Ladki ko sir pe chadha rakha hai: Many parents tell this about their daughters. This happens mainly when daughters cross their “limit” of being free and independent. Indian parents use comments like these and more to teach women a lesson and bring them on the “right” path. But can there be a limit to how free and independent a woman can be? Isn’t it sad that parents themselves restrict and confine their daughters? If parents do so, what can we expect from society?
Ladki ko sir pe chadha rakha hai: Why this is problematic?
The comment ladki ko sir pe chadha rakha hai is problematic on so many levels. It shows that parents should not value women’s choices and decisions. They should not respect their individuality. They should rather suppress and fabricate their identities based on patriarchal standards. This comment is mainly said by mothers which is even more disappointing because if mothers can’t understand the value of freedom in a woman’s life then how will anyone else?
It is only unfortunate that parents themselves shame their daughters for being outspoken. They consider a woman’s assertiveness as a threat to the family’s reputation. And so they try to confine women within the limits set by the patriarchy. Whether it is about career, marriage or other aspects of women’s lives, the decision is made as per patriarchal expectations. Even though some parents allow freedom to their daughters, freedom comes with conditions and limits. You can have a career of your choice but cannot marry a man of your choice. You can go out at night but must share your location every hour.
And when women begin to demand more, they are reminded about their vulnerability as a weaker gender. But dear parents, why don’t you perceive your daughters as your own rather than as subjects of patriarchy? If you won’t respect the individuality of your daughters then who will?
Do we have such expectations from men?
In our society, women are expected to be demure and submissive. They are expected to not be expressive of their desires and choices. But when they defy these expectations, women are villainised for being disrespectful, rude and aggressive. But do these expectations seem to be attributes of a free human or a submissive slave? Why still do we not consider women as free and independent beings? Do we enforce such ideas on the sons of the house? Are sons ever criticised for being too free or outspoken?
We live in a country where men who harass get bail for marriage but women who are harassed are expected to confine themselves under lengths of clothes. The state believes in defining the limits of women’s freedom rather than questioning the act and mindset of the perpetrators.
When are we going to perceive women as citizens with rights? When are we going to value their choices and decisions? How long women will be criticised for being too liberated? Isn’t liberty the basic attribute of humanity? Or do we not consider women as part of liberal humanity?
Views expressed are the author’s own.