What do you think of this ‘mother exchange program’?
Indian women in traditional families are raised to be these mothers. Some comments seem to find the video ‘moving’.
Do you think the video would have been found so moving, by the same people, if it was mothers of young daughters in law (also leaving home for the first time) feeling the same way?
Does the video inspire sympathy for the mothers? How, if at all, are mothers of Indian daughters in law different from these mothers? These mothers expect the sons to call them regularly – we know that in some parts of India, daughters in law are discouraged from calling their mothers. [Link]
How do you think does such looking after influence the way the sons grow up? What about young Indian daughters?
Young Indian daughters, in traditional patriarchal Indian families, are kept in dependence (emotional and financial) and married-off to live with another family, where they are trained to cook (and live) according to the preferences of that family. How does it make the daughters in law feel about themselves and about everybody else? It can result in – Stockholm Syndrome, or bitterness, or if there is support, then walking out of the abusive situation.
To safeguard against the last – traditional families prefer young and pliable daughters in law from their own communities, to make the moulding or training considerably less cumbersome.
The young wives are not allowed, or encouraged, to cook like their mothers did, that is considered disrespectful, because it implies that they prefer their mom’s cooking to the in law’s (ladke wale) cooking.
Women are required (or atleast pretend) to view cooking for their families as a primary purpose of their lives. If they don’t, then they risk being considered selfish and uncaring. And since patriarchal hierarchies are sacrosanct – in many families young daughters in law must display respect by eating last [link]. Having a male child changes the status of a daughter in law in traditional Indian families, she still eats the last, but she is not as powerless as a mother of a daughter (who has to start training her daughter to be a future daughter in law).
Which is why a male child is prayed and fasted for, and sex selected.
Boys in traditional families are not raised to ‘look after’ themselves, although, their comfort and preferences are considered important. Their wives would be trained by the same mothers (seen in the video) to cook just the kind of food they have raised their sons to enjoy eating. If the sons manage comfortably on their own – that’s viewed as being ungrateful or disrespectful to the mothers. They are expected to appreciate the sacrifices and efforts being made for them. One of ways of expressing their appreciation is by marrying an obedient girl of their parents’ choice.
A young woman who has options, might question this kind of helplessness in a spouse, so dependence and obedience in young men and women are nurtured as cherished virtues. Patriarchy can’t survive without these.
What do you think of this video?
Video shared on facebook by Nandini.