A few weeks back, I was debating with my aunt about how men are treated with superiority in our country, while women are used as objects. I presented all the examples of what women have to go through on a daily basis in India, pointing out the concept of arranged marriages and other instances related to it, like giving up their family’s name after a marriage. She, in turn, tried to explain to me that this is how it’s supposed to be. I was shocked and confused–of course–because I didn’t understand the reasons behind this idea. Then, I started contemplating and realized that one of the major reasons behind feminism not working in India is that women are surprisingly okay with all of these irrational practices. They don’t mind fasting for their husbands, they don’t mind cooking while their husbands watch TV, they don’t mind giving up their jobs to raise children, and they don’t mind changing themselves after a marriage. And my only question is: WHY? Why are they okay with this? Why aren’t they fighting back?
Not fighting back has resulted in India being a patriarchal society, where child marriages are a part of normalcy, marriage without consent isn’t problematic, marital rape isn’t illegal, and the fight for the rights of women and homosexuals still hasn’t brought any change society’s mentality. I’ve seen women who’ve given up their dreams after marriage, and I’ve seen women fight the hell out of the system that doesn’t respect them. We must decide what kind of woman we want to be when we grow up. That’s the choice we have to make right now! Women aren’t fighting back because they think that’s not an option–this has been going on for so long that they’re used to these injustices.
I urge you to believe me when I tell you that you DO NOT have to get used to this. This is not right, and this is not okay! If something like this is bothering you–if something is weighing down on you–it’s an indication to break free from it, even if it’s a marriage or a long-term relationship. You do not have to think about people. The only person you need to think about is you. Learn to make yourself a priority every single day of your life. The reason feminism doesn’t work in India is because women fail to think about themselves, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be. There’s a difference between selflessness and sacrifice. Not all selfless acts require sacrifice. The cost of your husband’s happiness doesn’t have to be your independence. Your happiness and personal freedom are just as important as his. And this mindset isn’t limited to marriage. To all those girls with boyfriends, STOP trying to get into their pants just so you could marry them, stop trying to be a part of their families by impressing your “future in-laws” and giving up your dreams. Make yourself a priority because if Indian women do that, India could be a feminist country where equality and personal freedom aren’t just recommended, but also respected by the society we live in.