Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

I knew India was not a very woman friendly place but now it seems, India is the most dangerous place in the world to be a baby girl. (Thanks for the link Dhiren)

The UN report is clear that high girl child mortality is explained by socio-cultural values. So strong is the biological advantage for girls in early childhood that higher mortality among girls should be seen as “a powerful warning that differential treatment or access to resources is putting girls at a disadvantage”, the report says.

“Higher female mortality from age 1 onwards clearly indicated sustained discrimination,” [link]

But, why don’t the Indian parents and society value girl children?

If dowry and finding them a husband is the problem? Then has making laws against dowry solved the problem?

It hasn’t, because parents who just have to get their daughters married by a certain age to a certain kind of man (who must be older, taller and earn more than the girl), have no choice but to give dowry, and accept some ridiculous conditions which appear normal to us because they have become a habit/custom.

It doesn’t matter that the daughter is completely self reliant, she still must marry before she is a certain age. So would it not help is women didn’t see getting married and staying married as their goal in life? I see that as the only thing that can change this horrible disbalance.

Picture life for women if they didn’t see marriage as their sole goal in life.

=>They work to be self reliant and since they have to take care of themselves, they learn to be independent.

=>They choose careers they have aptitude for without worrying about how it affects their prospects for finding suitable husbands.

=>Their parents have no fears about what the neighbours’ think because they are not thinking about what the neighbor’s grand uncle would say to the third cousin’s aunty who wants information about their daughter’s character (romantic life and virginity) to pass on to prospective bridegrooms’ families.

=>So less control of the entire community on who they meet, how they dress, what timings they keep etc – less stress for their parents.

=>Once there is no pressure to marry, they would be themselves. They won’t need to pretend to be what they are expected to be.

=>Once the fear of her reputation marring her chances of getting married is gone, parents would take sexual crimes against women more seriously.

=>Since parents make families, and families make society, this would the beginning of the society recognizing sexual harassment and sexual crimes as serious crimes.

=>Once the society takes sexual crimes seriously, so would the police and the government.

=>And that would result in an honest attempt to to understand sexual crimes, and that sincere effort would bring down such crimes considerably.

Sexual crimes would still happen but then they would not be seen as,
1. A woman’s fault (parents and society won’t tolerate such excuses)
2. As the end of her life,
3. As affecting her reputation.

Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

A sad majority of Indians would then NOT support girl children living lives where they can’t expect equality and justice.

They will no longer pass off injustice as ‘Indian family values’.

Women like Ananya, who suffer from Stockhom Syndrome, would not need to be grateful to their abusers when their slavish obedience and submissiveness is repaid with pat on the head. And what’s more, they will not pass on these slavish values to their sons and daughters. And that would be a positive beginning.

In short, if parents see that their daughters can have control over their own lives and happiness;  that they can have a voice and it’s okay for them to choose if, when and who they marry, then parents would not see raising little women as an avoidable challenge.

Related Posts:

So what could make even the average, selfish, money-minded Indian family welcome baby girls?

Don’t treat the cause, the problem will never go.

This is the root of the problem. Do you agree?

Indian family values are good for Indian daughters?

If she was born somewhere else.

Dheeyaan dee maa rani, bhudhaapey bharey paani

Can dowry ensure happiness and security for a girl?

105 thoughts on “Only when raising ideal daughters in law is not their goal, would Indian parents be able enjoy having and bringing up girl children.

      • Do you think it might help if your friend talked to her parents and told them she didn’t want to wait to start living her life until she got married, and then she could travel or do things she likes to do even if they didn’t approve? She could even tell them that way there would be more chances of her meeting a suitable boy:\

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      • Ihm its not like she hasnt talked…. infact even we are in the process of explaining that to her parents… but… the fact remains that when no one is around its the girl that has to listen… and when outsiders get involved they think she is telling others how bad they are to her etc

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      • This is actually a very hard phase to deal, but once this phase is crossed, she will be rewarded. It is possible that her relationship with her parents might undergo a massive change in the process, though. One needs to be really strong and confident to withstand this kind of pressure. My suggestions would be:

        1) You and your other friends should constantly talk to her and tell her that she is doing the right thing, and she should be able to make her own decision regarding this, whether or not her parents agree.

