#Opinion

Forty Expectations Patriarchy Has From Women

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Patriarchal expectations from women are endless. To be a woman in Indian society means to toe line with a number of norms and expectations. Even one step behind or ahead can lead to a woman’s character assassination. These expectations conceive womanhood in terms of sacrifices, silence and shyness.

A woman is perceived only as a dependent being who cannot dream or dare to be financially and socially independent. She is supposed to embody the idea of ‘good woman’ which is only a myth to assert and legitimise male dominance. So in this article, we list out 40 the expectations patriarchy has from women

1.A woman should be sacrificial, silent and shy

2. A woman should serve her husband as her parmeshwar (god)

3. A woman should push her own health, dreams and desires to back seat and prioritise the needs of the family

4. A woman is complete when she has a marriage and a child

5. A woman should wear clothes that cover her body entirely

6. A woman should be good at cooking, cleaning and other housework

7. A woman should not earn if her husband does; preferably women should not be financially independent

8. A woman should respect her in-laws even if they don’t

9. A woman should bear the injustices in a marriage because it is her responsibility to make the marriage last

10. A woman should take care of and rehabilitate her alcoholic/abusive husband

11. A woman should marry before menopause

12. A woman should prioritise her marriage over her education and employment

13. A woman must not go out alone during the ‘odd’ hours

14. A woman should be devoted to her religion and follow every custom religiously even though they are patriarchal

15. A woman must not cross-question her elders

16. A woman must not speak if she is harassed because that will affect her and her family’s reputation

17. A woman must not have sex before marriage

18. A woman must not enjoy sex or demand orgasm

19. A woman must not masturbate or explore her sexuality

20. A woman must not earn or be educated more than her husband

21. A woman should stay away from the kitchen and holy places during her periods

22. A woman must not talk about her periods openly or in front of men

23. A woman must do jobs that are ‘feminine’- like teaching, stitching, working in beauty parlours etc

24. A woman must cry on her wedding

25. A woman must leave her house and her parents after marriage

26. A woman must adjust to every situation in her marital house without raising a question

27. A woman must not divorce because without her husband she has no name or reputation

28. A woman who has been harassed should be married off quickly, even if it means that she has to marry the harasser himself

29. A woman must not spend her life alone or be a single mother

30. A woman must be liked by everyone in the house

31. A woman must forgive her husband for domestic violence because men will be men

32. A woman must eat the last (often burnt or uncooked) roti i.e. eat after everyone in the family has eaten

33. A woman should be in the kitchen during family gatherings

34. A woman should not go on solo trips

35. A woman should not marry/date a man younger than her

36. A woman should not work after marriage or motherhood

37. A woman should adjust in an abusive, loveless, sexless or unhappy marriages

38. A woman should not drink or smoke

39. A woman should pull up her T-shirt or wear a dupatta in front of men

40. A woman must not be outspoken about her opinions

The list certainly doesn’t end here because women’s oppression is common in every culture and tradition. It comes in different forms with the common agenda to give vent to the male ego. But how long will our society force women to abide by these expectations? Today when women are shattering glass ceilings at every perch, should these expectations continue to breathe?