Still Shackled

I wrote this after I watched the move Thappad (Hindi) which left a deep, lasting impression on me. It’s about the insidious patriarchy that we see in today’s seemingly modern world. Would love to hear your views!

Thoda Bardasht karna sikhna chahiye auraton ko.”

Which roughly translates to, ‘women must learn to tolerate some unfairness in life’.

A beautiful, poignant line which deftly brings forth so many elements of patriarchy to light. The line is from the Hindi movie “Thappad” which is rife with subtle nuances, and in my opinion, it is a movie you shouldn’t miss. The Protagonist, Amrita adeptly portrayed by Taapsee Pannu, is everything I promised myself I wouldn’t be. She relinquishes her career to become a homemaker and support her husband. She constantly reiterates that she wasn’t forced to do so, she made a choice. Her grace, poise, tolerance and empathy made me, a career driven workaholic, bow down in respect. Because I couldn’t do what she did, and it’s time we learn to admit and respect that.

Patriarchy is a social system in which men hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.  It deems men as the de-facto head of any social entity, and grants the primary decision-making ability to them. It assigns rudimentary roles of reproduction and child-care to the woman while the man is construed as the breadwinner of the family.

The year is 1925. A man aged 65, grey and withered, dies of respiratory illness, a common and well-known cause of death among his age bracket. A woman, with thick black hair, a graceful figure and a beautiful voice is also present at her husband’s funeral. She is told to step into the funeral pyre. Distraught and frightened, she pleads to be let go, but the elders say ‘You must be a dutiful wife, you should want to follow your husband to the afterlife’ And thereby her life, a basic fundamental right was not hers. It was claimed by her parents, when they attempted to suffocate her at 6 months, to be exempt from the burden of dowry, her husband, when he staked claim over body at 15, her in-laws who ushered her into the pyre at 30.

The year is 2020. While such barbaric acts are now protected by newly instated laws, the discrimination that fueled them still persists. Patriarchy is not as overt as it used to be, but today it is insidious, a phantasm that feeds on misconceptions, eventually haunting every aspect of our lives.

It is imperative to address the issue of the well-educated, seemingly progressive society, who live under the veil of equal rights, while still being shackled by the chains of history.

Do you fully support the idea of a woman being the primary breadwinner of the family?

Would you be happy if your wife was more successful than you?

Do you fully support the notion that men should contribute to household chores?

If you answered yes to all three questions, then you are the type of person who is poised to bring change in the community.

If you didn’t, that’s perfectly normal. Majority of the people, including women, don’t. However, I hope you recognize that we have to change the norm. Its important to recognize that true feminism isn’t about ‘overthrowing’ men.

It’s a plea for equality, in every spectrum of life. A plea, to banish gender roles and engage in true partnership.

And while men, most certainly are to blame, so are women. In fact, a big part of the insidious damage inflicted upon equality, is insinuated by women. Bad habits begin at home. Most mothers, ‘coddle’ and bring up men, differently than they bring up women. They teach them to dream big, to pursue strong professional goals and to scale great heights. While the woman is taught to endure, to be supportive, to be understanding. Thoda bardasht karna chahiye auraton ko.

Why should a woman be taught to tolerate and not a man? She is treated as ‘paraya dhan’, or someone else’s property, for she isn’t part of the family after marriage. Isn’t blood thicker than water?

A man’s professional success is lauded by family and neighbors alike, but a woman’s is hushed, for she should be taking care of the house, right? When push comes to shove, a woman is expected to lower her ambition so as to not bruise the fragile ego of the ‘head’ of the family. The mother, is the first teacher, and what she says, stays. The discrimination is so entrenched in the mind of parents, that they impart the same prejudice to their offsprings. And the vicious cycle continues.

The year is still 2020. It’s Amrita’s birthday and she wants to go out with her friends, and let her hair down. As the clock strikes 9, she panics. She has to be home soon, she has to feed her husband and in-laws. Her friend tells her, ‘Ignore his calls and have some fun, after all its just one day’. The guilt is gnawing at her insides. She hears the devil coo – ‘You are a bad wife, Amrita’. And she rushes home, just in time for dinner. A modern day Cinderella story, with one too many step sisters. Why should Cinderella be the one to conform? Can’t the step-sisters feed themselves?

Is it really too much to ask for?

I have witnessed this phantasm plague the generation that precedes me and am fortunate enough to be exempt of it. I implore the rest of my generation to be the catalyst for change. I envision a world where there are no assigned gender roles, where both ‘parents’ raise their children, where both ‘partners’ hold the roof up. A world where a man doesn’t ‘allow’ his wife to work, and a woman isn’t shamed if she can’t cook. Where, a man who buys groceries and bathes his children isn’t a ‘Super Dad’, just a dad.