        2) Direct her to IHM’s blog and ask her to frequent feminist blogs where this discussion rages. Most of the time, women in her position find themselves outnumbered in society and they start wondering if they are wrong. They are NOT, and any kind of reaffirmation, even on the Internet is massively helpful.

        3) Direct her parents to this and similar blogs and let them see for themselves how people (women) have fulfilling lives without marriage. This will work only depending on how pigheaded her parents are, but it’s worth a try.

        She only needs support at this time and loads of people telling her she has the right to decide on her own life. THIS is the crucial phase. I thank all my friends who actually stood with me when I went through that phase, as the depression that threatens to loom is only too real. Please stand by her.

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    • @Phoenixritu – exactly – marriage is one of the things in life but its not the ONLY thing !! Life gives us endless possibilities and its criminal if you allow marriage to kill those possibilities!

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  1. Dear IHM,

    My parents raised me to believe in myself–I was an only child–my father didn’t want anymore children–he was exceedingly happy to have just me. They told me that the goal in life was to be happy, have a fulfilling career, and when the talk came to marriage, my parents told me i could marry anyone –it was solely my choice. When I did get married , my parents told me they would support me on any issue(in case something arose in my married life)– i was their daughter, and even if in societies eyes if i was ever “wrong” , I’d always be in the right for them.
    I never thought i was an exception, maybe i was blind– because now that i look back i’ve known so many friends whose parents who placed more emphasis on being “good wives and good daughters” than doing what their heart desired.
    Like my friends father said when she got engaged, “We’ve done our bit, if her husband wants she can study further.” My friend was brilliant, a gold medalist —and her husband didn’t really want her to study—so she didn’t–she was brought up to think that what her husband said was right.
    Or my best friend, who had to give up her relationship with a guy just because he was a different caste, her parents told her–us or him–and she felt pressured to choose them.
    There are a lot of times my friends stories have made me exceedingly angry–and they have made me realize, what great parents i have.

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  2. you know I have a friend… who is a female…

    Now this girl had a boyfriend from school (classmates) and they were steady for about 6-7 years… both families knew about the relationship… pretty educated families… the girls parents are both teachers… infact the girls mother is a principal in a school….

    somehow though things didn’t work out and the guy married another classmate of theirs and this girl was left alone…

    Now she studied well has a good job… she doesn’t want to marry…. She gets up at 5… makes lunch for her parents and leaves for office at 8. comes back at 7 and makes dinner for them… she out earns her parents now… her mother acquired osteo arthritis… yes.. she even bathes her mother in the mornings… who was bed ridden for a while… but now has resumed work… but physically still requires qutie a bit of support…

    the girl is basically is the sole support of the parents in all ways…

    however….

    the parents still think she is their life’s biggest problem… she is regularly told she has not married… she is 34 now… From time to time although they love her… it is pretty much usual to curse her for her being single every fortnight… after every marriage the family attends its usual to tell her about what she did adn why is she being so choosy with the grooms they show…

    The fact is somewhere in our Indian mentality its still stuck that a girl must be married and packed off… no matter how educated or how well off we are… its a mentality thing…

    regarding that article I think things have changed… over a period of time… but that things are changing way too slowly and very little is being done to broaden the thinking of parents about their female child ! and it actually passes on from parents to kids…

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    • worst part is after doing all that the girl is doing for her parents… she is not allowed to go to holidays with her married friends… saying… she has no right to go as she is not married and so she must not go with couples !

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      • Tell her to move out and see how they cope! That’s the only solution I can think of for such undeserving parents. Let them cope on their own without their awful unmarried daughter, and see if they aren’t begging her to return! What the hell is the MATTER with people?!

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      • Isn’t it amazing that even after being the sole support (physical, probably economic as well) your friend is still in a position of being ‘allowed’ & ‘disallowed’? Because nothing prevents her from going anywhere she chooses except the conviction (or lack of) in her mind. That’s the kind of conditioning we’re subjected to.

