Marriage, in the way it exists today, is a patriarchal setup that greatly disadvantages women. But, that is no reason for it to continue being so. Things are slowly changing. Weddings are becoming more about celebrating the love, commitment, and respect that couples share and marriages are becoming more equal.
And in the same spirit of bringing a change, it's time we retire these sexist and regressive remarks from our conversations as well.
1. Jab biwi aaegi na toh sab harkatein theek kar degi.
We've said it before, we'll say it again - women are not rehabilitation centers for men. If your son refuses to grow up, then please don't foist him off to a woman and wait for her to 'change' him for the better. Let him transform from a man child to a man first.
2. Ab ladki ho gai apne ghar ki.
Yes, the house in which a girl spent two decades is not her home, but a new house, where she is still not aware of how things function, is suddenly her home? Stop deciding what home means for a woman. Let her make her own home, wherever she desires, and with who so ever she deems fit.
3. Shaadi matlab (ladke ki) barbaadi/Shaadi ke baad no aazaadi.
Even though there is ample evidence to suggest that a woman's life changes the most after marriage, this phrase is often directed at men. Showcasing marriage as an institution that women covet and men despise, supports the idea that women are 'trapping' men in marriages. We're not trapping anyone and if marriage feels like the end of freedom, then you're probably not doing it for the right reason.
4. Saali hoti hai aadhi gharwali.
No. Just plain no. Women are not objects and men do not have automatic rights to a woman, just because they become related to them through marriage. Let's discard phrases that objectify women, even as a joke.
5. Ab biwi aa gai toh ma ko bhool jayega.
For the love of God, can we please stop pitting women against each other? Mothers and wives have very different places in a person's life. More importantly, what makes you believe that those two women are competing for a single man's attention? Statements like these are not just highly problematic, but also creepy and downright disgusting.
6. Ladkiyan toh paraya dhan hoti hain.
First of all, even if you're comparing women to wealth, you need to stop because women are humans, not objects. Secondly, just because a girl is married does not mean she no longer has any responsibility towards her parents. How is it fair, or even acceptable, to treat your own family member as a stranger, just because she is married?
7. Asking for your daughter's hand in marriage/Asking for father's permission.
Can we not ask for blessings instead? Adult women can make their own decisions and should not need to ask for their parent's permission to live life on their own terms.
8. Ab kanyadaan hoga.
If there was an Olympic sport for the number of ways women could be reduced to objects, India would be winning the gold all the way... and "donating" it during their daughters' wedding, right? Dark jokes aside, a woman getting married is a human being, and not an object to be donated as charity.
9. Good news kab de rahe ho?
The fact that the term 'good news' has been nationally accepted as a euphemism for pregnancy is a discussion for another time. But why is it okay to ask a highly personal and intrusive question to a couple, simply because they are married? From choice to circumstances, there are myriad reasons why a couple may not have kids. And people need to stop intruding upon their personal lives in the name of being a 'well-wisher'.
10. Bas ab family start karlo.
Children, alone, do not make a family. A couple with pets is still a family. A couple without kids is still a family. Family can mean different things to different people and a couple does now owe it to society, or even their families, to adhere to anyone's perception of a family but their own.
11. Pati parmeshwar hota hai.
Oh hell no! There is no reason to elevate any person in your life to the status of a God. Husbands should be your equal partner, nothing less, and definitely, nothing more. If it's not a relationship of equals, it's not a relationship worth keeping.
12. Agar bahu, betiyan office jaengi, toh ghar ka kaam kaun karega?
Household chores and cooking are not skills in-built in vaginas. We need to stop gendering housework. And divide the work according to the availability of a person's time and skills, and not on the basis of a person's gender.
13. Shaadi ki umar nikli ja rahi hai.
It's marriage, not the cut-off date for defense forces or civil services that you can't do after a certain age. People should marry if and when they want to, and not when society expects them to!
14. This is your big day!
Yes, getting married is a significant step, but can we stop treating it as the only monumental event in a person's life? More importantly, not every girl dreams of a big, fat Indian wedding, and not every couple may wish to even have a wedding ceremony. Let's not teach young women that their wedding day is the only 'big day' of their life.
15. Yeh toh joru ka ghulam ho gaya hai.
Just because a husband listens to his wife, does not mean he is her 'slave'. Let's stop shaming men for being equal partners and not dominating their wives. Also, slavery is a harsh reality of our history and we could do away with comments that joke about it.
16. Zarur biwi ne kaan bhare honge.
An adult man, in a marriage, has the ability to make his own judgements. Just because you diagree with his actions or opinions, does not mean you get to blame his wife for them.
Solely directed at women, this comment has no place in modern society. And yet, people see nothing wrong in deciding how a woman should look and what she should wear, simply because she is married. Why are women expected to carry around physical proof of their marital status? What is it achieving, other than enabling patriarchy and taking away their choice?
18. Shaadi ke baad pati maanega, toh kar lena.
Why would you not give your daughters the freedom to chase their dreams? Worse still, why would you make them answerable to a man who should be their partner, not their governing authority? Everything about this statement reeks of patriarchy, where women are never equal to men.
19. Shaadi aur bachon ke baad kaam karne ki kya zarurat hai?
Unlike the actual age of retirement, women apparently need to retire when they get married or have kids. A woman can and should have the option to continue working even after being married. And men should not have to solely shoulder the financial responsibility of raising a child. More importantly, both men and women should have the option to take on roles that best suit them, flawed social constructs be damned.
20. Ladkiyon ko adjust karna padta hai thoda shaadi ke baad, learn to compromise.
It's one thing when a couple together makes the decision to change certain things, and adjust with one another. But it is completely different, not to mention absolutely wrong, to raise women with the idea that they will always have to be the ones to adjust and stifle their desires.
These are not even half of the phrases that, unfortunately, we have become accustomed to. Language is important and commonly used phrases translate to common actions and practices. This is why we need to retire these phrases from our vocabulary, once and for all.