What makes modern and self reliant Indian women agree to live in Patriarchal Joint Families?
Frequently even when women are aware that they may be required to change the way they dress, eat, sleep, pray (or don’t), socialise (and with who), work, earn, spend, express their feelings and opinions?
1. Maybe, sometimes, there is this hope that this would not be the case and that there would be some freedom ‘allowed’?
2. Maybe because the idea of sacrificing their identity and freedom for ‘love’ is romanticised? Although the spouse is not permitted to view marriage the same way.
3. But the main reason, I think, is the idea that Getting Married (by a certain age) and Staying Married (and bearing male children) is an Indian woman’s biggest goal in life.
Sharing an email from Please help me understand.
Why are ‘Modern Indian’ women still choosing patrilocality?
I am a regular reader of IHM and I have read a lot of articles on patriarchy and related topics. Patriarchy is neither beneficial to men or women in the long run. I think to follow patriarchy in this day and age is completely impractical and illogical.
I also understand a lot of women who come from extremely conservative families are taught to be dependent and brainwashed in such a way that they can’t even think about having a choice of not living with the groom’s parents after marriage.
I have a few cousins back in India (I was raised outside India), whose main goals in life were to finish their studies, help mum with the household chores till they turn 23, find a suitable groom in a year or two, get married and have a baby a year or two after marriage. These cousins of mine came from small towns and they were never encouraged by their parents nor given the choice of thinking for themselves. Some came from disturbed families and so did not have the energy to fight back or think about themselves over and above their families.
On the other hand I grew up in a completely different culture, which was very Indian but also very metropolitan. We all came from well to do families and were encouraged to pursue our careers and live our lives on our terms. I then moved further west and saw even more liberation among women. However I am saddened by the fact that highly educated and modern Indian girls still chose and are happy to marry and live with the groom’s family.
I am completely flabbergasted by this idea of being modern and traditional at the same time. It just doesn’t seem to fit into my head. There is just no logic to it. It’s like saying, we have incorporated the rights to vote for women but we will still continue the Purdah system just because a few people can’t see properly and they fall and get hurt but the rest are still fine and get good purdah’s to cover their heads and its tradition so let’s continue with it….
I just don’t understand how a girl like me (independent, modern, educated, self sufficient) who has all the choice in the world to not marry a guy who asks her to live with his parents because there are plenty of fish in the sea, then agree to get married and live with someone and his family.
Is it about getting an easier life and not working hard enough for him and her to build it from scratch?
Is it about blindly following traditions?
Is it about not understanding that two related couples living under the same roof is going to lead to clashes and unhappiness and a lot of unnecessary sacrifices to be made? If women are suffering so much, more so then men, why are women still agreeing to it?
Please help me understand…..