Get Inspired, Be Empowered Forums Feminism Is The ‘Feminist Marriage’ Actually Just a Mirage? Reply To: Is The ‘Feminist Marriage’ Actually Just a Mirage?

Yash Tiwari
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The feminist marriage fails to recognize how domestic tasks from cooking to cleaning to child-rearing are rooted in patriarchy. While love, nurture, and selflessness are usually given as reasons for doing these chores, these supposedly feminine attributes don’t exist apart from the patriarchal characteristics they’re meant to compensate and complement. But, if we look just a bit deeper, we find that the ‘feminist marriage’ is the ‘marital trade.’ The wife works for free in the home to sustain her family and thus proves that she is a responsible member of society just like her husband. On the other hand, her husband supports his family and sustains his wife and children. The woman is often given presents or allowed to choose her attire if she does chores that are told to do.

Given that feminists since the colonial period have debated issues related to marriage and sexuality in India, it is rather strange that this contemporary film should get so much attention. Most feminists – both in the academic field as well as the women’s organizations – have understood the politics of demanding rights within a regime founded on patriarchy. Therefore, they question these basic family units too. But there is always a happy ending, despite the spinsterhood that faces this unmarried girl (and the broken hearts of her respective families). The older woman who cheats on her husband in Haider will be killed off. A Muslim man will marry a Hindu woman in Raj Kumar Hirani’s PK, despite it being against all religious rules. Everything will magically work out. In movies and real-life alike.

I have been one all my life in addition to being a very ardent fan of Hindi cinema from the mid-70s until recently. But one thing I cannot stand is when the discussion of women’s rights in the larger scheme of things focuses on what a woman chooses to wear or not wear, and how she behaves and maintains her body. In the name of love, marriage turns women into domestic animals who spend their lives serving others. It is not an exaggeration to state that this leads to a form of sexual slavery.

The recent ‘Feminist Marriage Movement’ seeks to encourage unmarried people to decouple marriage from social and economic factors. Rather than view marriage as born of money or procreation, it sees marriage as a matter of personal choice and desires only. It encourages unmarried people to advocate for their emotional needs and desires within the framework of their relationships while reorienting the public away from viewing all single or unmarried people as deviants. The notion that a woman must be married to be complete is as specious as the claim that a woman cannot live without a man. Both arguments are rooted in dated, biased stereotypes that serve only to propagate the myth that women have an innate need to marry and, even more egregiously, to do so for their happiness and fulfillment.