveness are “for show only”. These kinds of people are big fans of women who are “modern-yet-traditional”.

      They are genuinely convinced that the way for a DIL to win her new in-laws over is by appearing to be super-devoted and super-slavish in the beginning.

      A corporate lawyer at work who transforms into the devoted wife and DIL at home.

      One who “asks” nicely if she can visit her parents for a few hours or watch her favorite TV show.

      One who “volunteers” to give up things she loves, to “prove” how committed she is to her new home.

      The tragedy is that such people are also convinced that it is THEY who are the backbone and custodians of culture and society, that this is the ONLY way to live!

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      • BIW loved your commnt and can relate to every word of it. My Ex-husband’s family would have loved a ‘modern-yet-tradiional’ DIL too. Infact thats exactly what they wanted but got me instead!

        I could agree with my counsellor when she said such people can never be happy with anyone because you can fake it only for so long… Thats why I found ‘Ananya’s frustrations and issues with her modern SIL beievable.

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  16. Scribblehappy, I wasn’t arguing feminism or anything. I *am* a feminist, yes, but it’s a part of who I am and the way I behave and not about preaching to people about equal rights. So I don’t take any sort of you’re-a-woman-and-your-place-is-where-I-put-you crap from anyone. Which is not always well received, as you can see from his response.

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    • I think views should be brought out clearly and loudly regardless of audience. Keeping quite do not serve any purpose. Patriarchy rules by repeating the ‘rules’ again and again through all available media and it should be fought by saying it is unjust again and again through all mediums.

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    • Sanjana, you are very right in not taking any crap from anyone, I don’t too, and I am sure it doesn’t go down well many times, and one is sometimes faced with shockingly rude responses such as the one you talked about. I tend to agree with what Thumbelina said–the best way to deal with such people is to laugh at them. They can indeed deal with anger and arguments but not with ridicule.

      My comment, actually, was in response to what SmallTownFeminist said about how people would push buttons on her by saying something about the greatness of Bhartiya naari and how that would get her all worked up. I could relate to that very well–I’ve been there,done that all too often. Experience does leave you wiser and now I am reluctant to waste my breath where it is simply not worth it, though I do and will always stand up to bullies who try to show me my
      place.

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  17. i would like to know if any of these things can be done in front of the in laws (I mean “We (I’m speaking for the “modern, Indian woman” here) do not treat them like kings (read, we don’t wait on them hand and foot, or treat their word like gospel truth, or defer to their opinions), we treat them as lovers and best friends, we fight with them over big things and small, we cry on their shoulders (or chests, for the more vertically challenged –don’t look at me– of us), we hug them when they’re low, we pull their legs relentlessly because, hey, they do the same, we tell them off when they’re being jerks, because, hey, they do the same.”)

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    • Anon: Yes, they can. I’ve seen it happen, and it works just fine.
      Cos the in laws are nice people too, that’s why they brought up their son to be a husband who can stand his wife to being an equal partner.

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    • Anon/Ananya/Sharavan: Absolutely. If they truly loved their son/daughter, they’d be super happy with the rapport between the couple, not jealous and insecure and all shes-changed-you-and-now-you-are-her-spouse-and-not-my-son.😀

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