Thursday, January 7, 2010

Male Chauvinism

The literal meaning of chauvinism is an attitude of superiority towards members of opposite sex. Since males in our society have somehow decided that they are the superior ones that are often proud to be chauvinistic.
Chauvinism is a characteristic which reflects ignorance. Remember Devdas and his modern version in Dev D! Dev’s chauvinism gave him the liberty of having all the fun with females around him and the same chauvinism lead to his break up when he got suspicious about the loyalty of his girlfriend.
Frankly, I had not witnessed male chauvinism till I was secure in my house. I had seen my father prepare morning tea for my mother at times when she overslept. My father knew more about our medication and vaccinations than my mother. My father would not hesitate in going for shopping with my mother. In fact, I can easily say that he can make the best choice of clothes in our family. But as I grew up and went out for studies and job, I came across a variety of people who could be easily categorized as being highly male chauvinistic. There were colleagues who did not want a working wife because according to them women were meant to look after kids and family. Nonetheless, they wanted a post graduate girl to marry. I could never understand the irony of this. Why would a guy want to make someone sacrifice her career for an orthodox bent of mind?
“Have you experienced male chauvinism in your married life?” I asked a female who lives next door. “Yes, chauvinism is deep rooted in all males. Some have it more while others have it to a lesser extent. We live in a nuclear family (it’s just my husband and me) and my husband is off from work on weekends. But still he expects me to wake up early in the morning and do all the household chores while he keeps sleeping till almost afternoon. “
I had gone to interview a male in my society to understand a male perspective. “Do you think men in India are more chauvinistic than in US?” I asked.
“I can’t answer for men in US. But I don’t think Indian men are chauvinistic. They are just a little more protective towards their family” he replied.
“Sarita, this tea is totally cold. You always forget to cover it. Why can’t you work properly?”
Sarita aunty came out, smiled sheepishly to hide her embarrassment and covered the tea cups.
“Sarita, I told you the tea is totally cold now. Go, make two more cups of tea” shouted the chauvinistic husband.
Poor wife went inside after being humiliated in front of a guest who must have been her daughters’ age and couldn’t do anything. If this male is not chauvinistic then I have got the meaning of chauvinism wrong.
Recently, I met a lady in my community who came to the park everyday for yoga. Since yoga was a common practice, we soon became friends. I took to yoga because I had grown up watching my mother do it. This helped her keep fit and flexible.
“What makes you do yoga every day, without fail?” I asked her.
“It makes me fight away anger and frustration on daily basis” was her surprising reply.
“My husband never thinks that I do anything right. Name calling, unnecessary and illogical arguments, use of abusive language, false accusations…. It’s part of our daily routine.” “In order to keep my cool, I do Pranayam and yoga.”
I was speechless for a moment. The lady is well qualified and had even worked for a long time. I could not understand how she could be so wrong in everything she did that her husband fought with her like animals almost every day.
After the yoga session she told me that before marriage she was also very carefree and independent. But marriage changed everything for her. At night I talked to my father and told him everything. I was very disturbed and wanted to talk it out with someone.
“Girls have to make a lot of sacrifices after marriage, beta” explained my father. “Unfortunately, this is how our society operates. Males always have the upper hand in all household and external affairs and females have to abide by what the males say. This is very important to maintain peace and happiness in the family.”
For the first time I was surprised by what my father was saying. A person who had never dominated in his house was telling me to give in to male chauvinism in order to have a happy married life.
After talking to these people I have realized how paradoxical our norms and principles are. Before marriage we teach our daughters that men and women are equal. There is no difference in their rights. But as soon as a female is married, her own parents tell her to be the sacrificing, the submissive, the non-expecting, the giving kind of a wife. In fact, so strong is the impact of this fa├žade that I’m sure I would also be giving the same advice to my daughter once she is about to get married. After all, all parents want their daughters to have a trouble free married life.
But why is our society affected by male chauvinism the most? I don’t know the right answer to this but I personally feel that this characteristic creeps into every Indian male right from his birth. Right from female foeticide to distribution of sweets only on a male’s birth to extra pampering of a male child to first right to education and job; it’s all for a male child in India. I think we ourselves are to be blamed for polluting the minds of males and making them believe that they are the boss.

