The father-daughter bond is among the most special ones in the world. It may sound like a cliche, given the endless times Bollywood has eulogised this relationship as one where the father and daughter dote on each other, but it exists. For many girls, their fathers are their heroes – figures they learn from, are inspired by and look up to with love.
But holding a parent in high regard does not mean they are perfect or always right. And there are some patriarchal things dads say that often get under feminist daughters’ skins. Have you ever experienced talk from your dad that you wanted to object to? Have you ever thought of correcting him, but stopped yourself because you realised their ideas stem from patriarchy that is so ingrained in our lives?
Most importantly, is it disrespectful to call fathers out when they are knowingly or unknowingly furthering patriarchy?
Here are some patriarchal things dads say that daughters should observe and use to remind them that in order to be better allies to us, they need to shed the gender oppressive inclinations they have been conditioned to believe are correct.
“Don’t go for the classes/tuitions alone. Take your younger brother along .”
Mind you this is the reason why you cannot do most of the things that boys in the house are happily allowed to. Be it comparing you to your brothers or saying “Why can’t you be like your brother” or boys of the house being said to carry heavy bags because “you are a girl”
“Beta, You should go for Arts and Humanities . Bhai banega engineer”
Instead of asking them to make their own career choice.
“Beta, Ye Job tumse nahin ho payega”
Apparently, few streams like mechanical and civil branches should be declared “only boys are allowed”
“Beta, You are a girl and you should compromise.”
The onus of leading a happy life- before and after marriage falls on a girl . So whatever happens you should be the one to take the first step.
Calling “Beti” a “Beta”
It is so normal in the Indian households that even girls proudly say “I am a son for my parents”. Bollywood Dad from female centric movie like “Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl” proudly keeps calling their daughter a son throughout the movie. This is what society has accepted and is another normal, yet patriarchal talk.
“Mhari chhori chhoro se kam hai ke” -from Dangal, compares daughter and son. They are equal. Aren’t they?
“Sasural mein log kya kahenge?”
Presumably, sleeping till late hours of afternoon or not doing household chores is not acceptable by Papa and Mummy.
“There are lot of expenses in daughter’s wedding. I need to start saving at least 5-10 years before”
I feel like saying my Dad that I am earning enough. Seeing that frowning look of equally sharing the expense frowns me in return.
“These are not the sanskaars we have given you”
Perpetually accepting all the ideas including marriageable age, choice of groom are “elder-zoned”. Haven’t you been told to- “remain within the limits” or “Ghar ke bade tumhare liye acha sochenge”
“Beta, tumhara sasural hi tumhara ghar hai or Beti paraya dhan ho gayi”
Dads crying during their daughter’s wedding justify it by the old school thoughts. From the age old classics of not drinking water in daughter’s sasuraal to not sharing any financial or personal issues is a step taken to distance daughter post marriage.
Periods are taboo? Why?
Periods are still considered as a taboo in most houses. Have you ever given the reason of “stomach ache” or “feeling sick” to your father on not going to school or college? You might understand it then.
While our parents, especially dads are hardwired to believe in these, we as progressive women can discuss these with our fathers and help them be the change we want to see.
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