Is feminism breaking marriages? Can the simple demand for equality in a relationship be such an offence as to sever matrimonial ties? What is so threatening about two partners occupying equal pedestals? Why makes society uncomfortable about women asking for the responsibilities, partnerships, dignity to be shared and mutual in marriages?
‘All this feminist nonsense is ruining our culture’ is a refrain common in Indian families and their WhatsApp groups. The idea of marriage being a truly equal relationship – where men partake in their share of ‘feminine’ duties that are domestic or relate to parenthood – is seen as an affront to tradition that has been carried over through generations.
But what tradition are we really talking about here? One that oppresses its women by disallowing them from agency or choice? One that relegates them to kitchen quarters where their career aspirations are washed out with the dishes? One that upholds the patriarchal hierarchy and its resultant limiting gender roles intact? One that is hell-bent on keeping the status quo lopsided in one gender’s favour?
Perhaps such traditions and marriages are better off broken if they cannot weather necessary feminism.
Feminism Breaking Marriages? Only Stakeholders In Patriarchy Will Say So
A married woman asking for her partner’s contribution to the upbringing of their child is labelled a rebel. She who fights for her choice to dress and be as she pleases is seen to be a home-wrecker. She who raises her voice against sexism in the family is looked down upon as an “activist kind.”
Given India’s troubling snub of divorces, even when marriages become incompatible or worse, violent, our society is always on the lookout for external reasons to peg when relationships teeter towards expiry dates. Feminism, for example. What about turning the gaze inwards to learn and adjust in favour of women’s equality? No, we don’t do that here.
Social media users commenting beneath a post by SheThePeople regarding the same gave an affirming reality check on the subject. “Feminism does not break marriages, it’s the people who just cannot believe in equality and respect for the female and hence prefer the one who is not much opinionated, not bold enough to talk. It’s just a subtle way of saying,” an Instagram user said.
“Feminism doesn’t break marriages. It’s the patriarchy unable to accept the independence of women,” another commented.
There is no better argument for the need for women to secure financial independence than that if they are striving for their marriages to be more equal and respectful, then there is always a window for the relationship to hit a snag. But should that snag be feared? If it comes, so it shall. Cross that hurdle and step into liberation. Women deserve better than to stay in unions that don’t realise the worth of equality.
Views expressed are the author’s own.