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Patriarchy is

  • Published at 06:36 pm November 18th, 2019
At_November, 2019_Patriarchy
Photo: Gilbert Beltran

    

the triumphant delight upon the birth of a son

the immediate likening of a newborn girl to her “lucky” father

the indulgent tolerance of a little boy behaving badly 

the mellifluous tone in describing a daughter who gives “no trouble” at all

the mock horror descriptions of the shenanigans of the son

the critical pressure for the girl to be academically inclined

the dread that a daughter might develop a personality 

the perseverance that she is “simple”

the relief of her aversion to fun and frolic

the alarm that she questions status quo

the expected apprehension that she be matched to a good boy

the proof of her maturity in avoiding the chalaak

the luck that a well - deserved husband comes her way

the money kept aside for her wedding

the assurances to all and sundry of her restraint  

the subservience to her in laws needs 

the aspiration to become the perfect daughter to his parents

the longing to be as good as his mother 

the surrender of all her assets to her husband

the subsuming of her identity under his

the delight in his dominance

the peace of mind that he handles all her affairs

the interpretation of his control as protectiveness

the ability to produce the finest cup of tea

the natural female love of the kitchen

the normalcy of her overseeing that the men are properly fed

the choicest pieces of chicken set aside for the boys

the need for her to be reassured that her cooking is outstanding

the competitiveness to produce a distinctive recipe

the special mention of her husband’s encouragement and support

the obligation to at first and foremost look after his needs

the denial of her own wants

the fear of his disapproval

the echo of the husband’s opinions

the need to mention his concurrence

the expected and overt display of female anxiety 

the physically debilitating manifestations of worry for his health

the female repository of deserving abuse

the rueful self-deprecation of not being a good wife or mother

the root cause of her husband’s reluctant infidelity

the strength in her self-sacrifice for the sake of her children

the infinite capacity for her to remain unappreciated 

the concerned and suffering mother 

the all - knowing wise paternal male guardian

the baby voice in his presence

the virtuous repressing of emotions to suit his temperament

the continuous assessments of the female skin tones

the acceptance that body shaming is a natural phenomenon

the irrational dislike of an attractive woman

the need to guard the husband against her potential advances

the restlessness to smear her name

the theatre of jealousy and possessiveness to remind him that he is taken

the inclination to play nemesis politics

the concession that he is far more intelligent and capable, and that he knows best

the self-worth that comes from his handouts

the measuring of others marital dynamics

the subconscious image of an ideal self, created through the male gaze

the worldview that greater beauty implies greater happiness

the inability to construe boundaries

the shame of female singlehood

the instinctive priority of holding on to the man

the passive acquiescence of all the above

Chintamoni grew up in Dhaka, where she will always belong, but never quite fit in. She is an enthusiastic traveller, a compulsive procrastinator, and a contumelious raconteur. 

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