SOCIALLY, patriarchal societies have had a misogynistic attitude since the beginning of time. This continues to this day at least in our part of the world. Historically, homo sapiens were hordes of hunters. It is believed that it was the women who motivated and floated the idea of a settled life, and then started the evolution of the institution of marriage. This could be because women needed physical and financial security, which was only possible through a relationship with the physically stronger male gender.
Once settled as a partner, she thought of raising a family, and especially looked forward to the birth of a male child, who would ultimately take over the responsibilities of her protection and welfare.
The issues of financial and physical protection have been resolved in the Western world to a large extent where women have greater freedom and independence, as the state has taken the responsibility to provide all its citizens with financial and physical support.
A major part of our society still views the institution of marriage through the traditional lens that it should be a source of financial and physical reliability. In view of our so-called cultural values and social upbringing, a lot of inhibition exists.
Women are brought up knowing that a man will provide for them, as a husband, and as a son. Over time as the son comes of age, the husband’s importance and utility gradually decreases as he ages.
Consequently, in the absence of any support from the state to women and the elderly, the issue of financial and physical wellbeing has taken centre-stage and sometimes is a cause of friction within the family, especially when the mothers and the wives try to assert their rights over the only male around.
This is a socio-economic issue that affects the social fabric of our society, especially as the cracks in the institution of marriage are becoming more apparent. This requires a change in the mindset of the present generation.
M. Khaled Sufi
Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2020