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Misogyny in Kerala

 

My home state Kerala is a contradiction of sorts. you will see higher education institutions everywhere, where both men and women slog through their curriculum to achieve academic success. All over the world, Kerala men and women work in jobs that require intelligence and hard work.

In terms of natural endowment Kerala is a fortunate land. It is lush green most of the year, there is ample rain fall, the heat is not unbearable, and there is a huge number of tourist attractions. Moreover, it is a place where a tiny village will have a church, a mosque and a temple side by side, and they coexist by and large peacefully.

Kerala’s political system  has always been fodder for cartoonist. It is partly because of the darkly comic nature of kerala politics and partly because of Keralites’ penchant for sarcasm (which by they way, my friend tells me is a sign of superior intelligence). So, most political pronouncements are twisted with a sarcastic flavour, and the Keralites love to bits.

Oops! I have not started on my topic yet! Misogyny in Kerala. I am at a loss as to where to start.

Kerala misogyny #1

I have always wondered whether Kerala men have a slightly elevated testosterone or libido. What else explains the kind of ogling and groping that a girl is subjected to on a bus? As a person who has travelled to many other countries around the world, I have encountered this kind of behaviour only in Kerala. Is it a manufacturing defect in Kerala men that they have to grope and ogle and salivate when they see girls? Of course, I have to say this is not applicable to all Kerala men, but a disconcertingly high proportion of them do behave like sex-starved maniacs.

Kerala misogyny #2

If you did not know, Kerala has its own brand of Christianity known as Roman Catholic Syrian Christian (RCSC). When I had to fill in all my application forms I had to fill in RCSC. I had always wished if I could fill in something like agnostic or just ‘no religion, only spirituality’, or just plain ‘humanity’. Any way, till date, RCSC men elevate and justify misogyny to unprecedented heights. Women in our religion is a ‘property’ to be given away after a certain age. The kind of care and investment in girls is not half as that in boys. Boys, after all, are the inheritors of the land, and the continuation of the family line. Girls are just a liability. They have to paid money to marry them off. After marrying them off, they are not considered part of the parental family. They are outsiders, a part of a family that has been hitherto strangers to them

Kerala misogyny #3

The biggest atrocity that still persists despite a court order against it, is the dowry system.  It is not enough that the girl is educated, has a job, and is smart, but her parents have to shell out a substantial amount for her to get married. In the marriage market, if you want to be an attractive buy, the money has to jingle! The most unfair part of the whole thing is, the girl will not be given any share in the parental property. Just the ;dowry, which will usually be a paltry sum compared to the family’s assets, is given to the girl.

Kerala Misogyny #4

Forget about all these! Have you seen a married couple going to visit the girl’s family. The girl’s parents will greet and entertain the boy like he is visiting royalty. He is given tea, and snacks and what not. But how about the girl? She has to enter the kitchen straight away and make the tea for her husband. NO one, even in her own house, will treat her as special. forget about her husband’s house. There also, her job is to make tea for a husband and in – laws and cook in the kitchen. No one considers the girl as a guest to be taken care of, anywhere. No special treatment for her.

Kerala Misogyny #5

Or should I call it hypocrisy? If you enter a bus in Kerala, there are separate seats for ladies and men. You go to a church you will see ladies and men are on different sides. In both cases, instead of looking where the bus is going, or taking part in the church services at least some of the men will be ogling the women on the other side.

Kerala misogyny #6

In most households in Kerala, if the woman is working, the husband has got a rare fortune: a maid who actually pays her boss. Think of it. whatever she earns she will give the man, and then do all the household work. What more does a man need? However, his inferiority complex will not allow him to appreciate her contribution to the family kitty.

The misogyny that one encounters in Kerala is countless. For now, I would like to stop. Please let me know your feedback.

 

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