A few days ago, I came across an ongoing debate on Facebook that was meant to answer centuries old question: should women change their last name after getting married or not? Usually, I enjoy good arguments on social media silently while enjoying a nice cup of tea. But this time my feminist side compelled me to express my opinion, that is, it’s a women’s choice. Obviously, not everyone appreciated my opinion. However, one of the furious ladies belittled me by stating that feminist women like me should stay single and never get married, as we cannot “handle” what it takes. That mere comment got me into thinking why are some women against feminism? Unfortunately, this is not the first time I have heard an oppressed comment from a woman.
A normal person would not pay attention to such comment and move on, but me being a chronic over-thinker decided to talk to my fiancé about it and get a male’s perspective. I am pleased to report back that not only he is a feminist but also appreciates my independence. Moreover, he fully agrees with my perspective on the topic. #FeelingBlessed. This conversation made me wonder if modern men are changing their ways of thinking and supporting feminism then why are women still accepting Patriarchal bargain? After all, feminism advocates for equality among all genders.
I understand, that our society has not fully evolved yet, a lot of work needs to be done and feminist men are a minority. Regardless, what happened to the notion of sisterhood? And sisters before misters? Perhaps we all are influenced heavily by desi soap operas where, an educated, independent woman who successfully breaks the glass ceiling is the bad girl and the oppressed uneducated girl is the good girl and they both fight with each other over an egoistic man whose life is in shambles. Similarly, Indian cinema has glorified female villains like Komolika and taught us how mother and daughter in laws can never get along. But men seldom have such problems. Similarly, the West is not doing a good job at portraying the girl power either. Even, Game of Thrones ended up turning a savior into a villain and it all boiled down to an ultimate battle between two crazy women. Honestly, I truly feel sorry for all the parents who named their children Khaleesi!
The Patriarchal bargain is not something new, it is a centuries old tactic that enables women to uphold and encourage patriarchal norms while making one woman seemingly superior to others. However, the ugly truth about this phenomenon is that it encourages a judgmental attitude amongst women and makes us pull each other down. Who cares if someone decides to be a homemaker, change their last name after marriage, not get married or becomes an entrepreneur. The choices made from free will doesn’t make someone any better or worse. The only things that matter ultimately are one’s happiness and having a sense of belonging. Thus, we need to stop judging and pulling each other down and have a united front to support each other’s choices and advocate for women who are being oppressed and need justice.