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  3. I have often questioned these norms .. why is marriage a compulsion and not a choice in our society … and why one must always marry a man who is earning more, is taller and older than you ??
    If marriage was not a sword hanging over the head of parents and daughters I honestly believe it would make for happier parents and a much happier girl child!

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  4. I believe the need to ‘cultivate’ ideal sons is also a part of the problem.

    ‘Perfection’ is over-hyped and over-rated. So are the notions of happiness. We need to accept ourselves o and our children (that includes daughter in law) without raising unnecessary expectations. As a parent, it is easy to get carried away by what people say. My daughter is just four years old and I have already faced situations where I had to exercise a great deal of restraint to ignore what is being said about her and how she should be. So I completely understand the predicament of such parents. But I also feel that it is upto us to decide which one takes higher priority – the happiness and welfare of our kids OR the Shallow opinions of the society.

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    • Puja many parents are so burdened by ensuring that their daughters chances of getting married are not affected, they control every aspect of their lives, how much they study, what sports they play (preferably none), what kind of clothes they wear, their hair cut, their education, their friends… all to ensure they don’t face problems in finding husbands for them. And then they also save for their dowry.

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      • My point exactly.. Why allow ourselves to be burdened by what society expects from us or our kids? If my daughter doesn’t want to get married – so be it. If anyone dares to comment on how ‘troublesome’ that is, I would know how to give it back to him/her instead of forcing my daughter to get into something she doesn’t believe in. I owe that to my daughter’s happiness. And as for the question of finding the right person for her (in case she does want to get married), I believe there are good men around – there always would be – who she would find compatible and good enough to spend her life with.

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      • @Puja,
        // I would know how to give it back to him/her instead of forcing my daughter to get into something she doesn’t believe in.//

        That is exactly what parenting is about. But for most people keeping in the good books of ‘log’ aka society seems to be what parenting is all about.

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    • Puja – You have brought out a very good point. If a change has to be seen in Indian society towards our daughters, it has to come from us – from our own families, from our parents. No law or government regulation is going to help.

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  5. Gosh! I was shocked to read the numbers in the article…while I knew India is crazy about a male child, I didnt know things were at this level…

    I have two friends who are older to me..they are 32 years, both unmarried and very very content in life..while they are going through the whole process of ‘boy seeing’ they havent really met anyone with whom they have clicked…

    There is pressure from ‘family’ to marry, but their parents as such are very clear that ‘marry only if you really are comfortable with the guy you are going to settle down’

    They both are pretty good friends themselves and often go on trips together and have loads of fun..they tell me ‘RM we do want to get married, but its not like our ‘goal’ in life…we will if we find the right guy’

    Wish more parents were as cool as theirs!

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  6. It pains me when I read such articles,you know IHM. I for one know how much my husband and I are enjoying every bit of raising our daughter, she is our pride. So it’s really unfathomable to me when I hear of parents dumping their daughters- the recent news-bit being the abondoned girl being found in asansol or when I hear of girls like Falak falling prey to the ghastly acts of some savage😦. It’s so so sad and heartbreaking!

    All I can urge is for parents to look beyond raising their daughters with that one goal of getting them married! Please, for god sake, understand that our daughters deserve to experience far more worthwhile and interesting things than just getting married and we as parents can derive as much enjoyment and happiness in raising them as our sons. Gosh why is it so difficult to accept!

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  7. Women being less valued even seems to stay with Indian parents living abroad. Here in Norway, there’s been a large debate after research showed that birth of girls became less to Indian parents living here following the introduction of early ultrasound. The theory is that some parents choose to have an abortion simply because the baby has the “wrong” gender.

    Here is an article about the problem, translated by Google:

    http://tinyurl.com/7yh9hg9

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    • Why they think this way? Because their great grand parents and their neighbours think this way. Because it’s become a habit.
      To change – all it requires is that each parent see all their children as their children not as future daughters in law and sons in law, or budhape ka sahara and paraya dhan.