17 comments:

pikeswp said...

I read and liked your story...I do agree that male chauvinism is totally wrong, and only ignorant men apply this believe as a means of control. However, I do believe that men and women should separate, and I do not mean divorce. What I am proposing is total separation. Do not marry. I believe that it is pointless for men and women to marry, supported by the fact that they can never agree on anything. I am saying this, because I believe that women do not actually realize that they hate men. Yes, it is true. Women do not love men. They feel as if they have an obligation towards men, but in actual fact, they don't. I have grown up all my life, being rejected by the opposite sex (I am not talking about my mother, just in case you thought)Since a young and tender age, until now. Women have not changed, and never will. I know that at this instant you are saying that I cannot deduce that all women will behave in the same fashion, but trust me, they will. Women just do not like men. I am the living example- The first. I do not hate women and do not support chauvinistic events or beliefs. Men who display chauvinistic behavior does so to attract women for one purpose only- sex. My mission, is to help those men who have experienced the same type of humiliation I have, and lead them to greater understanding of their purpose in life.

Peter Booysen

N Datta said...

Too Good. I found a like-minded 21st century woman in you like me. Would like to communicate more on this issue.
nabanitadatta@gmail.com
Thank You,
N.Datta

N Datta said...

Too good. I found a like-minded 21st century woman in you. Would liekt o communicate furtur on this issue. Thank you.
N.Datta

Priyanka Bhatia said...

very true.... it still happens without any embarrassment here... just a few weeks back had been to rajasthan and had experienced the same where my aunt had a grand daughter and a grand son but was partial enough to give a party for the grandson but not for the other, though she is a good lady by heart. Truly, this has been imbibed from the birth and now become a lesson to learn

jalabeebaby said...

I'm so glad you posted this, and I relate. When an Indian woman voices her concerns about chauvinism, she's accused of generalizing unfairly or blamed for doing something to provoke it. At least this is my experience.

Indian men get defensive and say "There are so many nice guys. You're wrong."

Yet, these so-called "nice guys" are actually chauvinistic themselves. They just don't realize it.

A perfect example is the man who yelled at his wife, yet says that Indian men aren't chauvinistic.

Actions speak louder than words. Just b/c an Indian man says he's open-minded and nice doesn't mean he is. How his dad treats his mom is a big indication of how he will treat you.

jalabeebaby said...

Thanks for this blog. Indian men will get agitated at a woman generalizing or voicing about chauvinism in the culture. They will say "There are a lot of nice Indian guys out there", but their actions speak the complete opposite.

The man you talked to was a perfect example.

When dating Indian men, I and other Indian women have all had the same experiences. The experiences that you mentioned above. Being berated, yelled at, ordered around, controlled, etc. Who wants that?

One may accuse the woman of it being her fault. But, I personally think it's just a cultural norm. If a young Indian man witnesses his dad yell at and berate his mom, that's an indication of how he may treat you. Nobody was there to taught him how to cherish and respect women.

shallu said...

Totally agreed!!!!!!Women have to live as per males in the society. Before marriage they have to go by their fathers and brothers and after their husbands and in laws.......and later by their children I suppose.....where are we standing????Nowhere.....no matters how educated and well qualified you are...how much you are earning......but it is expected from you only to cook in the evening....managing a toddler and seven months pregnancy without complaining after spending tiring 10 hours at the office....Bullshit....still these shameless creatures dare to show you the dust in the corner or webs on the wall......

