Sharing an email.
I am a regular reader of your blog and I appreciate how you highlight the discrimination of girls in Indian society. But, in my experience I have seen a number of boys (and men) who are manipulated and misused more so by their own family members for selfish reasons.
They are raised and brainwashed from childhood to be faithful to their parents and be their as providers and nothing else. The education, the extra-care they give to boys is only in this hope, and the rules set for his wife, the DIL, is just an extension of this mentality. They fear the son will stop providing them and their family (read as daughters and her family) and hence start controlling his thoughts and his life from childhood.
I do not know if this is a south-Indian mentality, but I have rarely seen any discrimination when bringing up girls, in fact they are loved and cared for a lot more than boys and it continues to a larger extent even after they are married. It is the boys who are restricted, controlled and disciplined a lot more. The parents do not mind having N number of daughters as long as they have one son as ‘Budhape ka sahara’.
In my in-laws family, all the discrimination you talk about is only for the Son. My husband, the son is just the provider whose job is to have a constant supply of funds regardless of what it is for. It is so ‘normal’ an expectation it does not matter to them how the son provides as long as the parents, the daughter and her family are kept happy. My husband & I have had our share of financial troubles, some which the family is aware of, but nothing has mattered to them, they talk in a supportive manner when it suits them but their expectations from us continues at other times, this despite my in-laws being financially secure. No questions can be asked when they feel the ‘need’.
I do not understand why this is rarely talked about in our society. It is so very unfair. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives? Doesn’t his wife and kids have the first right to his earnings? Aren’t they the first priority?
Along with this, there is always a fear in these parents that the son might care for his wife’s family similarly. Hence all the ‘jamai‘ kind of attitude is taught to the sons, my husband is manipulated and has always been kept away from getting close to my parents. I am always blamed for showing ‘extra-care & love’ to my parents instead of my in-laws.
The daughter, my sister-in-law on the other hand rules the roost, still demands whatever she wants from her parents, and the person who has to meet these demands is their son. My husband refuses to deny that in the fear of ‘hurting’ his family. He has been brainwashed into believing that the only reason he has to even earn is to make their lives comfortable and happy. His family does not stop reminding me & my husband how we need to save for their medical expenses in the future, and how the daughter has to be cared for, provided for and given her due share in property even after they are gone. There is no such similar caring and concern shown for their son and daughter-in-law.
My husband has been there for them financially for over two decades, denying himself of acquiring any property of his own, always considering his family house as his own, his family’s needs as the major priority and now there is talks of giving away part of the little property to the daughter because it is her ‘right by law’. My in-laws emotionally blackmailed us against acquiring anything on our own, and I now realize it is because they feared the son will move separate and not be there during their last days.
Why are Sons treated like ATM machines? They are expected to give away all their savings as ‘duty’ and parents have no hesitation taking it from them, but when it comes to giving the son anything in any little form it is seen as a big deal? My sis-in-law has always been given anything she demands after marriage from clothes, to house hold items to jewelry to everything that she thinks is of need but even an occasional saree given to me is always mentioned like a favor done though it was bought with my husband’s earnings!
I am very disturbed about denying me & my husband the right to property even though we are the sole-providers to this family and will be there till the end. But I have no voice in this whole matter though it is my life that will be affected. I am made to feel like ‘a not well-raised girl’ who interferes in the family affairs and a typical daughter-in-law who prevents their daughter from getting her due share.
Sorry about the ranting, am just frustrated to see the unfair discrimination, where the husband and I have no say in any household matters except be seen as a constant source of never diminishing funds .
I consider myself a fair, non-judgmental, co-operative person but I am disgusted and disappointed with how manipulative, self-centered this world is.
Am I wrong in thinking like this? Should I just keep quiet as a ‘good’ Daughter-in-law’? Even my parents advise me to just let it go and do my duty, but I am very worried about my own future, this role of ours as providers is unappreciated and seems never ending . My husband loves me and assures me that things will be alright, but I am hating the entire helpless situation I am in.
~ another frustrated daughter-in-law married to a ‘good son’