To the men, wash some dishes, ask your partner how their day was, listen to her opinions. The time is up for saying, you are rooted in your ways. The time has come to have the difficult conversations.

To the women – do not tolerate any form of prejudice. Call it out. Be loud, be bold, make sure you are heard.

Bardasht karne ki koi zaroorat nahi hai.

Do you agree? Leave your views in the comments below!

45 Comments Add yours

  1. Mouni Priya says:

    It’s nice to find people with similar views.especially now that we’ve become closer to our families during this vacation, they let the filter slip and talk about the casual stuff and when we tend to correct the mysogynistic stuff and point out at the patriarchy.. They try to shush you by saying this kind of stuff. Anyways nice to find smone, again. It’s beautiful Shruti.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Mouni! Means a lot to hear that !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Priti Srivastav says:

    Very well articulated Shruti! Loved it!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank youu 🙂

      Like

  3. Savitha R says:

    Beautifully expressed Shruti loved the way you have written it…. To the change that we all need to make.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  4. Ushasi says:

    Very well written ..it surely makes me pause and ponder
    I am sure that your generation and generations after that will be able to bring about the desired change and enable women to shake off these shackles of gender bias and pressure of role play

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alka Puri says:

    I believe that the load should be shared and am totally for it. Unfortunately, many Indian women, even abroad feel “ duniya kya kahegi”, society kya sochegi – that’s the thought that needs to change. Keep penning Shruti. ❤️ Enjoying your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ofcourse. I strongly believe that the mindset of both genders needs work. Thank you!

      Like

  6. Prasanna says:

    Very well written shruthi.i also.have same opinion

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you!

      Like

  7. vidhi says:

    It’s so true….people must understand to see from women’s point of view too….this article made my day❤️❤️❤️

    Like

    1. Shruti says:

      Wow, thank you so much! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s time stereotypes change. While we can see an onset of this change, it will definitely take time and a complete change in attitude of society to accept this. Well articulated thoughts Shruti. 👍🏻♥️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you, I agree. In my opinion it’s time we start talking about it as that’s the best way to propel the change

      Like

  9. Absolutely agree with this. Well written 💯

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shruti says:

      I’m glad, thank you so much for reading

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your most welcome 🤗💯

        Like

  10. Pankanzy says:

    😂😂😂😂 Now That’s Called Pseudo Feminism.

    Like

    1. Shruti says:

      Exactly! Equality is what we are all going for!

      Like

  11. pratzy2709 says:

    You have aptly addressed the issue. Very well written. Keep up the good work.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you so much for reading! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Era says:

    Very well written !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you Era, you are too kind

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Era says:

        😊😊

        Like

  13. Kripaa says:

    The best article I have read by you … superb Shruti

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you Kripaa! Really appreciate that

      Like

  14. This is such an important message, I enjoy and agree with your viewpoint. Nowadays, the patriarchy exists in society but is hidden and underlying. I look forward to the day when people no longer discriminate by race or gender, and as humans 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Shruti says:

      Yes! I believe that the modus of change can we be seen only if we bring it to the open, talk, discuss and make attempts to improve

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Exactly that, I couldn’t have put it better myself 😊💖

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Karthigeyan says:

    Thappad is just beautiful film which depicts realism of our society. I hope it would have served its purpose in educating its audience and changing mindset of some so called liberals. Another movie I watched “Aruvi” which was in tamil had some strong elements which are hushed by our society. I would recommend you to watch it. As usual, a great write up. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you so much! Oh nice, I’ll add that to my list of weekend movies. Thanks again:)

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Love this Shruti! You have addressed the issue of patriarchy very well! In our household there is none of that which is good, for example my mum makes me and my brother help out with the household chores so we get into the habit 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you Niraj! Haha that’s amazing, my brother also helps with household chores. That really helps and shapes how we think of the world when we live alone as well!

      Like

  17. Moreblessing says:

    Thank you for this !!!

    “To the men, wash some dishes, ask your partner how their day was, listen to her opinions. The time is up for saying, you are rooted in your ways. The time has come to have the difficult conversations.

    To the women – do not tolerate any form of prejudice. Call it out. Be loud, be bold, make sure you are heard.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you for reading! I’m glad you agree

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Such an amazing thought!
    And it was so eloquent! Loved your article dear..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you Kunakshi 🙂

      Like

  19. I can not thank you enough for writing this, Shruti. Beautiful. I completely agree with every word here. Stereotypes should be brought down. Prejudices erased. And we must change it. I really enjoyed the movie when I watched it and had similar thoughts. Excellent!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you Rishika! Yes, gender roles today are quite arbitrary and shouldn’t exist. Both men and women should choose how to live their lives!

      Like

  20. srijan. says:

    this was very well written! 🙂

    Like

    1. Shruti says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

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