October 27th, 2009

Light Play

The Choice & Feminism

It is so often that I hear of women living in good circumstances who throw it all away to marry the driver/ servant/ poor tutor. It has surprised me. Not because it is a class difference but because it is so dumb!

There are enough and more pretty girls out there, and out of them there are enough and more who belog to well to do households and are taken care of and fed and educated. However, these girls are smitten by B grade movies where the Rich Spoilt Girl of an unloving family goes and runs away with a Poor but Good boy who gives her a Wholesome Family.

Now I have nothing against Romance. If you want to fall in love with someone who does not match an iota of your present life, who am I to stop you? However, unless it is a move up in career or personal and social life, the decision should be made with choice - carefully.

Let me take the general case of 18 year old daughters of middle class Indian families who have fallen in love with and then run away from home to marry the Driver. More common that you would imagine. And the fate more horrible than they ever imagined. Sometimes they go back to the parents and get a divorce or settlement, many times they suffer their pride and live their ugly lives. Why would anyone choose such a life?

Firstly, I refuse that anyone who loves someone would want the other person to live a hard life. If the driver truly loved the girl, he would not want her to move from her comfortable house to his shanty to be beaten and abused.
Secondly, if the driver had monetary aspirations, he would do much better by pointing out the daughters folly to the parents and earning a recommendation to a new job as well as money to keep shut about it in the bargain. Why then does he do it? For the novelty of having a pampered 'rich girl' fall for a poor man like him. Remember the song
"Uptown girl!
She's been living in her uptown world
I bet she's never had a backstreet guy
I bet her momma never told her why
I'm gonna try for an uptown girl "

Thirdly, the girl is a fool who has used her knowledge of the Alphabet to read and memorise Trashy novels without thinking. Hence, she deserved it.

This more than anything else shows how limited the thought of some women are. What can Feminism do if women themselves subject their own selves to subjugation? These women have the freedom of choice. They have the freedom to fall in love and enjoy it. And not suffer for it. Mentally suffer, socially suffer (she will nto have any friends after this marriage, I guarantee) and monetarily suffer (no more new clothes, or heck even a maid to wash dishes! And what about the MBA and better jobs? None coming up!)

In today's day and age you can enjoy love without marrying. When you can have an affair, why jeopardise your life by marrying when you are not sure of the consequences? Remember, these are girls who have not started working, and probably if they mention to their parents that they dont want to work, wont be forced to. They may sit at home in luxury, with a servant cleaning up after them while they 'do a Masters Degree' in some college and attend fashion shows on the side. The driver will be at their disposal, and a roaring affair to satisfy both parties can be then ensued.

An affair with the driver cannot last too long (in most cases). Where the mind is not matched, there cannot be much conversation. The average car driver in India is an uneducated person who wouldnt know English and would be a Masochist to boot. The girl whatever her romanticised notions make her believe, is usually educated in English all her life and would like to read the same famous novels in English, which will cause no small resentment in the driver. Fights are but natural.

However, if the girl continues to stay at home and have an affair with him, her charm of 'rich girl' continues and he will continue to pamper her and indulge her instead of beating her to submission. The girl in such a scenario would still have an upper hand. If the man insists on marriage without thinking of her conveniences, then there is definitely something wrong in his ideals.

When I see so many girls not thinking through their actions, and indulging in romanticised notions, it makes me sad. Emancipation of Woman is still far from true when for the sake of company and adventure, a girl ruins her life by following the Middle Class Values of Marriage in the wrong circumstances. There is nothing wrong in marriage, but when the circumstances are not natural, Judgement is more important than Romance. The girls who have run away from home to marry their elder and poor Subject Tutors have ended up living difficult and harsh lives doing work while trying to support the house with the man while witnessing his other affairs with young pretty girls he continues to tutor. These girls can no longer afford to study for the sake of a higher career - the men wouldnt allow it. And neither can they live their previous lived indulged and cared for by parents.

Freedom comes from recognising choice, it is the freedom to choose the best for your life. To run away from a father to a tyrannical husband is not freedom. The Feminists need to educate the girls on the need to depend on themselves, to be clever, to live their lives, but on their own terms.

The fall in love is their choice. To have an affair their discretion. But to marry at that young an age is stupidity. If the affair lasts and they really realise their love is endless, then whats to stop one to help the other in developing to a better career? Love, whatever poets may say, cannot last through poverty and hardships, and my dear women should understand that only a man who is going to provide them with at least half the comforts their fathers did will be able to do 'grow the love'. As adults who fall in love with men below their social status, it is even more important to think and judge and decide on the path chosen. To marry the Love who is a menial labourer is OK as long as that menial labourer does not mind when she decides to be a painter, or a high-flying lawer or whatever, and she too, should be OK with it. Such cases exist. But are few and far between, and really really unusual. I know of only one.

Feminism is not about burning bras. It is about understanding the small things in life that mark one's attitude towards life. Women are not free till the time they think of freedom in terms of running from their fraternal homes to the arms of another man. Freedom is having your cake, and eating it too. Or chosing to give it away.

Of course, these are my views, and that too written at the spur of a moment without thinking through the so many avenues I can actually think of and relate.
How did this come up? When I heard of another such case in the recent past. I then thought of writing something on the lines and procastrinated for a while. No doubt if I wouldve written it immediately my point wouldve been clearer :)