Almost all parents would agree that raising a baby is no child’s play — especially when they have to balance their life with their career. However, it’s hard to figure out why mothers are expected to take care of the toddlers and still they get only their father’s last name. A girl’s poignant tale on Facebook with snippets from her upbringing made people question the notion, and gave family goals to many others.
Narrating how her family went against the patriarchal mindset, she spilled her story in a post shared by Humans of Bombay. Sadly, it only got her into trouble after moving to India. Belonging to a family where men and women are given equal liberty, she didn’t know that studying in India would come with so many hardships.
“When I took state examinations, my forms would get rejected because of the discrepancy between my middle name and what was my father’s first name. Dad even had to come to school to request a change in records. We were questioned by everyone — somehow they believed they deserved an explanation. It really pissed my parents off. I spent the rest of my school days being labeled as the ‘strange girl with her mother’s name’,” she said in the post.
“I’ve grown up in a family without gender roles. When my mother worked night shifts, my father would do the cooking. They would take turns to attend our school PTAs and if mom cooked dinner, dad would do the dishes. Even our names are balanced –while my sister and I took our father’s last name, we took our mother’s name as the middle. The logic was simple–both parents have an equal part in bringing up children, so why should only the father’s name be used in their identity?
When we moved to India when I was 11, this became a problem. From the very first day, I was made to believe that I was odd. Teachers refused to acknowledge that my middle name was ‘Lata’ and they kept putting my father’s name on every document. When I took state examinations, my forms would get rejected because of the discrepancy between my middle name and what was my father’s first name. Dad even had to come to school to request a change in records. We were questioned by everyone– somehow they believed they deserved an explanation. It really pissed my parents off. I spent the rest of my school days being labeled as the ‘strange girl with her mother’s name’.
At first I was angry with my parents. I didn’t understand why they were making it so hard for me…why couldn’t I just be ‘normal?’ But as I grew up, I realised that they were the normal ones — that even with just my name they presented a powerful idea. They showed the world that women are in fact equal to men. They exposed how deeply patriarchy is embedded in our daily lives, and how difficult it is to break that cycle. But they stood up for what’s right and at 17 I can say that no matter how hard it gets to stand up for basic equality…I won’t give up. I’m proud to carry both of them with me in my name and I’ll relentlessly take their values forward into the world.”
After reading the eye opening story, Netizens were deeply inspired and quizzed as to why the father’s name was such a prerequisite in the Indian education system. “So reassuring! while dealing with patriarchy & stereotypical gender roles women into the fabric of our societies. This gave me so much more hope! A Big aThank you! to your Amazing Parents,” one user commented.
Read a few more such comments here.
What are your thoughts about the entire ordeal? Tell us in the comments below.