Manisha said...

a very good post, my husband is kind of faltering between being male chauvinist and an upright male , that's another paradox, though he helps around the house, but recently it has become kind of ego issue with him. He does make a point of telling everyone that how helpful he is and to me too. Its a subtle hint like you didn't get up, how great I can manage without you , he is extra helpful when someone from family is coming, showing off basically how good a husband he is, even my daily chores are taken up and done perfectly almost downsizing me. He doesn't like my working but as a modern husband he does not even wish to object but only condition is it should be temporary, I should give it up when he asks me to and be home in time, and basically a part time hobby not a serious work, that brings in extra cash. and yes pay should not be more than him, recently where I worked I got a lot of newspaper publicity due to my efforts in field of social work, but at the cost of my family life...finally to make peace I gave it all up just like that. This is another paradox of modern husband...being supportive and at the same time being dominating. Its done so subtly and swiftly that it takes only the woman of the house to realize it and no one ever comes to know. For others its an ideal house, a perfect husband and perfect couple and female will be the one to blame if she chooses to blow the whistle.

Tulika said...

i completely agrees with you...i wish i can make my husband read this :)

Simi said...

What you have mentioned about the Indian society is very true, however I feel its we liberated women who need to make that choice! If we believe that men and women are equal, then it is our call whether we would like to stand equal with men and not give in to chauvinism even if that means being without the married tag or walking out of a bad marriage and leading a life of dignity or we still prefer adhering to what society demands of us that is being a "good" wife for whom husband is God!

Sangi said...

Kudos to you to have written a blog to express your opposition against male chauvinism...It seems like you have written this blog before you were married..I pray that your husband is not a male chauvinist! As you have rightly pointed out I too feel this society is to be blamed for this..And im surprised that we have let this grow so far...I tell to myself that when my daughter is getting married I will ask her to fight against male chauvinism rather than abide by it..
If we dont put an end to it, who will?

Divya said...

Your post is spot on. But no one is born chauvinistic, society teaches them to be. And once men realize the advantages that it gives them they are either too lazy or too arrogant to give it up. It is important for the newer generations to break past this barrier to truly enjoy the freedom and beauty of life. So don't teach your daughter to be submissive after marriage rather teach your daughter/son about equality & the importance of each individual.

NIKHIL said...

you seem to talk only of male chauvenism but female chauvenism also exist.There is no necessity that only men dominate the household.you talk only about men who abuse their spouse, its no big deal even women to that to men. Even women are known for abusing their husband.There are many families where men are head only for namesake but practically it is women treat there spouse as slaves.Women subjugating men is also common in many families, burt you seem to ignore that

NIKHIL said...

you seem to talk only of male chauvenism but female chauvenism also exist.There is no necessity that only men dominate the household.you talk only about men who abuse their spouse, its no big deal even women to that to men. Even women are known for abusing their husband.There are many families where men are head only for namesake but practically it is women treat there spouse as slaves.Women subjugating men is also common in many families, burt you seem to ignore that

Dp said...

I agree with your post...with all my heart and sincere sorry for all the woman in India and abroad...

On total different note, can you answer below questions?

1) Why would a girl expects her boyfriend to pay the bill at the end of dinner date. (there are some girls who insist on paying 50/50 but statistically speaking, i am true)

2) Btw Happy married couple:Why would a girl expect to comment on her new ear rings where as boy dont care of comments about his new watch./why would wife expects more than husband on occasions of anniversary/feb 14th?

3) Why should a guy propose in so called not male chauvinist countries....? is it female chauvinism..?

MOST IMP one:

4) Why does society expects/blames man/husband if family dont have any food??

Dp said...

I agree with your post...with all my heart and sincere sorry for all the woman in India and abroad...

On total different note, can you answer below questions?

1) Why would a girl expects her boyfriend to pay the bill at the end of dinner date. (there are some girls who insist on paying 50/50 but statistically speaking, i am true)

2) Btw Happy married couple:Why would a girl expect to comment on her new ear rings where as boy dont care of comments about his new watch./why would wife expects more than husband on occasions of anniversary/feb 14th?

3) Why should a guy propose in so called not male chauvinist countries....? is it female chauvinism..?

MOST IMP one:

4) Why does society expects/blames man/husband if family dont have any food??

nivedita said...

very much true... when we talk of male chauvinism,we should also ensure that we are not doing the same to men. It is only then the complaint is valid. But yes majority of women in India are affected by Male chauvinism. If anyone is planning to stand against it, I request them not to marry, cause after marriage many strings are attached. It is not just you and your husband.