Husband’s property

This happened today, at my office.

My male colleague E, “Seena madam, you have become stylish nowadays”

I, with a smile “aanno? ” (Is it so?)

E, “new dresses, hair style, glasses and all. Suits you well.”

Another male colleague RS, “Hey, what is this man. She is a married lady. You are talking nonsense to a family girl. What will her husband think if he hears that, he might slap you”

Excuse me! Am I my husband’s property? A male colleague cannot compliment a female colleague if she is married ? Does he have to take the husband’s permission for that?

I was irritated and gave him a piece of my mind.

Actually he has been getting a piece of my mind every now and then.

When I was pregnant, the same RS had told me that he had prayed in the temple, for me to conceive, as I have been married for more than 2 years and it is because of him that I got pregnant ! 😯

Excuse me! Who are you (or anyone else for that matter) to decide when should I get pregnant.  It is something I and my husband should decide together. If we have decided not to have kids until we are ready to take the responsibility, why should anyone else be bothered about it. When I have never discussed or even remotely mentioned to  you or any of my colleagues on my plans to have or not to have a child, who gave you the right to assume that I badly wanted a child and pray for me in the temple ?

Even after getting an earful from me that day, he did not hesitate to tell me, when I was about to go on maternity leave, that he had prayed at the temple for me, to have a baby boy.

What the …. ! Who is he to decide I  should have a boy or a girl ? Why should he interfere in my personal affairs ? Why the preference for boy?

Now, who deserves the slap from my husband?

RS, believes that a colleague with whom I am friendly with should not pass compliments to a married family lady without the husband’s permission . At the same time a colleague, with whom I don’t even share a cordial relation and never ever discuss my personal affairs, can pray for me to conceive and then have a baby boy. He not only feels there is nothing wrong in it but also feels proud of it to brag about it.

Why ? Obviously, the social conditioning he has got from the patriarchic society he was brought up in. The social conditioning that did not tone down even after being educated, holding both a BE and an MBA degree and working in a professional environment as an Engineer for nearly ten years.

A social conditioning that teaches that a woman and her beauty is only husband’s property. A social conditioning that teaches that a woman’s duty is to get married and within a year give birth to a boy. Any other male complementing the woman is violating the husband’s property rights. Any other male praying for the woman to conceive and giving birth to a male child is being a well wisher to the couple.

It  was just after the above incident that I read this at IHM’s blog.  Isn’t the same social conditioning, mentioned above, the reason for an woman’s honor  to be linked with her status of being married. Rape becomes nothing to do with the woman’s mental and physical trauma, but everything to do with losing  honor and becoming unfit for marriage. Marriage becomes nothing about love and mutual respect but everything about the woman’s honor and status in the society.

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12 thoughts on “Husband’s property

    • He is one character. Sometimes funny, sometimes annoying, sometimes frustrating. The problem is, he doesn’t realize how misogynist his views are. He means no malice, he is just conditioned to think that way as many Indians are. He thinks he was on my side, my well wisher. Earlier I tried to ignore, but now I feel unless I tell him how wrong his views are, how would he know it. Unless we react, such people would not re-think on the ‘values’ and ‘beliefs’ deeply ingrained in them.

    • I was really annoyed. I keep hearing such comments even from near and dear ones. I used to ignore them. But now I have started to react because I have understood that the problem is not with them but the ideologies they are taught and brought up with. We have to make them rethink. It is not easy and they might not open their eyes at all, but at least we can be glad that we did not encourage and attest their views by remaining silent.

  1. There’s something truly sick at work, I think when a woman is considered a man’s property.

    Back in the days, in the US, when slavery was legal, the Black slaves were bought and “owned” by the white folks.

    Apparently, by marrying a man, women in India, even in this day and age wilfully change their ownership from their fathers to their husbands.

    So, we have the intellectual level to change ownership, but not the right to exist as independent entities on our own, without a man attached to our back sides.

    That’s the idea that makes my blood boil.

    As for your colleague, I feel like giving him an earful of my mind as well.

    • True SG, in the patriarchic system that refuses to vanish even in the modern times, woman has no identity of herself. She has to owned and protected by her father/husband/son. The problem is, patriarchy cunningly attaches this to ‘values’, ‘morals’ ‘culture’ etc.. and a person questioning this system are seen as immoral beings and no one wants that.

  2. He needs a middle finger. Give him that the next time and he will vanish after that. And give him two in fact – with both left and right hand. Tell him one is from your husband.

    • Ignore was my mantra earlier, but these days I have started reacting more.. but then sometimes I get so tired of fighting, sexism is so much every where around, its like a never ending fight 😦

And Thank you for allowing me to walk in your Sandals/Shoes :)

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