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Throwback Thursday: 5 Movies That Show Bollywood’s Sexist Definition Of A Good Wife

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When I was younger, and the guys my age then were younger too, I thought when we grow up, marriages will be free from misogyny. Yeah, I was naïve and optimistic. Actually, to some extent, I still am but when I look at young married couples, I realise things haven’t changed as much as I thought they would. I know it’s futile to expect our older generations to understand that our society’s supposition about gender roles has been rather bigoted. There are exceptions of course but back in the day, it was a universally accepted perception that a good wife is domesticated, acing her home duties, sacrifices her career and always putting her husband and children before herself. Does she want a child at all? Does she endeavours to become professionally accomplished? These questions had no place in How To Be A Good Wife guidebook that was carefully handed from one generation to the next. In this guide, for the gullible girl of course, was everything about how to completely eliminate any feelings you might have, how to suppress any desires you may have and how to finally get your hands on the coveted title of world’s best doormat.

And like I mentioned earlier, I thought everyone tossed those books out and women were out there claiming their rights in the world. This is entirely untrue, it turns out. Because while women may be given voices, there are very few who are willing to listen.

When I see young guys expecting their wives to still be all domestic, I just can’t wrap my head around it. These are the same boys we hung out with and they seemed to be all chill. Now they get married, and expect their wives to not work, or have a job just for hobby’s sake. They expect the wives to be like a flawless China doll, but one who knows to cook, clean and comes loaded with maternal instinct. This is not as prevalent as it was earlier, at least in modern, urban families. But we can’t deny it doesn’t exist.

Imagine being raised as a daughter with so much love and nurturing. And then you get married, being expected to be domestically gifted and prioritise home over anything else. You know, if both you and your partner are working from home, you will be expected to cook. He will use his free time to chill.

What can we say when we’ve grown up being immersed in misogynistic cinema that has shown the career-oriented, modern woman as the bad wife or evil? She is always the other woman or the one who has to sacrifice her goals to prove her worth.

I enjoyed some of these movies while growing up! Here are 5 Bollywood movies that expect wives to be domesticated dolls.

  • Biwi no 1

Pooja’s pretty, hot even. Prem falls for her, marries her and boom, her life begins to revolve around sarees, gajra, kangans and all that. When she’s not taking care of her mother-in-law and two adorable children, she’s tending to her manchild husband. He then goes on to cheat on her with a pretty and independent woman, Rupali who he intends to turn into his caretaker too.

When does he realise he should go back to his “Biwi no. 1”? When Rupali fails to mother this manchild and when Pooja starts modelling. He couldn’t bear to see his wife dressing up hot and becoming independent. Cute love story? Is that how you get the title of being the best wife?

  • Hum Aapke Hain Koun

This film is a family drama which shows Renuka Shahane as the ideal, beloved bahu. She was adorable, no doubt. But again, we saw her as being sacrificing, mild tempered, a domestic all-rounder and a “yes” kinda woman. Is that realistic even? Putting a ghoonghat on and spending most of your time in the kitchen is such a sad way to live your life! And when she passes away, they try to throw Madhuri Dixit’s character into the pathetic wife replacement programme they came up with.

  • Hum Saath Saath Hain

Can you wrap your head around the fact that when Tabu’s character was asked where she’d like to go for honeymoon, she said Rampur? And that too with the entire khandaan? And they had absolutely no problem in joining in? That’s messed up. What? When Prem (Salman Khan) refuses to marry Preeti until the property issues are resolved, did anyone think about the poor gal? And the scene in which the man of the house says a family where ladies cook and the men enjoy the food is perfect? Beautiful.

  • Hum Tumhare Hain Sanam

Radha married Gopal, which is like taking up a nanny’s job for a grown up man and his entire family. She is so chaste, that she has no sexual desires whatsoever. She doesn’t even understand when her husband is trying to flirt with her. Meanwhile, her husband Gopal treats her like his property and his idea of romance is having sex with her as and when he pleases, with no foreplay whatsoever. You know, a good wife’s duty is to please her husband and obey him – in life, in bed.

ALSO READ: An Indian Man Asked Why Aren’t Women Touching Their Husband’s Feet Anymore. These Indian Customs Promote Misogyny In Marriages

  • Akele Hum Akele Tum

Rohit falls for a vibrant Kiran, who like him, has aspirations to make it big in the music industry. She assumes they will get married, work towards a common goal and grow together. Little did she know she’d be expected to stay home, cook and single-handedly take care of their child while the husband is out working and partying. Turns out, her career wasn’t really important. Rohit and Kiran separate because she refuses to give up on her dreams and aspirations and somehow, that made her a bad wife. Rohit’s insecurities make it unbearable for him to see his wife use her own money to buy their son expensive gifts. In the end, only when she gives up on her career, she is accepted back. Moral of the story? Don’t marry a guy who cannot see you thrive.

ALSO READ: Throwback Thursday: Akele Hum Akele Tum Exposed The Misogyny In Marriages And Talked About Ambitious Women


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