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  8. I was raised to be a daughter-in-law. Anything requested which different from the totally accepted elicited the reply, “You can do whatever you want AFTER your marriage. That puzzled me as a child. Did parents love daughters at all? If they genuinely loved daughters they will explain why you are being denied something, may be the safety factor or their worry about something else or whatever. But instead, even a request to go watch movies or attend a friends wedding in the next town or wear something different, got the usual reply, “Do whatever you want after marriage” which is sort of callous response that translates to, “I don’t care what you do after marriage. But till that marriage is solemnized I have the responsibility of keeping you ‘fit’ to be offered. That’s what I am trying to do. Once that is done, I really don’t care what happens to you.”
    Yup, you bet I asked my mother the question once, “So you don’t care what happens to me? All that concerns you is that I should be ‘fit’ enough for the marriage market?” Of course all I got in reply was how impudent and disrespectful I was.
    If this emphasis on marriages goes, a lot of good change will automatically happen.

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    • Nothing much has changed. I was a topper throughout my school life, a gold medalist in my BA course, a Merit degree-holder in Gender Studies from an international university (oh the irony of it!), got a well-paying job, published books…and yet, it was never enough. My parents never gave me a moment of peace. As my cousins got married ‘away’ left, right, and centre, I was always reminded that I was being irresponsible and unreasonable. And I was only 23 then. I planned to move out and to soften the blow, I agreed to meet one boy they’d found suitable. My plan was to say no to him because I was sure anybody who fit their criteria wouldn’t fit mine. Surprisingly, it turned out that they didn’t really know everything about him and that he was, actually, suitable for me😀 So I got married and I’m happy I did. But I’ll never forget how depressing they made my life back then. I realized that they never had any dreams for me that went beyond having a happy married life. Every time I used to speak of a demanding career, they’d always say it would leave me unhappy eventually because I’d have no time for my husband and kids (who surely did not exist when I was twelve, for god’s sake!).

      I have a brother. He went to IIT and is now a post-doc in the US. He’s older than I am by 3 years. In all our growing up years, he was never discouraged from doing anything because he’d be too old to find a bride. Or not have time for her.My parents are not blind to the unfairness of this…but they still believe that priorities in life are different for men and women.

      I have a daughter. My dream is to bring her up free.

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      • //”My parents are not blind to the unfairness of this…but they still believe that priorities in life are different for men and women.”//

        It is as if parents are “programmed” to get their daughters married, even if it is against their own better judgement. They simply have to finish the ‘job’ at all costs. And to push them along there are number of sayings in support, not to mention the blessings they are promised for a job well done.

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    • Many parents(including my mother) tell their girls to do whatever they want after marriage, but once a girl gets married, her husband/in-laws tell her to only do whatever they want because she’s married. And the girls never get to do what they want.😦

      In my case, this phrase enters in my one ear and goes out from the other and I end up doing whatever I want most of the times.

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      • That is another truth, that the girls never get to live a life, first the parents want them to wait till marriage and after the marriage the in-laws and husband take over!

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    • I asked my mom something like that too. She used to say the usual “Paraya Dhan” thing a lot. Then one day I asked her,’ if this is not my home because I am going to some other home and if that home is not my home because they are not my parents, then which is my home?’. She never repeated that dialogue to me after that.

      Sometimes parents of the last generation are conditioned like that. They just don’t realize how it feels to the daughter. They think they are doing it for the good of their kid.

      God I feel guilty saying all this out. My parents were extremely great but of course they are only humans.

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      • Kanya-daan is supposed to be above all kind of ‘daan’, and those who do not have girls did Kanyadaan of someone else’s daughter just to gain some ‘Punya’ that is useful for their ‘future births’ Such is the thought set when it comes to giving away girls.

        If I get started, I think I can’t stop on this issue! Grrr…

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      • @Lady,
        Very convenient reason to send away daughters, isn’t it, this ‘punya’ you are supposed to get?! The irony of it. Parents want to earn ‘punya’ to make future births secure at the cost of their daughter’s happiness! Blind belief that never paused to think about the inherent selfishness in it.

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  9. I thought it will be easier for me to understand my mother’s obsession of getting me married and seeing me staying married no matter what once I have a daughter of my own. Alas, a 6 yrs old daughter of my own has made it even more difficult for me to understand how can parents care more for the society and, in a way, themselves than their own daughter. Infact now I know for sure what I always suspected…

    I feel if we truly start loving our children, both male and female, the emphasis on marriage will go away and so will the various related ills.

