Yesterday's post elicited these wonderful comments from mad hatter. So I'm putting it out here for all to see.
you mentioned property rights. some years ago, someone mentioned to me how women are not 'allowed' to buy property without the consent/signature of husband/father. wow, i was in a fury for weeks to come. i found out later that this isnt true, so i guess our business is to first get the facts from the authority, not from heresay. a lot of heresay and kind advice will be tinged with ideas of social mores and what is the 'done thing', no?
similarly, when i was much younger, someone else said within my earshot how the law does not 'permit' women to retain their surnames after marriage. how passport etc. requires women to have their new surname. while i had a sense that this was not true, young that i was, i did feel worried and upset about what i heard from someone i was supposed to be able to trust.
which brings me to this other thing about marital status. or maybe i shouldnt even start.
i know i too shouldnt 'allow' any of this to rile me, but sadly it does, the thinks people can think! (and send out into the world). guess what i mean is that these things can serve to beat women down into mental servility, a feeling that you always come second, social law or constitutional (if i didnt go about finding out abt the property thing, i might still have believed what i'd heard). and then it's an uphill task back to believing that you're not. so much so that you stop bending for even what you think is reasonable, refusing to put yourself second ever after a lifetime of seeing women around you habitually do so! garbed beautifully in the name of daughterly/sisterly/wifely/motherly love and duty! (another wonderful thing we hear) aargh.
i mean, an advertisement for internet security software goes on the lines of "you wouldnt want your daughter's pictures to be misused by someone online, would you". that's my peeve, that my social identity as a woman is only within relations or protection/control! and gets used to sell products and fears of all kinds, so we have generation after generation tacitly imbibing ideas of who protects whom and who's the vulnerable one.
While what mad hatter was told is ridiculous, property rights is a complicated subject and the very little reading I have done on the subject indicates that women aren't considered equal under Indian law when it comes to inheritance from parents.
As for women having to change their last name to their husband's, I've seen people take that kind of attitude. I'm glad, so glad, that this seems to be slowly changing. Neither Effe nor I considered changing our names, and I now know quite a few other people who didn't. Our choices still seem strange to many people, however. (And may I say how maddening it is when someone calls my last name my maiden name? As if it's an archaic relic I'm still using, as opposed to just being my name.)
I like the other comment from mad hatter too, and have only one more thing to say: it's perfectly understandable, and okay, to get angry at views like this. We should get angry, and show our anger, and show that this isn't acceptable. More power to you, mad hatter, and to all my brave readers.