They Can’t Shape Her

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 29 – They can’t shape her in their likeness,
can’t swallow her whole. Can’t figure her out as she won’t keep her dreams small.

MM had seen quite a few families where elderly disfunction runs high. Much of it supported by tradition where elders express love by allowing younger women to serve them.

Solutions – My Friend Temper

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 28 – Temper. My Friend. You keep me safe when the load gets too heavy and they won’t give me a break.

Speaking out calmly and assertively when there’s pushback is always a risk. Now, it was a risk she was willing to take. A risk she was angry enough to take.

Solutions – Moving On From Anxiety

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 27 – It’s cuddly dog and happy face and we have to look our best, hair always neat and in place. Skirt around what’s going down because talking like it’s okay can turn things around.

This chapter was inspired by a wonderful book on positivity – ‘I’m OK – You’re OK’ by Thomas A Harris, MD.

On Marital Rape and Consent

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 23 – MM was horrified at the lack of a law on marital rape in India. Read this article by the Times of India – Why Marital Rape Exists In Homes, In Data, But Not In Law. MM had only ever experienced caring and kindness in this aspect of her marriage, but she knew women who hadn’t. Women for who the bedroom was a place to tolerate. To endure. To dread. And to fear.

Life Second-Class – The Mother-in-Law

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 22 – MM loved her mother-in-law (referred to later as MM’s MIL) for many reasons I’ve mentioned before in ‘Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 3 – Equality at Home | A Wonderful Woman’. A separation of living spaces goes a long way in helping mother-in-law and daughter-in-law love each other. And there’s one more important factor we often under-value, namely, the role of the Indian man.

Microwave Madam on Building-Uncle

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 21 – Those of you who live in India will understand the term Building-Uncle even though it might be new to you. For those who don’t, in India, all elderly men are called Uncle wherever they go, and elderly women, Auntie. The Building-Uncle is my term for the uncle who lives within the same housing society or building.

The Stages of My Life | Definitions

Exploring Patriarchy Chapter 20 –

It used to be Baby ‘cos they saw I was young
the one they looked after when her parents weren’t around.
Then, it was Didi – the elder sister
a young adult woman without a ‘Mister’.

MM’s Story:

The role of the Indian woman is defined very differently from that of the Indian man. Her career, education or income level matter very little. What seems to be important to society is her personal choices. Or those that are made for her by her family. And by the God’s.