    As the first step towards ‘truly loving our kids’ it would help if people have kids only when they want and are ready and not under any pressure or because its expected of them within 1-2 years of getting married.

    I have seen a lot of couples in my circle doting on their kids…incidently most of them stay in nuclear families, both parents work, became parents in their 30s and I guess only because they wanted a baby for the right reasons.

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    • “As the first step towards ‘truly loving our kids’ it would help if people have kids only when they want and are ready and not under any pressure or because its expected of them within 1-2 years of getting married.”

      I agree here. If you had kids only because ‘you’ wanted to have, you will not give a damn about what ‘log’ say.

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  10. I’m 20 and I’m constantly subjected to you-know-how-it’ll-feel-when-you-have-a-daughter for everything ranging from wearing something that the ‘society’ doesn’t accept to bringing my boyfriend home, because I’m supposed to be the ‘good-daughter’. *rolls eyes*

    A little off the topic – My parents had a love marriage, a very dramatic one. My mum broke all the caste barriers (And yes, there’s a lot of it, I’ve heard stories about parents killing their own children for it), and married my dad. That’s the irony! She mustered all the courage when it was her turn to face the society and go against it’s norms, but when I have to do the same, she is scared for me, she doesn’t want me to suffer like she did(it seems).

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  11. Good post IHM. As some one suggested before why don’t you write a book? It can work as a change agent like the way this blog is working on net. It will reach a different and wider audience too,

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  12. Hello
    First and foremost a great post , let me be the red dot in a white paper. I agree to you say around 98 % , the part I differ is simple , the line which says “Then has making laws against dowry solved the problem?” , let me explain
    How many of them have really been punished ? people are so lax that nothing will happen , so they can do anything they want , as long as you have the money to handle it , you can do anything you want.
    Another thing which is highlighted about how much control thats given to Kids , thats so true with the previous gen parents , they have been in control right from the beginning of our lives and living that control is not that easy , particulalry girls , when they have always been the ones need protection
    Also the ones in previous gen who have had love marriage will totally discourage this gen for love marriage, because they have gone through so many hardships and why the younger gen have to go through with that ? First of all , let them convince their parents or anyone for that matter that they can handle tough decisions on their own !
    This generation has loads of money and that makes them feel like they can do anything and everything , and this makes them more confused and dazed , what they really want , how to get it and what to do with it , but they do miss smelling roses.

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  13. “They choose careers they have aptitude for without worrying about how it affects their prospects for finding suitable husbands.” Oh, How I wish this had happened in my case.

    I am the oldest of three girls, my parents though educated believed in the ” freedom with limits” thing that you mention so often. I was a very good student, but I leaned towards the non science subjects and sports while almost everybody did science, engineering and technology.

    My protests would get me the we know whats best for you, think about your sisters and the bomb of it all, what will the relatives say.

    Just like Shail said in her comments my parents knew that this was unfair… and to be fair to my mom she did encourage me to keep pursuing my interests but outside of the regular course of study that they chose for me ( not that I did not like it, I love science and technology, but given a choice would not be my first choice for a career).

    Also, I don’t think much will change just by making laws tougher unless they are implemented. and people find ways to work around. I remember my mother coming home after visiting a prospective groom’s family where his sister said to my mom. ” Aunty, we don’t believe in asking for dowry, but how much will you give”.

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  14. I read the article and the statistics started to depress me. I don’t know for how many more years girls will continue to be seen as a burden and a liability.

    Even before my dad was married to my mom, he told her his long time dream was to have two daughters. It was what he really wanted. Fortunately, that is also what he got. Me and my sister were truly celebrated and brought up in the most unbiased surrounding. Every now and then my dad spoke about how happy he is to see his old dream of having 2 girls fulfilled.

    Guess what? Every time I told people around me that my dad really *wanted* to have two daughters, they laughed at me. They told me he was just “pretending to be happy”. Some people even told me he was disguising his disappointment by calling it “want”. If I told them he had voiced his desire of having 2 girls even before he was married, they said he was just ‘bracing himself for the worst’, so that the possible impact of the future didn’t hurt.

