Why can women not name their husbands?

Community Correspondent Madhuri asks Sindhu, Gayatri Devi, Rita Devi and Srisati Devi the names of their husband. The women, of varying age, all smile shyly and unanimously respond that they cannot refer to their husbands by their names. The reason being the husband is a superior creature, equivalent to a god. But can the husband call the wives by their names? ‘Of course, it’s his right!’ replies one. ‘The wife is inferior to a god, so their is no problem if he calls me by my name’, opines another.

This is just another way in which patriarchy underscores the hierarchical difference between men and women: women are not just different from men, they are lesser than men. Just as light and dark are not just different, light is superior to dark, similarly between men and women, men are always the ‘better half’, as it were. This hierarchy then normalises the submission of the ‘inferior’ women to the ‘superiority’ of men. Gender inequality and discrimination, even violence is thus rationalised. There are a hundred such practices unquestioningly adopted by us, even us, urban ‘educated’ women and men that perpetuate the patriarchal system in our daily lives. We can only unlearn such behaviours by turning our critical glance at ourselves, inwards, and reflect on how we justify subtle sexism every day.  


Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories.
These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ They give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change.

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