This has been the argument of the society from time immemorial. The common understanding of the world is woman have been dominated and controlled by Men. Woman’s rights and freedom have been curtailed by Men.
From the perspective of an outsider, probably the understanding is true. We can state numerous examples and generalise by saying, "Men have controlled the happenings of Woman’s life". Some examples are “Man shouting at his wife seeing a small mistake”, “Women not getting educated to the level of Men”, “Woman marrying the person decided by Father” etc. From the birds eye view this looks like Woman were actually being controlled by Men.
In a general house-hold during early days of civilisation (till around 100 years back), Man was supposed to work in the fields all day long, he was supposed to do the heavy energy intensive jobs like, cutting firewood, watering farms, etc. etc. Whereas woman would always be in the shade of the house typically cooking, taking care of the garden, weaving baskets, making a broom, taking care of children etc. Women used to enjoy the best of the life. Yes, there always used to exceptions and cross-over of responsibilities during special periods. But generally the break-up can be defined as above.
If I see the above work break down structure, I get a feeling that Men were actually treated like slaves. They were supposed to work in hot sun the whole day; they were supposed to do all labour intensive jobs. Woman did the relatively less labour intensive job and more of skill oriented jobs. At a high level, we could define the structure as “Men earned” and women had the responsibility to "manage the earnings (house-hold)". One can relate this to the corporate world, to identify the boss in this relationship. Manager of earnings and cost is the real boss, and everybody works on the instruction of the Manager.
I feel, Women always were the boss, and it is well kept secret and superbly managed conspiracy. They never made this known to the external world, and I guess, they managed there tight control on men because of this secret. The execution of the conspiracy was done with such precision that most of the Men never got a hint of it, women made the Men look-up to themselves as boss. This was the master stroke of the whole conspiracy which allowed the supremacy of Women not to be questioned by Men.
Could such a conspiracy really exist? Or, I do not understand the life of people when farming was the primary profession? Since, I couldn’t really comprehend the life of a farming family, I thought of trying to understand the life in city. That would be the best way to reason my feeling with logic, as city is the life I have seen.
A general city family of 1970-80, would be structured as, Men going to work/business and earning, and women had the responsibility of managing the house-hold. I could just state “Men Worked” and “Women Managed”. One might argue that is how people structured themselves and there is nothing called as Boss in such a structure. Is that so? General behaviour of a Man always used to be controlled by women. For Example, After a hard days work, a typical man wanted to entertain himself by gambling, or drinking alcohol. But such privileges were never allowed by women, and I believe these were made as social evils by Women. Men would have to answer numerous questions for not reaching home early from their work place. In some cases, woman would even torture their husbands with crying, whining, not eating, and other special tools. The height of ingenuity of these tools is that, Man never got a doubt of the conspiracy and always thought woman are weak. And woman’s behaviour of crying, whining etc. was considered as their weakness, and men felt the responsibility of supporting them. How Smart?!!
The control never stopped at some of the vices of Men. Control was more pronounced, when after a hard days work, they were supposed to help Woman at home in doing house-hold stuff. This helping in house-hold work is not so pronounced in the society and even if they were helping, not many men shared the information to the external world. This was because Men were made to believe that their status increased by that. I guess, this was the thought process of men, which helped women to hide the conspiracy. How Stupid?!!
Everyone might have heard of the way a Man is terrified, when his Mother-In-Law visits their family. This fear is real, and Man has always shared some of the truths like this to external world. One should just have a watchful eye to understand the reality in those truths. I believe, these visits by Mother-In-Law were the training ground, as the mother views the ways of the daughter first hand and advices the daughter on how to take control of their man. I guess, this is how the technique and method of control has been handed down over generations.
Yes, there were certainly some men who were exception, but generally most Men fall into category of being controlled.
Dowry is believed to be used as a tool by Men to show their dominance over women. Guys, just sit-back and think for a while. Shouldn’t dowry be termed as a process of women buying a Man? Isn’t it simple, women pays money and buys a Man. And women always wanted the best Man who can take care of her needs with the available money. That is what it is. I believe this is another master stroke of the conspiracy to always make the Man believe that he is in control, whereas it is women who are practically in control. You just have to visit some of these house-holds of dowry marriage to realise what has been told above. Yes, there were always exception cases (atrocities based on dowry), but general behaviour was women controlled men.
I suggest you folks to visit and see the life of some widowers and widows. Visit specifically the widows/widowers who have been married for 30-40 years and then lost their partner. I have always seen an old widow leading her life peacefully without generally having a feeling of loss. Just like a manager would feel when he has lost an employee, they just have a tinge of sadness and then they continue to lead life normally. But widowers I have seen, end up being lost in this world. They never have the energy or knowledge of coming out of this loss as they were always managed. Moreover at that age, they do not know how to manage themselves. The scenario is similar to a prisoner, who has been managed in the prison for, say, 30 years, and then released. He doesn’t know how to lead his life. He has the feeling of loss.
Over last 10-20 years, the scenario has changed and women are working shoulder-to-shoulder with Men. I am not sure, if this is just an adaptation of the conspiracy to the new world or something else. It might be also that, somewhere down the line, the knowledge of managing this conspiracy has been not communicated or not understood by the younger folks. Probably the young women folks of this day have been misled by the opening of the communication channels through Papers, TV etc. and believe that working and earning is the way for control/independence.
But whatever has happened for whatever reason, all Men have to be careful not to be controlled. In the times of change, Men have to be more careful to understand where they stand and free themselves from the chain of the control.
For all men,
Best of Luck!
-- Madhukar Hebbar