A bizarre and infuriating incident was recently reported from Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu where a groom allegedly slapped his bride for dancing with her family at their wedding. Just when you thought men couldn’t find more reasons to be violent towards women.
As per reports, the woman, the daughter of a prominent businessman, arrived at the venue of her wedding function on January 19 dancing with some relatives to mark the celebrations. She was to tie the knot a day later at a temple. The groom apparently did not like her manner of entry and the two got into an argument. The matter quickly escalated and the man slapped his to-be wife.
She reportedly slapped him back.
Her family, enraged over the incident, dissolved their marriage and told the groom to leave the venue. They decided that the woman would marry a cousin on the designated date and she reportedly agreed to the proposal. More here.
If the sequence of events happened as is being reported, then it should terrify us all. Women are being subjected to violence for as little as having fun at their own weddings. If this is not a show of the gender oppressive society, fuelled by male machismo, that we live in then what is? Who tasked men with policing convention and morality in women’s actions?
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As if by ironic design, this outrageous incident comes on the tail of a ‘marriage strike‘ many men declared on social media earlier this week in protest of deliberations over a marital rape law. If such a law against non-consensual sex in marriage is introduced, these men claim they would exit the marriage market.
Groom slaps bride for dancing… if you can believe it
They did not seem to be aware that an entire population of women heaved a collective sigh of relief when they called for this so-called ‘marriage strike.’ It rarely happens that weeds pull themselves out.
Male privilege has allowed unchecked assault against women for too long. While on one end, some men rally for being able to legally rape their wives, on the other are those like the Tamil Nadu groom feel they have the right to regulate women’s lives through Kabir Singh-like roughness. Both lie on the spectrum of gender violence in different degrees.
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But women are slowly rising up against this oppression legitimised by social norms. Why, after all, must a woman accept a man who cannot see her be herself? Or is against her enjoying her happiest moments? Considering the chauvinism such a person liberally exercises, do they deserve to be with a significant other at all?
What’s more worrying is that there would be endless men out there sympathising with the groom here. Many would even judge the bride for marrying her cousin. Which angle should really attract judgment in this situation?
The foundation of Indian marriages rests on preserving ‘traditional’ values weighed on the back of women’s dignities. She is expected to play the part first of a shy bride, then an obedient wife and then a sacrificial mother, her actions constantly scrutinised. She needs to be always domestic, servile, sober, silent and obedient – the ‘ideal’ wife.
If these are what count for culture, trampling out a woman’s agency so completely that it becomes a sin for her to even enjoy herself, then it’s high time for this culture to be flung out of the window. And then we can dance to celebrate.
Views expressed are the author’s own.