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

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A woman who genuinely believes in the shallow, biased gender-roles in India lives a life that’s much easier than the rest of us. It doesn’t make her blood boil when her husband expects her to solely take care of the house and the kids (as if his sperm didn’t go into their making). Or when she is expected to fast all day on Karwa Chauth while her husband snacks on samosas don’t make her question the prevalence of the custom. She has no issues in ironing her husband’s shirt or when he returns home, switching on the hot water for him. This woman thinks she is being a good wife and she is happy with that.

But what she doesn’t understand is that she is part of a culture that supports misogyny. And women who realise that these things have their feet firmly grounded in sexist beliefs, aren’t leading happy lives. In this case, their ignorance is not our bliss and all of the womanhood gets vacuumed into the same black hole of patriarchy.

One of the many torchbearers of women’s misery in India was this user who asked on Twitter why women don’t touch their husbands’ feet anymore. He tweeted, “Dear girls, what is stopping you from doing this to your man? #bringbackindiantradition” He goes by the handle Retarded Hurt and I have never seen anyone possess greater self-awareness than him.

One question was enough to agitate people as they felt sickened by a man’s desire to undo all the progress we’ve made for equality. Renowned journalist, Faye D’souza responded, “The realisation that our place is not at our husbands’ feet but shoulder to shoulder as equal partners in a relationship that makes both parties stronger.” Another user pointed out that husband and wife are like companions and we don’t touch the feet of our friends. “Where is the equality? Life long companions are like friends. Mutual respect is enough,” the user said.

In fact, several users pointed out that this isn’t a part of our tradition at all. It’s rather an evil practice to subjugate women’s empowerment and establish male supremacy. “I don’t think this has a place in Hinduism. In Hinduism, we touch the feet of our elders as a sign of respect. And in Hinduism, upon marriage husband and wife become one single entity. So there is no question of any other kind of differences. This guy = crazy,” a user said.

Why do people touch feet anyway? In India, our scriptures suggest that we touch the feet of our elders and God, as a sign of respect. It is done to seek blessings from them and sure, there have been a whole bunch of literature fortifying the whole act as rather scientific. But I don’t believe respect can be given away so easily. Just because you were born before I did doesn’t make you worthy of respect. We all have those evil relatives who don’t deserve respect but still expect us to touch their feet. There are old tharki uncles eve-teasing women in public transport and when they go home, they have their kids touching their feet. How does age make you God-like? Plus, respect is in actions, in treatment, and not in such cultures. And when it comes to blessings, it’s not like that’s being traded in this cryptocurrency. Like my parents still bless me, pray for me and love me without any charansparsh.

However, even if touching your elder’s feet is the norm, expecting a woman to touch her husband’s feet promotes the regressive belief that she must worship him. It defies the equal status of spouses and puts women naturally on a level lower than her husband. Of course, that inequality is further reflected in every other department of a marriage like that and in life, in general.

The same user shared another post asking women why aren’t they washing utensils anymore and asking them to go back to the kitchen. When Faye D’Souza questioned if men don’t need dishwashers, he passed a snarky comment saying that they do but dishwashers are now journalists. Clearly, this man has no concept of equality and treats progress like it’s detrimental to our culture. And honestly, if our culture promotes misogyny, then damn good that it’s detrimental to it.

We don’t need such a culture and traditions – we’ve come a long way and a lot of that logic doesn’t apply today. For instance, how is it that a major chunk of our society sees nothing wrong with Karwa Chauth? It started in times when men were out on battlefields and women were home, praying for their safe return. Why are we still following it when the only battlefield men experience is in PUBG?

Even the whole feet-washing tradition that happens when a groom enters a bride’s home is really outdated. It was started because back then because several men didn’t wear slippers and their feet would be dirty. Of course, he could have simply gone and washed his own feet, like a decent human being. But groom-worshipping has been a thing and it was either the bride’s father or the bride itself doing this demeaning task. Demeaning, not because his feet were touched – I mean, it’s just a part of your body. But mainly because in India, we see it as a sign of bowing down to someone and what did a man do to deserve that? Like just because you decided to marry me? Thanks but I don’t need that “favour” or “charity”.

ALSO READ: Turkish Women Called Out Their Men For The Inherent Misogyny By Subjecting Them To Comments We Hear All The Time. It’s Epic

Again, kanya daan is another tradition that upholds misogyny. Firstly, why are you giving your daughter away like she is luggage? And secondly, why is it that only a male is required to do that? Your mother gave birth but the father gets to do kanya daan, and if not him then another male. Why is it that women are supposed to wear her suhaag ki nishaani – mangalsutra, sindoor, and all that – while men can just roam around unaltered? Things change, situations and values evolve, and if we get stuck up on things because culture, then progress will never happen.

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


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