This article will showcase how feminism sleeps with patriarchy and cries foul at the same time.
If we go by basic core values of feminism, it is about gender equality. Going by the same yardstick, it can be easily observed that feminism does not truly advocate about it as far as marriage is concerned. One wonders, why women (especially working, secure, affluent) do not marry down. “Marrying down”, means marrying somebody who is younger/less educated/has lesser income/is shorter than you.
Why the heck feminism does not preach women (especially who are well off) to marry down? When men can marry down, what stops women from marrying down?
A woman who is a software engineer can marry a govt. office clerk. A woman engineer can marry an autorickshaw driver. A 30-year old woman can marry a 25-year-old man. A woman who is IIM graduate can marry a guy who has just got a graduation degree. Simple, is not it?
We suggest, in India, the govt. must give tax breaks to those couples where the woman has married down. Today, the life expectancy of men in India is 4.5 years less than women. In west, the gap is 6 to 7 years. With globalization, the life expectancy of men will be 6 to 7 years less than men in next 30 years of time. So, if a 28 year old man marries a 23 year old woman, then the woman will have to remain a widow for 12 years. So, the best way to create parity is to encourage women to marry men who are 6 to 7 years younger than them.
Most probably, circumstances will force many highly educated women in Andhra Pradesh to marry down. In last couple of years there has been a sudden increase in seats in Engineering Colleges. Say, 30,000 engineers graduated in year 2000. We can conclude that about 18000 must have been of men (taking into the fact that AP has got 30% patriarchy based seat reservation for women). Say, in year 2005, some 100,000 graduated from Engineering colleges. So, number of female Engineers would be about 40,000. These 40,000 female engineers will seek grooms who are engineers or above in education and who are also some 5 years older than them in age. But, the supply for male engineer poultry is just 18,000 and many of them may marry girls who have got lesser education compared to Engineering. So, we can conclude that for 40,000 female engineers seeking to marry up, there will be about 15,000 men available. So, eventually 25,000 of them have to marry down which is certainly disgusting to them, their patriarchal parents and the society. So, that will increase the competition. Forty thousand women will compete among themselves to get 15,000 men. One factor is the female’s appearance and the other factor is money. Even if the guy and his parents refuse to take dowry (which is very rare in that state), still the bidding will happen. In spite of bidding, still 25,000 women have to marry down.
The root cause of dowry evil in India is the obsession of people towards social status and women keep marrying up. Parents consider dowry as an investment to buy life style for their daughter. Unless, women marry down and parents stop bidding for lifestyle of their daughters, the evil will not go away. (Manushi Article)
At present, even die hard feminists in India make sure that they marry up. So, they are not feminists in true sense. They are pseudo-feminists. These include famous feminist film personalities, politicians and artists. Feminists want to change the mindsets in society which considers women as baby making machines. The best way to change mindsets is to make women marry down.
All the progressive and equity oriented people must join hands to achieve this major paradigm shift. The educational opportunities for women in India are plenty. They can take up careers at age of 22 or 23 and work for another 5 years before marrying. They can marry a less salaried or unemployed guy six or seven years younger. Now, its time, we ponder about a whole chain of possibilities that will get automatically opened up when this new paradigm is experimented.