“Your wife will set you straight!”
“A marriage is just the antidote for his drinking problem.”
“He just needs to settle down so his partying stops.” Very familiar lines, aren’t they?
Well, in a society that has blind faith that everything that is going downhill in one’s life can be fixed by the magic wand that is marriage, these are things that one gets to hear every day. Which is why psychologist and parenting consultant Jaseena Backer’s Facebook post seems to have resonated with so many people. Arguing that “women are not rehabilitation centers for men”, Backer makes a poignant point that getting men married off because their general demeanour needs to be fixed is absolutely unfair to the women.
She shared an anecdote of how her domestic help complained about her daughter-in-law who, despite being married to her son for eight years, couldn’t stop his drinking problem. Upon being asked why couldn’t she stop her son from doing so in the 28 years he was her son and not a husband yet, her maid came up with the rather ‘rational’ explanation: “Men are like raw mangoes. The wife can be good and let the mango ripen, and if the wife is bad then she will rotten the mango.”
This triggered Backer to the point of writing the FB post and stating the obvious, yet much-overlooked fact: “The problem is not becoming a wife; it is setting the standard to become a wife rather than her own individual first. It’s suppressive and regressive…Indian society has just given one gender the freedom to be careless, carefree, and disorganized. While the other to conform to the poised and acceptable behaviour expected of a good wife.”
“Woman what are you?
“My son drinks. My daughter-in-law is no good. She isn’t able to stop him nor keep a contorol” my domestic help was complaining to me.
“Only if the woman who comes home to be a wife is good will the husband turn out to be good,” she judgementalised.
You have to be a good woman, respectful, because one day you will be someone’s wife, you will have to learn family morals… what it is to be a good woman????
“She has been married to him for 8 years and I wonder what the hell she has been doing all these years of marriage? She lamented.
“What were you doing for 28 years?” I asked her
“Means?” she questioned.
“Your son has been with you 28 years before marriage and what were you doing then to correct him?” I asked her.
“I am the mother I have limitations and he wont listen to me. She is a wife she should control him,” she said.
“What you couldn’t do for son in 28 years you expect her to do in 8 years?” I asked her.
“Men are like raw mangoes. The wife can be good and let the mango ripen, and if the wife is bad then she will rotten the mango,” was her organic explanation.
“Did you tell your daughter-in-law before marriage that your son was a drunkard,” I asked her.
“No, I got him married thinking the wife will fix it all,” she told me blatantly.
There are so many things I find problematic with statements like the above one. It’s strenuous; we have to keep repeating the same things. The problem is not becoming a wife; it is setting the standard to become a wife rather than her own individual first. It’s suppressive and regressive.
“So she can actually sue you for selling her a rotten mango,” I couldn’t contain my laughter.
The India society has spent centuries grooming girls to be future good wives( sanskaari bahu), yet failing to produce good husbands who deserve them. This makes girls grow up to feel they have to cater to childish juvenile behaviour in their marriages.
In this patriarchal society we live in, there is a notion that, “girls are more mature than boys at a particular given age,” and that is one monumental social constructs. Girls aren’t more mature than boys their age mentally. Therefore wives are not officially teachers, mentors or coaches for their husbands.
Indian society has just given one gender the freedom to be careless, carefree, and disorganized. While the other to conform to the poised and acceptable behaviour expected of a good wife.
Instead of directing all the energy to teaching girls how to be “good wives”, 50% of it need to be directed toward boys. In the similar fashion some of the energy directed towards teaching boys how to pave their own way should also be directed toward girls. An apt balance of gender in parenting.
No uncles and grandfathers will have a talk to a man before marriage on being a good husbands. While too many women are left to think their self worth is dependent on their ability to cater to a man.
Here is something for you women- don’t fall into the trap that you have to correct the man all the time. Men do not like to me mothered by their wives.. They have one mother which is more than enough for them.
However, the coming generation of husband and wife will usher in some changes as the world is evolving for the better.
We as the next generation of parents ought to raise all children to be accountable, responsible and well behaved irrespective of gender. No one should be given a special benefit of any gender.
When the society blames everything (parenting/ divorces etc) that goes wrong in a marriage on women or feminism, what they actually try to reinstate is that the world cannot function well because the modern woman refuses to bow down to suffer.
That’s the fact….. and we are getting there
Women, you are NOT rehabilitation centers for badly raised men.
It is NOT your job to fix him, change him, parent him or raise him.
You want a partner, not a project.”
Talking to indianexpress.com, Backer, who hails from Tanur in Malappuram district of Kerala, said a lot of women reached out to her after reading her post and said that she has “become their voice”. “While a good number of men also have understood the article comes from the experience of the expectations of the society, on the other hand a lot of men have been thrashing me in the comments’ section of the article as well as personally on my Facebook messenger,” she added.
What you think of her argument on sanskaari bahus and their ‘job’ as ‘rehabilitation centers’? Tell us in the comments below.