    It left me baffled and disgusted every time. We, our beloved Indian society cannot fathom the possibility of a man who genuinely wants to have two daughters. Daughters can never be the chosen ones in their eyes. It reflects the deep rooted mindsets which cannot view a girl as anything other than a burden. These articles just reiterate what we already know. It is depressing.

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    • This reminded me of the time I was telling my MIL how my bhabhi’s father had been so keen to have a daughter that when my bhabhi was finally born after three boys in a row, he offered 1’mon’ (roughly 36 kgs) of laddoos to a famous temple in the city they lived in. MIL first looked at me incredulously, and then a derisive smile briefly crossed her face. I could almost hear her thinking that the world was full of crazy people!!

      I might also add that my MIL is extremely proud of having ‘two sons only’ and often recounts, with much pleasure, how worried my FIL had been when she
      was pregnant with her second son about the possibility of the child being female, and how relieved that he had another son.

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  15. My parents had two daughters and resisted all pressure from family and friends to have a third child ( read it as a boy). My father was very particular that we study well, become financially independent and have a successful career ( which we both did and he is proud of that)
    But somewhere along the way when I was in college he got pressurized by everyone to get me married. He began to worry that because of his poor health, both his daughters should be married before he got retired. The understanding eldest daughter that I was, I yielded to his worries and got married immediately after graduation. I had a lot of ambition till then and I just gave it up much to the surprise of my mother. I did not even put up a fight, though I was never interested in seeing any boys till then ( I did pursue my studies and career later and became the person I wanted to be, also married a great guy but that is different), the talks of marriage does change a girl, and I can only imagine what it does to their minds when it is fed into them from childhood. Today I know I would have done things very differently if I had a chance.

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  16. The title of this post is so very apt.

    Marriage is just given way too much importance in a small girl’s life and she is talked to about it from so early on, which makes her start to believe in what is being said, She is so small to not even have a clear perspective but just accept what is being said..

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  17. I have been triumphant in not giving a dowry ( it was not an arranged marriage ). but my parents refuse to give me my share of property. They have decided it will go to their son ( 3 houses , and land and everything in the bank ) and their grandsons ( a daughter who was forced to get married in the village ) I have been financial supporting my parents for the past 8 years ( they have other incomes as well ) they didn’t ask . I gave. Can they do without it . yes\ may be.

    When my brother gave money for the mothers birthday , they blew a trumpet to me. But since I have given for the past 8 years ( and continue to do so ) they don’t utter a word. 2 times I went back to india, I gave them more money as well. !

    I am sensing that they feel I am not giving enough !! What a righteous world ???

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  18. When I read the article on TOi, it depressed me, for sure. But, we know the cause and the cure. And the only thing one can do is start the change at home. By making sure we ourselves bring up our kids in a bias-free environment. And that means ourselves behaving bias-free. It is hypocritical, I feel, to have gender stereotypes at home and tell the kid of the importance of equality. I do understand that things can be complicated and not that easy to implement equality between the partners at home (especially in joint families), but I do feel it is high time women start speaking up and making sure others understand their pov. And put up a fight for what they feel is right.

    I have often wondered, seeing the biased way my grandmother brought up her son and her daughter(my mom), how hard can it really be to treat both kids the same way?! Why should the society and what they think should even come into picture?!! Should it not be the default, treating them with the same love and fairness? And raising the kids with fairness is not that really difficult. We always think that going against the society and the rigid mindsets is difficult. But really, it is not! I have always found doing something which goes against my thought process and against my natural reasoning more exhausting than going against the society. All it requires is being honest with oneself, and being true to what one feels is fair. (In most cases I have seen, parents know their behaviour is unfair, but it the “log” that decide their actions).

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    • Mypunchingbad, most parents believe if they raise their daughters as confident adults would not be able to adjust with their in laws, and since they feel the goal of a daughters’ life is to get married and stay married, they dare not let ideas of equality ruin her chances of happiness with her in laws’ who generally seem to want submissive (Ananya like) daughters in law.

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  19. ‘In short, if parents see that their daughters can have control over their own lives and happiness; that they can have a voice and it’s okay for them to choose if, when and who they marry, then parents would not see raising little women as an avoidable challenge’ – That says it all, IHM!

