‘Culture’ is a relative term. It is always in flux, and it changes with places and time. We adopt new values; we shed the old ones and try to preserve our own identity. . It is already a hard task to define ‘accurately’ what culture means, or what we refer to when we use the term culture loosely. Here is a glimpse at a few definitions available across the web:
- particular society at a particular time and place;
- the tastes in art and manners that are favored by a social group
- acculturation: all the knowledge and values shared by a society
- the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization
Culture becomes a yardstick while choosing the significant other. We toy with this word to define our own priorities and biases. I am not alone in this dilemma, while looking at the future marriage prospects.
Post modern marriage has its own culture, arrange marriage is frowned and mocked. It only exists in Elizabethan novels, desi auntie’s circles or old desi dramas. No one romanticizes the old school any more. We as a new generation want a life filled with options and choices. If I can choose the brand of my shoes then why not my husband?
Same words can convey different meanings. Their undertones, use and situation define their mere meaning. Can we define a love match arranged by parents as arranged? Or a matched profile found on shadi.com as love marriage? It seems like a seemingly absurd concept, in an ever evolving culture.
Growing up with the notions of “Feminism” (now whatever that term referred to) and the talks about male chauvinism, women were always discussed as the ‘victims’ when it came to the topic of marriage. Simone De Beauvoir was not the only one to have a feministic stance. In feministic literature women are depicted as the disadvantage party when it comes to love and marriage. Simone’s statement was not something new.Simone did assert that women are as capable of choice as men, and thus can choose to elevate themselves, and these days’ women have taken the step to turn that message into a practice.
Mail wives are not only a Russian phenomenon. Online websites, marriage bureaus and frequent trips to country of origin have made this a common phenomenon in western world. Immigrant population frequents their country of origin looking for suitable culturally equivalent matches. This practice has resulted not only in sociological problems but has led to forced legislation. In England this practice was dubbed as forced marriage. Now governments intervene if they find that their citizens are forced into tie by parents.
How to find a husband? It is like a holy grail every other girl is after. . We want choices and options. But what happens to those who were raised with the concept that ‘parents find you the best match’ and found themselves amidst this new found independence when they came to this land ‘to choose themselves and to choose freely.”
These new concepts topple their life and they just could not grasp the criteria of ‘how to come across an eligible bachelor…”
Some blame post modern women of being ‘too picky’ or having ‘too high standards.’ Well whatever the reason might be, some just give up. The guy with the traditions and cultural morals is well bred ‘back home’ and if men can bring in wives from there then what’s wrong with bringing husbands from there too?
My answer: It is changing our sociology. When you bring in the husband, you pretty much are the one that is wearing the pants in the family. While that changes, then so does the entire ‘cultural’ structure of a household.
What are those men who want to come here looking for? The answers vary and seldom fulfill our desire and notion of romanticism. But as one girl simply put it, “I want kids and I need a father for them. If he’s ready to be that man, I am ready to adjust and compromise to any limit.”
I was shocked and disappointed. Are these women sacrificing themselves for even a worse reason? Being single, alone and old is a taboo among South Asians. So, due to social pressure South Asian women hear their biological clock ticking even louder and are ready to escape the taunts from ‘aunties’ and would do anything to wear the social costume of a ‘perfect’ girl, with a husband and a family. They are ready to oversee the troubles that would come their way, and are even ready to give up that newly acquired lesson of individualism they had recently learnt.
So yes, they import husbands and they present them as a result of a ‘love marriage,’ how else can they justify their action? Whatever social costume would make them acceptable; they are ready to change clothes.
Author: Madhu Sharma