An email from Pakistan: “There is a feeling among my parents that I don’t want to spend on them.”

Patriarchy‘s control on men is more difficult to identify and fight against because the control permits what many view as privilege, and because patriarchy is largely viewed as favourable to men.

The fact is, Patriarchy permits some men and some women – and only when certain conditions are met, – to control the lives of others – in many big and small ways. 

The way women are raised to see Get Married and Stay Married as their only purpose in life, men are raised to become Providers and Protectors.

This enables further abuse. Becoming Protectors involves being Controllers (egos and honours are a part of that) and being Providers is made possible or easier by keeping the Provided For in dependence. This makes it seem that Patriarchy benefits men – but not having control over their lives is not a privilege.

Please note, sons in patriarchal societies are mainly valued when, 1.)  they are Providers, and 2.) they can provide obedient daughters in laws who provide male heirs. 

An unemployed male child is still valued if he is obedient, or provides an obedient dulhan hi dahej hai, and male heirs. This is also why Patriarchy is homophobic. 

Sharing an email from a young man in Karachi.


Subject: Thank you for sharing your thoughts on patriarchy at your IHM blog

I am from Karachi Pakistan and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your thoughts on your blog especially the posts related to patriarchy. An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

Last night I was really feeling depressed after going through an emotional abuse session from one of my parents. I was confused and was not able to sleep. After reading your blog post, I became aware that this is common in our part of the world as well. I can relate to every world of your blog post with my life. Kudos to you for sharing your thoughts  and reducing the overall anxiety of your audience.
After reading your blog, I have decided to challenge the status quo and start introducing change that could get me out from the constant emotional abuse and allow me to save for my future.

Also, I would appreciate if you can ask your readers to suggest practical and realistic steps that could be taken, especially for saving for the future and for convincing our parents so that they can understand why it is important to save now. Most of the comments shared their set of problems but very few actually discussed some steps that could be taken keeping in view the highly emotional nature of the problem.

I have tried working with fixed budgets for monthly expenses and for savings, but in this case, there is a feeling among my parents that I don’t want to spend on them. I find it very difficult to convince them as to why it is important to save now.


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An update: ‘I am told that I am very wrong since I think of money, but is it not an important factor here?’

An update from “another frustrated daughter-in-law married to a good son” who wrote this email two years ago: An email. Aren’t the sons supposed to have their own family lives?

Hello IHM,

It has been 2yrs since I wrote this email, I wanted to update a bit.

Situation has not changed much, in fact it has become worse. My worries for the future, and my constant bringing up this topic has caused a lot of misunderstanding between us, I talked even to my in-laws but they instead of understanding me told their son that he needs to think of his duties towards his sister and parents, they told him to keep me under check since I am acting like a selfish daughter-in-law.

I saved every penny that I earned till now, unfortunately the company shut down and I lost my job, it has been months and I still have not been able to get one more and this has worsened the situation. I begged my husband that he has to support me, we need to pool up money and think of securing our future by buying something for ourselves. Even though he seems to agree at times, a phone call from his parents his thoughts go back to the way they were.

He now blames me that I am selfish, that I am not adjusting enough to live with his parents hence bring up the topic, he says all my problems are self created.

I feel very down that my husband instead of understanding the need for securing his and my life for the future is more worried about what his parents might feel, he continues to spend on them and his sister but thinks that I should earn and get what I want since I am one of those feminists who talks about equality of women.

If I cannot expect a little support in this matter what is the marriage for I do not understand, if they think it is just about feeding me even my parents would have done it. Should I give up thinking about future just because my husband does not? Or if I do should I do it independently? Then why am I even married? Why wife takes a backseat when it comes to parents and siblings? Why is it that it is never about ‘us’ as a couple in a marriage?

I am told that I am very wrong since I think of money, but is it not an important factor here? Am I not being exploited by all of them? Is it not just money for them too? Wouldn’t they have understood the point I am trying to make otherwise?

Sorry about the rant, but just very worried and disappointed with the man I am so in love with. He despite of understanding and loving me thinks his only responsibility in life is to be a good son.  😦

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‘This issue might sound very trivial, any stranger talking to him for few minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.’

Sharing an email.

What makes these issues appear trivial? Why is it that many of us don’t seem to see that each of these ‘trivial issues’ contributes towards male child preference?

Dear IHM,

I would like to share my friend’s problem here. She lives in a foreign
country with her husband, two kids and works full time. She and her
husband have their own differences about values of life. He is
materialistic, expecting from the girl’s family, expects the wife to
give her salary to him on first of every month, share all her online
credentials. Long story short – a typical yesteryear Indian male
husband. On the other hand, he doesn’t spend much, teetotaler, takes
good care of the kids in her absence, cooks occasionally, saves for
the future, plans vacations and any stranger talking to him for few
minutes will undoubtedly think that his wife is very lucky.

My friend doesn’t share her credentials instead spends for monthly
expenses and then gives him the remaining savings as a bulk transfer
when needed for common investments and manages his tactics as and when they surface. They have been married for almost ten years now.

This issue I am going to share might sound very trivial but it bothers
my friend’s daily life very much and would really appreciate your
readers suggestions.

Their second child is less than one year old and the husband is not
helping to put the baby back to sleep at midnight wake ups. He just
continues “pretend” to sleep and my friend has to wakeup at least two
times between 11pm-5am every single night to pat the baby back to
sleep. Sometimes the baby sleeps with a feed, sometimes she has to
walk around for a while which is challenging for her considering her
back pain and inability to carry weights for long time and sometimes
nothing works. The baby bawls and my friend struggles. As this
situation repeats, she gets more irritated with her husband resulting
in shouting at him, showing faces and going on a no talking strike for
few days. He also doesn’t change diapers, doesn’t bath or feed the
baby. All she is asking him to do is to carry the baby for few minutes
and walk around when the baby cries at night or take turns in handing
the baby at night. He simply says he is not comfortable with doing
them when she tried to have a conversion with him. But, the same man
carries the baby during daytime and plays with the baby. He definitely
loves his children and wishes the best for them. There is no doubt
about it.

How can my friend handle this situation? She can’t continue to wake up
many times every night as she starts to work early in the morning and
also have to take care of her elder one, pack dabbas and other sundry
works of the home. She can’t take a break from work as she feels that
the little bit self respect and personal space will be totally at a
toss. She has been working since the day she married him and even have
heard her husband’s relative referring her as a “golden goose” to him.

Thank you IHM and your readers.

Warm Regards

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