    If only the whole society approval thing changes, if only parents understand that getting married and staying married need not be girl’s only objective in life, people might start enjoying bringing up their girl children. When I was a young girl, my neighbour had shown my mum, her collection for her daughter’s wedding trousseau, and she had been shocked that my mother had no such ‘preparation’ made for my wedding. I must have been 10 or so then.. For them, she claimed, as soon as a daughter is born, you start preparing for her wedding, and that of course involves bringing her up to be that perfect daughter-in-law, who brings pride to her parents😦

    Me – Smitha I remember two of my friends’ mothers had done the same, they said that was good planning!😐

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    • oh, I agree.. Even my mom faced much ridicule at her being “unprepared” for our wedding with a jewellery stack! Mom proudly said that they (kids) will decide what and how much they want to wear at their weddings. And that saving for higher education was more important than saving for weddings. The relatives did not agree, but then who care whether they agree or not, right?!

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    • Jewelry is a big deal, whether it is a love marriage or arranged marriage. How many of you got married without any jewelry?
      My mother did too, because we were middle class and had to plan for everything from the start, be it marriage, education, retirement.

      I am not saying I approve of it, but hardly 1% of the marriages happen without any gifts, jewelry or new clothes etc.

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      • Ah yes, they did a lot more for the education of kids, but most middle class people save for these 3 goals before retirement – To build a house of their own, To give best education to their kids, To get them married in the best way possible.

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  20. Though I grew up in a small town, love marriages had been common in my family since my family belonged to one of the modern big cities of India, . Even then, I used to believe I had ONLY one chance of having a love marriage.Having one break-up was shameful (for an arranged marriage in the future); having multiple ones was characterless. I used to place undue importance to my reputation.
    I wish there was someone who told me otherwise.There was no one to give me perspective. Is there something we could do to spread this knowledge? Like give lectures in school? Apart from educating the parents, we should also teach little girls that though their parents might disagree, marriage is not the goal. Some role models, some books and some eye-opening cases should be presented to them to make them aware of their choices. In fact, I feel the winning posts of TRBA could be distributed to teenage girls so that they know what society they are living in, what lies ahead of them and what power they have to change it. They should be taught what feminism is, what self-reliance is and what dignity is. They should be taught there is no virtue in being a doormat. Our philosophy of today could be the common sense of tomorrow.

    Me – STF I do hope to share the copies of TRBA 2011 with as many young women as possible, I think whatever little bit we do, is important.

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  21. The prejudice against the girl child exists even in Pakistan and other neighbors from India. It actually exists in almost every single developing country. So that can be ruled out as the main reason behind this tilt against the girl child.

    The governments in India, have no real working health plans and pretty much leave a child’s welfare for better or worse upto the parents and the community they grow up in. And we know where that takes us, regarding the girl child.

    In India, governments are pretty much hands off regarding child care and health. While other countries, even if they have corruption or prejudice, they do not completely wash their hands off child welfare and education.

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  22. Pingback: Parents should choose the boy for a girl aged below 21, as it is they who bear the brunt of an unsuccessful marriage – Karnataka HC | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  23. I consider myself amongst the lucky lot who was brought up without bias, or told to study a certain subject so that I become more suitable for the bridal market.
    Having said that, my parents did become vexed at the point of me crossing 25 without being engaged. This, in spite of they themselves being in a marriage that did not work out (and are now married to (new) respective partners). Although they were doubly careful in not wanting to rush into a decision, they were very firmly of the opinion that being married is important. Social conditioning? Maybe. Fear for the life a woman living alone without “security”? Perhaps.

    I do know that it caused me a great deal of stress during the time of searching for a prospective groom because half way through the process the dignity of the process had been lost and it was a mad race to the finish😐 Although eventually I went on to have a happy marriage, I still feel that if parents (and generally society) were lesser obsessed with getting married and staying married theory, life would be a lot lot easier for the girls and there would be real focus on what should be focused upon – like education, and being self-reliant. And learning to manage/balance all relationships – friendships would become as important, not just the worry of hanging out with friends only if in-laws/husband approve.

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