Updated: Sep 25
Story of Neha Bhargava
So recently it was the wedding season and I ended up attending two weddings. First, of my cousin and the other of a far of a relative, and call it my improved critical thinking as a grown up, but I have more and more begun to think of marriage as a misogynistic concept, in most of the families in India.
It was almost appalling to my eyes, how all the women who came to attend the wedding, from the groom's side, sat outside during the second wedding, as if women are some outsiders. If that’s how ominously our customs think of women, why do they even allow the bride inside the marriage hall? Or why do they have rituals to be performed by women? Are they less of a woman than all others?
My cousin sister, who was having a love marriage and would have to stay with her husband’s family there after and hence would be required to give up on her life style, especially her other guy friends. While most of the marriage was like other marriages, what i evidently didn’t like about this marriage was the vows the bride and groom exchanged.
The priest made my jiju vow how he will treat all older women like mothers, women of same age as sisters and younger women as daughters; on the contrary my didi was made to vow, how all other men apart from her husband will be an alien territory for her. There were other vows too, mostly patriarchal but this is the one that specially stood out in my head, especially because how I could never imagine not talking or being in touch with my own guy friends, whom I am so close to.
I think these vows and customs are just the tip of the iceberg. It is public knowledge that a conventional indian marriage expects a lot from a woman than it ever does from a man, from changing her surname to her family to her clothing style to her entire daily routine, whereas life after marriage mostly remains same for most men.
Marriage makes crimes like dowry, marital rape, and domestic violence acceptable. With every third women been a victim of domestic violence in our country, unless we do away with these customs, such kind of marriages might be the biggest hurdle in our path towards equality.