Why the tradition of “women eating last in families” bothers me

Charvi Kathuria
Jan 09, 2017 13:04 IST
New Update
Selina Periampillai on shethepeople

The deeply entrenched system of patriarchy affects all walks of an Indian woman’s life. I was aware of the fact that a woman’s clothes are deeply scrutinised but her ill-fed status shocked me. According to a report by The Hindu, one in five women in Delhi and half of the women in Uttar Pradesh live in households where men eat first. The women get to eat low-quality food which worsens their health.


Leave patriarchy aside, isn’t it inhuman to stop a person from doing something that is vital for her existence? Does patriarchy transcend all boundaries without considering the health of the person? Have Indian men stooped so low that they use something as fundamental as food to derive their superiority from it?

I wonder if “As you sow, so shall you reap” applies in the Indian context. An Indian woman spends most of her time in the kitchen perfecting her culinary skills. Ironically, she is often the last one to be fed. Does she get to enjoy the fruits of her labor? If no, our English proverbs are sexist in nature.

It seems marriages in India hold more importance for women?

I also wonder if this discrimination continues during pregnancy. Pregnant women are in dire need of nutrition to pass her gestation period smoothly. Lack of nutrition can permanently stunt the baby’s growth. It shows how a baseless tradition becomes the root cause for so many generations being deprived of good food.

I have also heard of women deliberately staying hungry to keep their weight under control. The need to look beautiful and thin is another brutal outcome of patriarchy only. Depriving oneself of food for the sake of physical appearance is illogical and demands contempt.

It is hilarious to know about the intrinsic relationship food and marriages have in India. Married women stay hungry till late at night to justify their love for their husbands. If it is love, shouldn’t it come from the both the sides? But it seems marriages in India hold more importance for women. Don’t we talk about the rapid transformations that take place in a woman after she gets married?

According to me, women should start taking caring of themselves because the stark truth is that no one really acknowledges her sacrifices. Skipping meals for the sake of family is sheer carelessness which can have a lot of health consequences.


#Patriarchy #india gender #malnutrition #traditions #women eat last in india