I was very young when I hear my mother say that a woman should choose a groom based on his financial status, not by his face. Somehow, the thought stayed with me, but it was only after I grew up that I realised how problematic this mindset was. Many parents raise their daughters into gold diggers by expecting them to fish for rich grooms. But is it right to indoctrinate your daughters with the idea that having a rich husband is important for women? Or that women’s source of money is always their husband’s salary?
According to society, gold diggers are women who eye men’s wealth and not their personality, when approaching them for a relationship. The narrative of the gold diggers is often used to demonise women as money-minded and greedy. However, no one understands that gold-digging is not in the DNA of women. They are conditioned and raised in such a way that they see financial benefits as an essential part of a relationship with a man. And Indian parents play a huge part in it.
Parents in our society rarely teach women to be financially independent. They rather teach daughters to put a man’s worth on his paycheck. Seek a man who will provide for you, take care of all your financial needs, and in return provide him with domestic bliss. Take care of the house, raise children and tend to the husband’s ageing parents- that’s a woman’s duty. But what about having a career and earning your own money? That’s optional. Why bother with office work when your husband is doing it anyways and putting food on the table?
What parents fail to see is that their conditioning pushes their daughters into a lifelong financial dependency.
Most parents grow up seeing working women getting harsh treatment from society. Even a working woman has to perform all the household chores, thus doubling the work that she has to put into her marriage. Keeping that in mind, parents often feel they need to ensure that their daughter is comfortable after marriage. What’ the point of encouraging her to pursue a higher education or getting a job if she will have to struggle after marriage to achieve work-life balance?
Can parents stop making daughters gold diggers
But parents need to understand that the solution here is setting a different setting a different set of demands from a groom. Instead of focusing on how much he earns, why not ask whether or not he will share the load of household chores with your daughter and encourage her to have a job too?
Introducing marriage to women as a way to gain money also reduces men into objects that are only valued for their net worth. Such marriages don’t last because wealth is ephemeral happiness. What will last longer is the bond of affection and dedication between a husband and wife and that’s why the focus should be on improving that.
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Moreover, if parents teach daughters to just look for money in marriage, they will compromise on every other aspect of the relationship. In other words, even if a marriage provides her with wealth, then a woman will feel compelled to put up with oppression as has no other way to sustain herself. She will be quiet on domestic violence, dowry harassment and marital rape just because the marital family has wealth. Being financially independent on the other hand, will give a daughter a way out of a traumatic relationship.
It is natural for parents to be worried about their daughter’s future. But the focus should be on ensuring that women are not dependent on anyone else for their wellbeing. This will not only make them independent but will also make them understand that marriage doesn’t need money to survive but love and understanding. Women are individuals with all the rights and freedoms that a man has. So why should they be dependent on men for anything? Why should they wait for a rich groom to fulfil their needs?
Parents should make daughters realise their power to be independent and autonomous. An independent woman will never consider her husband as a source of money but as a life partner with whom she can share love and understanding.
Views expressed are the author’s own.