Maiden name and the patriarchy

A cartoon of a woman in heals with a speech bubble saying "You can't change my name".

There’s this dialogue from the Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi starrer, Hamari Adhuri Kahani that I think is incredibly important and it needs to be discussed.

There’s this dialogue from the Vidya Balan and Emraan Hashmi starrer, Hamari Adhuri Kahani that I think is incredibly important and it needs to be discussed. Since this is in Hindi, I’ll take the opportunity to translate it in English. Vidya Balan says to her husband,

“What kind of weird tradition is this where everything is in your name; the hair parting is mine but the vermilion powder is in your name, the neck is mine but the wedding necklace is in your name, the wrist is mine but the bangles are in your name, in fact even the womb, blood, milk all are mine but the child is in your name. Everything is in your name. Now tell me what do you have in my name?”

Seriously, what kind of weird traditions are these? Why are women supposedly inferior to men? Why are men deemed superior to women? Why do I, being a woman, have to change my last name after marriage to that of my husband’s, why do I have to sacrifice my identity for my husband just because I’m married? Isn’t marriage supposed to be a commitment to love, honor, trust, and respect each other? If so, then why these traditions? Why should I give up my birth name for a stranger that I’ve only known for a couple of years, months, or days? Why isn’t the man required to do the same? If a boy is born into a family, the family will cheer and applaud because their family’s name will be taken forward to generations to come, but the woman’s name will die after marriage?

In my opinion, this isn’t fair. In Hindu mythology goddess are praised and even worshiped, but why are women perceived as a liability, why are women looked down on, why are women only made to give birth, to be maids for the man’s home? Is a woman’s role only to extend the name of her husband? Is she only a baby making machine (for the lack of a better phrase)? Why are women discouraged to work after marriage? I mean a woman goes through so much to get a good education only to become a housewife after marriage.

I know these things have been discussed before but it’s important to acknowledge the fact that no man is superior to a woman and no woman is superior to a man. We are created equally, no matter caste, sex, religion, skin color, and/or sexual orientation. What can we do about this, how can we remove these sorts of stigma from our generation and for generations to come? We can do this by removing misogyny, bigotry, and patriarchy from our vocabulary and from the minds of others by promoting equality throughout the generation and from our children.

It’s important for women and men to know that no sex is superior to the other. We’re all equals in this universe and it should remain that way. Here’s hoping that 2016 and the years to come will be willing to accept and acknowledge the fact that we’re all equals in this race called life.

Featured image credit: WikiHow

About the author

Virali Modi

Virali Modi is a Quora writer, blogger, motivational speaker, aspiring actress, 1st Runner Up of Ms. Wheel Chair India 2014 and a disability rights advocate. Oh, and she forgot to mention that she is disabled, as if that really matters.

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