No matter how Independent the daughters in law are today, their wavering self-respect and tolerance to persistent high-handedness of their in-laws suggest something crucial – Are Indian Daughters in Law taken for granted?
Read on as I share my Insights as a Daughter in Law highlighting certain Approaches of the In-Laws that supports the case in point.
Are Indian Daughters in Law taken for Granted – 7 Startling Truths that will Shock you
The Following are the reasons why I believe that Indian Daughters in Law are taken for Granted. Go through them.
1. Daughters in Law by default are considered the caretakers of Domestic Responsibilities
By default, Indian daughters in law whether working or non-working, are expected to take part in domestic activities be it cooking, cleaning, or even washing dishes.
Consider a new daughter in law who is a person non-exposed to household tasks. Would it be fair on the part of in-laws to expect her to take care of all the duties of the house as a responsible daughter in law?
I have heard of a tale of an acquaintance where she was subjected to rigorous domestic chores at the first go. Her in-laws were not bothered whether she knew cooking or not. Nor did they bother to ask her if she would be willing to take up the work.
Daughters In Law are Loaded with Responsibilities
And they never took that basic step to even guide her.
On the contrary, they burdened her with all the kitchen tasks, and literally, she was forced to do so following her in-laws taste-buds.
In what way is their action even justifiable?
Can’t this be termed “taken for granted”?
As elders of the family, shouldn’t the in-laws be at least sensible enough? Is it even right of them to assume that Domestic Chores are by default daughters in law’s responsibilities? Or is it some unwritten rule? Shouldn’t this situation change?
2. Indian Daughters in Law are always summoned to Greet and Treat the Guests
When guests or relatives come home, whether the daughters in law are occupied or not, they would be beckoned by the in-laws to prepare drinks or snacks for them.
Of course, it would be inhospitable if the guests are not treated properly. But would that be right of them to expect the daughters in law to do the task when they are occupied?
Wouldn’t it be courteous enough if the in-laws check on them and see if they could perform the task-at-hand or not?
Daughters in Law are not treated with Importance
Every time my father would call my sister-in-law to prepare coffee for the guests without checking on her, I get pissed off.
Every time my in-laws would call me to prepare tea for the guests without checking on me, I get pissed-off.
I would sometimes be drenched in my book while I would hear my mother in law calling. But that doesn’t matter. The guests are home and I had to compromise anyway. Else, wouldn’t my act appear discourteous?
In that case, I was taken for granted, isn’t it?
My point is, whether the daughters in law are working or non-working, their time has to be valued.
Don’t you agree?
3. Excluding the Daughters in Law from Discussions is Common in India
Be it important decisions that concern the family, Indian daughters in law are not taken into consideration. In fact they don’t surface in the picture at all.
Vanaja Dhruvarajan’s Journal on Religious Ideology and Hindu Women proposes ways for women to ace up in terms of gender equality. Doesn’t that mean Women are still way behind in terms of Development?
Daughters in Law are Forced to take up Other’s Decisions
Once, my big mother in law or rather my husband’s aunt scheduled a Sumangali Prarthana (Common Pooja in Tamil Brahmins households) at her place. Since it was an important occasion for the family, the presence of the daughter in law was essential. In that case, shouldn’t she have taken my word before fixing the occasion?
To my dismay, she neither bothered to check on my availability nor my limitations as a woman. Period.
Rather she was like, “Akila, We have scheduled Sumangali Pooja on the 6th of January. As the daughter in law of the house, you should be present. Please ensure to book the tickets “
“How could you even take me for granted?”, my mind reckoned as my insides burned off her insensitive attitude.
Okay! So how would you regard her action as a reader?
Don’t you think she took me for granted?
4. Indian Daughters in Law should Embrace the Blame even if they are Right
Chauvinism pervades in Indian households, in some form or the other. That said, daughters in law by default become those poor creatures who face the blame and accusations of almost no fault of theirs.
Daughters In Law are often pushed into a Pitiable state
Here is an example to add clarity to my statement.
The other day, my brother had missed his wallet on the train, and one of the fellow passengers who had spotted it lying abandoned in his berth immediately called up my brother on finding his contact.
What followed was not a series of blame-game on my brother for his irresponsibility. Rather my mother told her daughter-in-law, “Is it not your responsibility to take care of your husband’s wallet?”
My blood gushed through, and I instantly replied, “Your son should take care of his wallet. It’s inappropriate and senseless of you to push the blame on your daughter in law for no fault of hers!”
And the same kind of attitude prevails all the time. She would be like,
“You should have taken note of it, Daughter in Law”
“You should have done that in advance”
Blah. And Blah.
Why are daughters in law blamed unreasonably? In that case, aren’t they being taken for granted?
How do we change this situation?
5. In-Laws Outrightly Exercise their Authority over their Daughters in Law
Everybody from the husband’s family plausibly considers themselves to possess the ownership rights of the daughter in law.
Commanding the Daughters in Law is considered a Norm
The other day, I had visited my husband’s aunt’s house for an occasion. Work was aplenty but there were enough women present, to take care of the chores. So I decided to limit myself to the portico where I was binging on my mobile phone.
Suddenly, my husband’s aunt rushed out and screeched, “Akila, come! Serve breakfast for everyone”. Her tone was sure commanding and it was as though she was beckoning her house-help to do things.
“Did my father get me married to resist all this authoritarian-disgust? How ill of her to call out like that?”, My mind screeched.
I was just the daughter in law and nothing else. But she took me for granted that day.
Why is this kind of harsh treatment meted out to daughters in law in particular? Is that even fair? How do we change this situation?
6. Daughters in Law Should Stay Tolerant To Their In-Laws Insensitivity
People fail to understand ways to talk to others. They don’t realize that their sickening-mindset, perception, and poisonous words they spew out of their mouth would offend other people easily.
That said, would it not affect a third person like the new Daughter in law of the house?
Daughters In Law become mere Spectators of their own Problems
Once my mother in law quipped, “Had we known that you are from this place, we wouldn’t have engaged your proposal”.
Seriously, even if she wanted to sound humorous, she shouldn’t have uttered such an insensitive statement.
Just because they are daughters in law, could the in-laws talk anything as they wish? In that case, aren’t daughters in law being taken for granted? How do we change this situation?
7. Daughters in Law are Ignored and Treated like Nothing
In-laws, by default, assume that their Daughters in law are not matured or experienced enough to be aware of certain things. They assume that they are more experienced and knowledgeable that they disregard their daughters in law for each and almost everything.
In-Laws turn their eyes blind to their Daughters in Laws’ Emotions
Consider this. I have been cooking from the time I was in school as my mother gave me that kitchen-freedom rid of any restrictions.
That said, once my mother in law was struggling with the dosa Tawa as the dosas were sticking to it making it impossible to be flipped.
Looking at her struggling with the tawa, I stepped forward to help her. But she was not ready to hand it over for me to try or even check the issue.
Rather she went on with her work, evidently ignoring my presence.
Her approach indeed shook me within. Yet, I silently walked away to avoid any problem.
In this case, she knew that I was there to help her. She heard me volunteer to help her. Yet, she ignored me as if I was none.
Don’t you think that she took me for granted?
How do we change this situation?
Just because women are daughters in law does not mean that they could be taken for granted. Daughters in law are individuals. They have a heart of their own. And they own self-respect too. If they cannot be treated with love and as one among the family, they should at the least be given the due respect that they deserve as a human being.
Indeed, they are women. They are respectable. And they are undoubtedly valuable. Please please don’t take them for granted!